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Labor Party Compromise: a Slight Sop to the Doves

November 30, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

For all its vagueness and obvious attempts to blur rather than decide upon differences of outlook, the Labor Party policy document worked out yesterday by top leaders during their debate in Tel Aviv and presented by Party Secretary General Aharon Yadlin to the Central Committee for approval represents some concessions to the doves in the party. The doves –particularly since the war–have come to include the powerful Tel Aviv-based “Gush” led by Yehoshua Rabinowitz, Knesseter Avaraham Ofer, and, ultimately, Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir.

The document inclines to the doves more by omission than by explicit statement. Thus, there is no mention in it of the Galili document which the hawks forced upon the party earlier this year. There is no mention of the “oral law”–that unwritten understanding of Israel’s territorial demands that led the party until now.

The oral law views Jordan as the security border and demands territorial contiguity with Sharm el-Sheikh and retention of the whole Golan Heights. The new document says none of this in so many words–although its stress on security considerations and defensible borders can be taken and construed in this way–by whoever so wishes.

While the document asserts briefly the need to continue settlement it stipulates that these must accord with defense needs and does not indicate any particular part of the occupied areas as suitable for new settlement. Unlike the Galili document, the new program does not refer specifically to Pithat Rafah area in the Gaza Strip. And while it does not explicitly annul the Galili document it obviously supersedes it.

Nevertheless, despite the nuances and things unsaid, there is nothing here to which anyone save the most extreme hawk/dove can object. And herein lies the success of the document–it saves the party from split and crisis. The question is, of course–for how long?

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