Israeli Communists Differ On New Interim Agreement
Jews, Marxism and the Worker's Movement

Israeli Communists Differ On New Interim Agreement

First Published: Morning Freiheit, September 21, 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Interim Disengagement Agreement which the U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger negotiated with Israel and Egypt and which was approved by both governments received differing responses from the two wings of the Communist movement in Israel.

The leadership of the RAKACH Communist party headed by Meir Vilner and Toufiq Toubi declared in a statement published in its Yiddish weekly newspaper that the Interim Agreement “is a result of the annexation policy of the Israeli government and of the imperialist policy of the American government.” Nevertheless, the RAKACH leadership directed its four Knesset (parliament) members not to vote against the Agreement when it came up for a vote in the Knesset on September 3rd.

The RAKACH statement added: “The new Interim Agreement between Israel and Egypt does not aim to bring a general peace closer but to delay and push it aside as far as possible.” The statement also denounced the proposed introduction of American civilian technicians to monitor the Interim Agreement in the Sinai and declared their presence would create “a new source of tension in the region.”

For these reasons the RAKACH leadership decided “not to support the Interim Agreement between Israel and Egypt.” However, it noted ”that this Agreement also includes the element of withdrawal from the occupied Arab areas and in consideration of the offensive of the fascist, nationalistic right-wing forces who oppose every withdrawal, the Central Committee decides not to vote in the Knesset against the Agreement.” (Der Veg, September 3, 1975). The four RAKACH members of the Knesset refrained from voting on this issue.

The Interim Disengagement Agreement was upheld in the Israeli Knesset on September 3rd by a vote of 70 against 43, with 7 abstentions.

The Israel Communist Opposition (AKI) which is headed by Esther Vilenska and Shmuel Mikunis noted the positive features in the Interim Agreement though it continued to call for further movement towards a general settlement of the Middle East conflict on the basis of the United Nations Security Council Resolution No’s. 242 and 338. The editorial statement of AKI’s monthly Yiddish publication Undzer Shtimme (Our Voice) of September, 1975 declared in part:

“The offensive of the right-wing chauvinist bloc Likkud led by M. Begin against the second Interim Israel-Egypt Agreement actually expresses its negative attitude to any Israel military evacuation of the occupied areas, despite the obvious Fact that without such evacuation it is impossible to bring peace closer.

“The Israel military evacuation of the Abu Rudeis oil fields and of the Gidi and Mitla Passes as well as the reciprocal political Obligation not to resort to force to resolve the Israel-Arab conflict is very positive...

“The establishment of a joint Israel-Egyptian Commission in order to control the implementation of the Agreement is a positive act, as is the Egyptian permission for the passage of freight from and to Israel through the Suez Canal...


“The Israeli political assistance to the American penetration of our region contradicts the basic direction of international development in our time. The Israeli policy still hopes to a certain extent on the perspective of the cold war and not on detente which is as necessary for the Israeli people and all peoples as the air we breathe... It is necessary to halt the offensive of the right-wing bloc and together with this to exert public pressure for a positive approach by the Israeli government for the resumption of the Geneva Conference.

“The frenzied campaign of the right-wing chauvinist bloc indicates that the partial military withdrawal by Israel in accord with the second Interim Agreement creates possibilities for the further development of peace initiatives and this arouses the concern primarily of those who seek to increase tension, to maintain the occupation (of the Arab areas) and to provoke new conflicts.

“In view of the harsh opposition of the Begin forces to this agreement it is an error of those of the left opposition who see the choice as either everything or nothing in solving the Israel-Arab conflict. The fact that the Israeli Army must take further steps in the evacuation of the occupied areas proves how much the achievement of peace is linked to complete evacuation as well as to the reciprocal and full recognition of the just national rights of all peoples.”