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Israeli Government Forced to Freeze Settlements

By Hans Lebrecht, People's Weekly World,
3 June 1995, pg.4

TEL-AVIV—The principled stand, devotion to the goal, the weighted exploitation of Hadash's position as part of the 'blocking majority' (blocking the rightists' return to power), have achieved, on May 22, an unprecedented feat: The government, when the Democratic Hadash Faction raised its motion of no-confidence in the Knesset over the land seizures in eastern Jerusalem, decided to freeze the latest land robbery (of 332 acres in the east-Jerusalem suburbs Beit-Tzafafa and Beit-Hanina), said the editorial in the Hebrew Language Organ of the Communist Party of Israel (CPI), Zo Haderekh on May 24.

These latest land expropriations encountered fierce resistance from the inhabitants of the two Palestinian neighborhoods and the peace forces in Israel and Palestine. It raised a worldwide storm of protest, including a special session of the U.N. Security Council where the U.S. used its veto to cancel the otherwise unanimous condemnation of Israel's land robbery policy.

The Palesinian Authority and the Arab states threatened to freeze all peace negotiations until Israel retracts. These steps were canceled after the government's temporary retreat.

The dramatic development was achieved after a last minute meeting of Hadash Knesset Members (MKs) Tamar Gozansky and Hashem Mahameed with Rabin in his office before the no-confidence motions were raised. They made clear to Rabin that they would raise the motion, even considering the possibility that the government could he toppled and Rabin would have to resign and receive a new mandate to form a new government.

Rabin proposed that Hadash refrain from raising the no-confidence motion in exchange for the establishment of a ministerial committee, the task of which would be to reconsider the whole question of the land confiscations in eastern Jerusalem. However, Gozansky rejected Rabin's proposal and stated that only a freeze of the land robbery would be good enough for canceling the motion.

At 4 p.m. the head of the Hasash Knesset Faction, MK Hashem Mahameed took the floor to raise the no-confidence motion. He condemned the whole expansionist policy of the government, the non-compIiance with the commitments Israel signed in the Oslo accord with the PLO and the government's refusal to dismantle even one of the colonialist settlements—all of which has brought the peace process to a halt.

After him, MK Abdel Wahab Darawshe raised his no-confidence motion on behalf of the Democratic Arab Party.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres then took the floor and announced that the government had decided to freeze, for the time being, the confiscation orders of the said 332 acres of land in eastern Jerusalem, as well as to establish a ministerial committee to search for a solution to the matter.

Mahameed again took the floor to withdraw Hadash's motion.