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Zionist General Council Endorses Peace Plan, Ban on PLO Contacts

June 23, 1989
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The Zionist General Council adjourned its meeting here late Wednesday night after adopting resolutions supporting the government’s peace initiative and its policy of barring contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The General Council is the governing body of the World Zionist Organization between sessions of the World Zionist Congress, which convenes every four years.

The resolution supporting the government peace plan urges Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to participate in the elections the plan proposes.

The resolution was approved by all parties except the left-wing Mapam and the right-wing Tehiya parties.

Mapam, the United Workers Party of Israel, alone refused to endorse the resolution backing the ban on contacts with the PLO. The resolution disapproves of any Jew who violates the ban.

Milton Shapiro, president of the Zionist Organization of America, said he was gratified that the Labor Zionist movement had joined with Likud on this issue.

“The real intent of the resolution is to condemn those Jews and organizations which have established contact with Yasir Arafat and the PLO and give voice to the majority will of the Jewish people,” Shapiro said.


The Herut faction at the General Council meeting failed, however, in its attempt to force the ouster of Menahem Rosensaft, president of the Labor Zionist Alliance of America, who was one of five prominent Jews who met with Arafat in Stockholm last December.

Addressing the closing session of the General Council meeting, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir touched on the benefits and challenges of aliyah.

“Our situation would have been different if we had many more Jews in Eretz Yisrael, and it will be different when we have hundreds of thousands more,” he said.

Predicting an imminent mass emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union, Shamir urged Jews worldwide to invest in Israel to “help us solve the problem of providing jobs” for them.

Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the WZO-Jewish Agency Executive, closed the session with a call to Zionist organizations around the world to work to bring more Soviet Jews to Israel and to expand Zionist and Jewish education abroad.

A 10-member commission, consisting of five representatives of the WZO and five prominent Diaspora leaders, has been meeting on that issue for the past 18 months.

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