Labor Party Fails to Act on Dayan Proposals to Define Israel’s Territorial Demands
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Labor Party Fails to Act on Dayan Proposals to Define Israel’s Territorial Demands

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The Israel Labor Party ended its convention today without approving key platform planks dealing with security, foreign policy and policy toward the occupied Arab territories. Those planks were referred to the party’s central committee which was empowered to make a final decision. The left-wing Mapam Party which has entered into a political alignment with the Labor Party, followed an identical course at its own convention which closed today.

The plank on Israel’s security frontiers, proposed by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, was a controversial issue at the Labor Party convention. The disagreement was apparently not on the substance of the proposals but over the wisdom of officially committing Israel’s major political party to them at this time. Gen. Dayan proposed that Israel permanently retain the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and a section of the Sinai Peninsula linking it with the Sharm el-Sheikh strong point and that the Jordan River be established as Israel’s eastern security frontier. Gen. Dayan agreed that his proposals should constitute an “unwritten” platform plank which party speakers could refer to during the election campaign.


But Foreign Minister Abba .Eban and other leading Party members feared that such a plank might impair Israel’s image as a peace-seeking nation and harm prospects for eventual peace negotiations. Mr. Eban urged the Party not to abandon the “balanced formula” of “secure and agreed boundaries” which he said, in no way alters decisions already made by the government. He said the government has decided that Israel will remain where it is until peace negotiations determine “secure and agreed” boundaries. In other words, he said, Israel would not withdraw from the occupied territories but those areas are not to be annexed.

The public discussion of the boundary question at the Party convention prompted the Israeli Foreign Ministry to draw attention today to the fact that no mention was made of specific borders or territories in the written text of the Party’s platform. A Ministry spokesman said the platform dealt only with principles. Foreign Minister Eban said at an earlier session of the convention that by adhering to the principle of “agreed and secure” boundaries, Israel could undertake a wide range of activities in the occupied territories without jeopardizing the chances for peace or placing itself in an unfavorable light with its friends abroad.


Deputy Premier Yigal Allon also took issue with proposals advanced by Gen. Dayan. He said that Israel’s policies in the occupied territories, while in large measure successful, “suffer from lack of decision, lack of aim. We still do not know exactly what we want and where we are going.”

Mr. Allon said the Jordan River should be Israel’s political frontier because “security frontier” might imply demilitarization on the Israeli side as well as the Jordanian. He said he didn’t know what Gen. Dayan meant when he called for the economic integration of the occupied zones with adjacent areas of Israel. He warned against “hasty economic steps” before there is a decision on the political future of the territories. However he said, the local Arab leadership must be encouraged to establish home rule while Israel administered internal and external security.

One platform plank that the convention received with an ovation stated that Israel would continue to demand that the Soviet Union grant permission to any Russian Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel. On that subject, the platform declared that Israel would “not stand by in the face of an increasing wave of anti-Semitism in Russia and would expose it in every arena and in all media. Israel will also continue to demand that Jews remaining in Russia are not deprived of their basic rights.”

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