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Likud Launches Party Convention from Town on the Golan Heights

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Proclaiming itself against Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, the opposition Likud party kicked off its national convention this week in Katzrin, the Golan’s regional capital.

Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud delegates Sunday night that Israel’s posture must be that the Golan was captured and should not be returned to Syria as part of the ongoing peace process.

The chief item on the agenda of the three-day meeting is a new constitution for the party, proposed by Netanyahu. Critics of the proposal say it would give the chairman unprecedented powers.

Former Foreign Minister David Levy, Netanyahu’s archrival in the party, boycotted the convention in protest of what he claimed were Netanyahu’s efforts to grab sweeping powers over the party.

Newly inaugurated Israeli President Ezer Weizman opened the conference, saying he had been proud to serve as a Cabinet minister under the late Likud leader Menachem Begin.

Weizman later, however, abandoned the hawkish policies of the Likud and defected to the Labor Party.

Weizman hailed the Likud party for being the first to sign a peace treaty with an Arab country, namely Egypt.

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