Thousands of Israeli settlers rallied Saturday to protest what they claimed was a secret pledge by their government to give back all of the Golan Heights to Syria within three years.
"We'll fight in a democratic way to prevent any possibility of coming down from the Golan," Avig-dor Kahalani, a rebel legislator in Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's Labor Party, told the crowd of about 7,000.Kahalani, a war hero who fought on the Golan in the 1973 Middle East war, has said he would submit a bill that would require a majority of 70 members in the 120-seat Parliament to reverse the 1981 law that established Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights.
Rabin's coalition only controls 61 seats. Labor leaders accused Kahalani of trying to hand the hawkish opposition control over the peace negotiations with Syria.
Israel seized the Golan during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Saturday rejected charges that a secret deal had been struck, saying Israel had not told Syrian President Hafez Assad how much of the strategic plateau it would be willing to give back as part of a peace treaty with Syria.
Rabin ignited the domestic debate on the future of the Golan Heights this week when he said he offered to give the Syrians a slice of the heights now, to be followed by a three-year probationary period of normal relations. The final pullback line would then be negotiated.