JERUSALEM (Apr. 25)
Israel’s Labor Party has approved a platform that no longer rules out the creation of a Palestinian state.
Voting Thursday to change the party’s 1992 platform, which expressly opposed Palestinian statehood, party members also withdrew a 1992 plank that the Golan Heights is crucial for Israel’s security, even in a time of peace.
But the Golan regional council head, Yehuda Walman, succeeded in passing an alternative clause stating that Labor recognizes the Golan as an area of “national importance.”
At the same time, dovish Minister Yossi Beilin failed in an effort to replace a clause declaring the Jewish settlements in the Jordan River Valley crucial to Israel’s security with a more generally worded statement.
Labor’s decision to alter its position on Palestinian statehood came a day after the Palestine National Council voted overwhelmingly to revoke the anti- Israel portions of its charter.
Labor’s move was welcomed by the U.S. State Department and by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who told the 669-member PNC, “This is the first reaction to your decision yesterday from the other party.”
The PNC reportedly ended its latest session Thursday by electing Arafat president of the 18-member Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
For the first time, the committee will include five members from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem.
Faisal Husseini, the PLO’s top official in Jerusalem, was among those elected to the committee.