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Likud Ministers Set to Parley on Sharon’s Call for Annexation

August 17, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Likud ministers were scheduled to meet here Wednesday to discuss Ariel Sharon’s current proposal that Israel formally annex sections of the West Bank.

Premier Yitzhak Shamir indicated Tuesday that he had no objection to such a discussion. According to some of his aides, however, Shamir feels Labor’s opposition to annexation would prevent it from getting the broad national consensus it requires to be implemented.

Sharon, the minister of commerce, presented his proposals earlier Tuesday at a press conference in Jerusalem.

Using a map of the Allon Plan — Labor’s longstanding territorial compromise scheme for Judea and Samaria — Sharon said that the areas incorporated under the Allon Plan, along with other areas “required for security,” should be annexed forthwith as a response to King Hussein’s decision to sever Jordan’s ties with the territories.

According to knowledgeable sources, Sharon appeared to be proposing the annexation of close to half of the West Bank.

Sharon, who uses the term “apply Israeli law” rather than “annex” when referring to his plan, insisted that he was not in effect proposing the abandonment of the Camp David Accords, nor provisions for Palestinian autonomy contained in the accords.

Regardless of Camp David, he said, autonomy would not apply in the entire area.

“For instance, could we weaken our position in the area overlooking our only international airport?” he asked rhetorically, referring to areas of the West Bank that straddle the pre-1967 border near Lod.

Sharon urged national unity on this issue. “Let us transcend party politics,” he declared.

The commerce minister dismissed reports that his proposals have caused discord within the Likud, since both Shamir and the party’s official platform remain faithful to Camp David.

Sharon said that at Shamir’s advice, he discussed his proposals with Labor leaders, but without success.

Key Labor figures told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Sharon’s plan, if implemented, would inevitably cause an instant break in relations with Egypt, since the plan was tantamount to a massive breach of Camp David and hence of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

They said the United States would doubtless react with grave hostility to any Israeli move along the lines suggested by Sharon.

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