By Everett Mendelsohn

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Extra info for A Compassionate Peace: A Future for the Middle East: A Report Prepared for the American Friends Service Committee

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147). 4 In place of full adherence to the Geneva Convention, Israel has chosen to rely on the Defense Emergency Regulations originally pro­ mulgated by the British in 1937 and codified in 1945. They consist of 120 sweeping orders meant to cope with the tense situation -that existed in the closing years of the mandate when British authority was being challenged by advocates of the nascent state of Israel. Far­ reaching powers are given to security authorities to act without due process of law. These regulations, which were vigorously opposed in 1946 by the Federation of Hebrew Lawyers in Palestine, were adopted by the new state in 1948 and applied to the Arab population of Israel until 1966.

Also, fifteen Labor seats were lost in the election to a new middle-of-the-road coalition led by the well­ known archaeologist and former general Yigal Yadin. Yadin's Demo­ cratic Movement for Change (DASH) was comprised of a split from the Labor Party by those of its traditional constituency who resented what they viewed as drift in government and laxness on issues of corruption. DASH, together with the National Religious Party (which had brought its members into coalition in every government since 1948) and Agudat Yisrael (a small ultraorthodox party) gave Begin his political majority in the ninth Knesset.

For the Palestinians who had sought the return of their entire homeland, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has raised a pressing question. Can they afford to wait out some grand solution to the problem of all of Palestine or will the continued occupation of the territories mean such irreversible changes as to make them virtu­ ally part oflsrael itself? Palestinians today find themselves at a critical point of decision-to enter negotiations with Israel or to disdain them. THE PLO AND THE PALESTINIANS Israeli leaders have often tended to belittle ideas of Palestinian na­ tional identity or to deny the existence of the Palestinians.

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