Centrists Join to Launch New Group That Seeks Limits on Giving Up Land

Labor Party hard-liners launched a new group this week that will seek to limit the amount of land Israel will cede to its Arab neighbors as part of any peace package.

The group, calling itself The Third Way, held its founding congress here on Sunday, which was the 27th anniversary of the start of the 1967 Six-Day War.

The group took its name in an effort to provide an alternative both to dovish elements favoring a return of all or most of the land captured in the 1967 war, and to hawkish leaders who vow not to return one inch of land to neighboring Arab countries.

In addition to right-wing Labor Party members, the group includes some Likud members, former senior officers of the Israel Defense Force and Gonen Segev, the leader of the Ye’ud faction, which split away from Rafael Eitan’s nationalist Tsomet Party in February.

The new group, which attracted some 1,000 people to its opening session, supports the peace process and is ready to agree to territorial compromise.

But its members are emphasizing Israel’s security interests, saying that Israel must retain control of the Golan Heights and the territory in the Jordan Valley north of Jericho.

In a half-page advertisement that appeared in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz on Sunday, the group also described itself as opposing Israeli rule over another people.

Among those at the opening session were Agriculture Minister Yakov Tsur and Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Gur.

“We are not going back to the 1967 borders and there will not be a Palestinian state. Let that be clear,” Gur told the congress.

“There are those who would try to convince us otherwise, but we insist: Jerusalem shall not become the capital of Palestine,” he added.

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