The Territories, 1982-1987

An overview of Israel's relationship to the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights, 1982 - 1987.

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On the other hand, Labor agreed with the Likud that turning over the West Bank/Judea‑Samaria and the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians and the formation of a Palestinian state would constitute a grave threat to Israel's security, and that negotiations with the PLO, a terrorist organization that called for the destruction of Israel, were out of the question.

Labor favored a solution that would give the Palestinians some form of self‑government in most (not all) of the areas in question, within a Jordanian‑Palestinian entity. It was felt that Jordan, which maintained close though secret ties with Israel, would have a stabilizing influence on the Palestinian leadership. During the years in which Labor leader Shimon Peres served as prime minister (1984‑86) and foreign minister (1986‑88), these ideas were explored with King Hussein of Jordan.

Zionist parties and extra-­parliamentary groups to the left of Labor (Mapam, Citizens Rights Party, Peace Now) tended to be more accommodating on the issues of a complete Israeli withdrawal, negotiations with the PLO, and the creation of a Palestinian state. The Arab parties in Knesset (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, Progressive List for Peace) generally advocated a total withdrawal from all of the territories, including East Jerusalem, negotiations with the PLO as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza, and the return of the Golan Heights to Syria.

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Jonathan Kaplan is administrative director at the Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.