JERUSALEM (Sep. 24)
Israel’s highest court has rejected a case brought by ultranationalists seeking to stop Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin from negotiating over the Golan Heights.
The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected an application for an injunction against the prime minister and sharply criticized the applicants for referring to the policy pursued by Rabin as “treachery.”
At the same time, the court told the Temple Mount Faithful and National Religious Party Knesset member Hanan Porat that if the government eventually decided to hand back parts of the Golan, grounds might exist for reconsidering the legal merit of the application.
The applicants argued that the apparent readiness of the prime minister to consider exchanging land for peace on the Golan Heights is a violation of the 1981 Golan Law extending Israeli law and sovereignty to the northern plateau.
Justices Menachem Elon, Theodor Orr and Dov Levin questioned counsel on whether the court had the legal power, even in principle, to interfere in the government’s handling of foreign policy.
The reasoning for their decision, in which the justices will presumably deal with this point, is to be published at a later date.
Porat, a leader of the settlement movement, said he was not discouraged by the ruling. He said it implied that the Knesset, which passed the Golan Law, should have the right to review actions of the government in light of that law.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Thursday that he saw “no breakthrough” in a statement made in New York on Wednesday by Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa that Damascus is ready for “total peace” with Israel in return for “total withdrawal.”
Shamir, now a Likud Knesset member, said the Syrians had “always been ready to offer vague formulations in return for an Israeli withdrawal.” He charged that the government under Rabin has “”walked wittingly into a trap” by signaling its readiness to make territorial concessions on the Golan.
He said his government had joined the peace talks in Madrid last year with the policy that territorial exchange was not a component of the negotiations.