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Shamir Warns Labor Not to Deviate from Israel’s May 14 Peace Initiative

September 27, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir warned Tuesday that the unity government could stay in power only if the constituent parties stuck strictly to government policy, and specifically to the Israeli peace initiative endorsed by the Cabinet on May 14.

In a tough-sounding speech at the Jerusalem Economic Club, the premier made it plain that he considers Labor’s acceptance of a 10-point Egyptian plan for advancing the peace process as a major deviation from the government’s policy, as embodied in the May 14 initiative.

“The leaders of the intifada will come to the negotiating table as victors,” Shamir said, explaining why he and his Likud party rejects the Egyptian scenario for an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue in Cairo. “They will say, ‘We’ve won. We’ve succeeded.”

Industry and Trade Minister Ariel Sharon of Likud also spoke out against the Egyptian proposal Tuesday, but he faulted the Israeli Foreign Ministry for actively encouraging the Egyptians to get involved in the peace process. The ministry is headed by Likud’s Moshe Arens, a rival of Sharon’s for succession to the party leadership.

“It is absolutely Chelm-like,” Sharon told political correspondents in Tel Aviv. “Our own Foreign Ministry tried desperately to coax and plead with (Mubarak) to intervene . . . Perhaps they didn’t think he’d go so far.”

Vice Premier Shimon Peres, meanwhile, was curt toward Arens in a radio interview Tuesday, following the foreign minister’s public complaints about Peres’ conduct in the United States, where both he and Arens met separately Monday with President Bush.

“I am not an official of his,” Peres said tartly. “I don’t need his permission to meet or to talk.”

In Jerusalem, the Likud Knesset faction issued a statement urging the prime minister to recall Peres. The statement accused the vice premier of using his U.S. visit to try to persuade Israeli public opinion to support talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The Labor Knesset faction, in turn, called on Shamir to put an end to Arens’ attacks on Peres.

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