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Labor Party gives Likud ultimatum

Leaders of the center-left Labor Party on Thursday threatened to quit Israel's coalition government unless the Cabinet adopts compromises within two weeks aimed at starting an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue. The 107-member Labor Bureau passed a resolution saying "there is a need for an immediate decision on issues that will ensure the continuation of the peace process and a further delay will cause serious harm to Israel."

It added: "The .

.

. condition for the continuation of the National Unity government is the continuation of the peace process."

Cabinet approval of the compromises, which would mean allowing deported Palestinians and east Jerusalem residents to participate in peace talks, would require Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's Likud bloc to drop opposition to the plan.

Disagreements over the peace process have threatened to break up the Likud-Labor partnership at least four times, but Thursday's resolution was the strongest by Labor since formation of the government in December 1988.

It comes at a time when Shamir faces a potential split in his own party over demands by hard-liners that he rule out any compromise in the peace process.

The Likud faction in Parliament issued a statement rejecting the Labor threat, saying "the fate of the nation or foreign policy will not be determined with a stopwatch," Israel TV reported.

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