[IWAR] ISRAEL Peres on peace

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Mon Dec 08 1997 - 09:55:50 PST

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       Posted at 12:26 a.m. PST Monday, December 8, 1997 
                       Peres: Palestinian state, Golan pullout OK
       JERUSALEM (Reuters) --- Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres has urged
       Israel to accept a Palestinian state and to give up the Golan Heights if
       it wants peace with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.
       Speaking to his Labor party late on Sunday, Peres said: ``A state or no
       state? It must be heard in a clear voice -- a state, because we cannot
       take on our shoulders the economic and social responsibility of 3
       million Arabs.''
       ``Secondly in the matter of borders -- it must be decided: the truth is
       Assad wants peace. He won't make peace if anyone believes it's possible
       to do it on part of the Golan Heights,'' Peres said in the remarks
       broadcast by army radio on Monday.
       Israeli political reporters said the remarks were the Nobel peace
       laureate's most unequivocal public comments to date on the two
       ``land-for-peace'' issues at the heart of peacemaking with the
       Palestinians and Syria.
       ``In such a blunt way -- this is the first time,'' Yedioth Ahronoth
       correspondent Shimon Shiffer told Reuters.
       The Jerusalem Post newspaper wrote that Peres, 74, stole the show at the
       Labor party convention from Ehud Barak, the 55-year-old former army
       chief who took over the leadership from Peres in June.
       Israel's rightist Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, 48, defeated
       Peres in elections in May 1996, resisting the land-for-peace policies of
       the more dovish Labour and vowing to take a tougher stance in
       negotiations with the Arabs.
       Likud rejects establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and
       Gaza Strip lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
       Labour's official platform neither embraces the concept of a state nor
       rejects it.
       ``I don't know why the Netanyahu government wants to waste time. It has
       wasted a year and a half. In this year and a half Israel's situation has
       deteriorated -- the country has been weakened, the economy has been
       weakened. What did we profit?'' Peres told Israel Radio in an interview
       on Monday.
       Syria demands Israel cede all of the Golan Heights captured in the 1967
       war in any peace deal. Labour party governments had in the past offered
       to withdraw to a depth equivalent to the depth of peace without
       committing publicly to a full withdrawal.
       ``So long as the agreement is put off, the price of the agreement will
       not drop but the cost of the delay will go up in human lives, in loss of
       prestige, in loss of power, in loss of friends -- for what?'' Peres told
       the radio.
       )1997 Mercury Center. The information you receive online from Mercury
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