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March 09, 1984 - Image 72

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-03-09

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12 Friday, March 9, 1984


Did Arafat Sanction Killing of PLO Moderate?

MIAMI — Did Yasir
Arafat sanction the assas-
sination of Dr. Issam Sar-
tawi, his close associate and
the leading Palestinian ad-
vocate of peace with Israel?
Sartawi was gunned
down last April in Lisbon,
Portugal where he was pre-
senting the Palestine Lib-
eration Organization at a
meeting of the Socialist In-
Abu Nidal, the Syrian-
backed terrorist leader and
foe of Arafat, boasted of re-
sponsibility for the slaying
but according to Flora
Lewis, chief - European
correspondent of the New
York Times who knew Sar-
tawi well and had followed
his activities in Paris,
"Mohammed Labadi, Mr.
Arafat's renegade ex-
spokesman who went over
to the PLO rebels, later said
that Mr. Arafat had given
the green light for the mur-
"More important," she
added in a column deal-
ing with the recent dis-
closure of secret Reagan
Administration contacts
with Arafat, "Dr. Sar-
tawi's friend, the former
Austrian Chancellor
Bruno Kreisky, sus-
pected the same."
Kreisky was the first
European leader to give
Arafat welcome and recog-
nition and he shepherded
the terrorist chieftain in his
first contacts with the
Socialist International and
the European community.
Sartawi had joined in
1982 with three interna-
tionally prominent Jews —
Philip M. Klutznick, former
Secretary of Commerce; Dr.
Nahum Goldmann,
president of the World
Jewish Congress, and
Pierre Mendes-France,
former Prime Minister of
France — in an appeal to
Israel to lift the siege of Be-
irut to facilitate negotia-
tions with the PLO leading
to an Arab-Israeli settle-
ment on the basis of full na-
tional recognition for both
Sartawi, apparently, was



the prime mover in bringing
about the recently dis-
closed, secretly held talks
between a Reagan Ad-
ministration intermediary
and Arafat. The talks
stretched out over nine
months until Arafat broke
them off after the Israeli in-
vasion of Lebanon in June
1982. Sartawi was con-
vinced that an agreement
had been reached in these
talks but that "Washington
had set it aside so that Israel
could destroy the PLO" in
Beirut, he told Ms. Lewis.
The disclosure of the
1981-1982 talks was made
by Bernard Gwertzman
of the New York Times
who revealed that they
had been Conducted with
so much secrecy that no
reports had been made
on them to the White
House. The initiative for
the talks, the reporter
said, came from Arafat
and the decision to
undertake them was
made by Secretary of
State Alexander M. Haig,
Jr., who imposed the
strict secrecy rule.

Haig was quoted as say-
ing that he had informed
President Reagan orally of
the planned talks during a
meeting in California. He
reportedly told his staff that
the President had approved.
He ruled out written memos
to the White House to avoid
embarrassing leaks.
The talks were conducted
by John Edwin Mroz, a
Middle East specialist for-
merly attached to the Inter-
national Peace Academy
but currently president of
the Institute for East-West
Security Studies, which he
founded. Former Assistant
Secretary of State Harold
Saunders is a member of the
institute board. His contact
was Nicholas Veliotes, then
Assistant Secretary of State
for Near Eastern and South
Asian Affairs and presently
Ambassador to Egypt.
Between August 1981
and June 1982, Gwertzman
reported, Mroz had some 50
meetings with Arafat for a

total of about 400 hours. No
reports were sent to the
White House on the talks
and National Security Ad-
viser George V. Allen says
he was not informed of the
Arafat broke off the
talks after the Israeli in-
vasion of Lebanon but
Secretary of State George
P. Shultz authorized
Mroz in September 1982
to make one more at-
tempt to see Arafat and
persuade him to accept
the American conditions
for recognition. Arafat,
then in Tunis after his
eviction from Beirut, re-
fused to receive the
American intermediary.
In the final round of talks
in Beirut before the Israeli
attack, Mroz reportedly ad-
vised Washington that he
felt Arafat and his aides
were inclined toward a pos-
itive response but that it
was far from certain that
they could get a favorable
decision from the PLO lead-
ership around the world.
The Reagan Administra-
tion's talks with Arafat did
not represent any departure
from policy or practice.
Previous administrations
have tried in informal talks
with the PLO leader to per-
suade him to accept the
American terms for recog-
nition of his organization.
None were as extensive as
the recent discussions and
none were any more prod-
At various stages and in
varying forms, The United
States has contacts with the
Palestine Liberation
Organization over the past
20 years. In most instances,
the initiative for the talks
came from Arafat or his
associates. Arafat has fre-
quently made use of private
American citizens, includ-

ing a prominent Quaker, to
carry proposals to the State
Department offering talks
to seek a peaceful solution of
the Palestine problem.
All efforts foundered
sooner or • later on
Arafat's unwillingness
or inability to meet
the prime condition for
the negotiations: recogni-
tion of Israel's right to
live and acceptance of
UN Security Council
Resolution 242.
Arafat began reaching
out for American contacts
as far back as 1973. Accord-
ing to Henry A. Kissinger,
then the Secretary of State,
Arafat's proposal then was
based on two premises: "Is-
rael is here to stay" and Jor-
dan should be the home of
the Palestinian state. As
Kissinger interpreted
Arafat's message, Arafat
was proposing to accept Is-
rael and overthrow King
Kissinger reported in his
massive "Years of Up-
heaval" that he found this
untenable, but when some
months later Arafat ap-
proached him again
through King Hassan of
Morocco, with the identical

proposal, he sent Gen. Ver-
non Walters, deputy head of
the Central Intelligence
Agency, to meet with
Arafat's envoy. Nothing
came of the meeting and
there was no follow-up.
Now that King Hussein
and Yasir Arafat are again
talking, seeking an agree-
ment that would permit
Hussein to speak for the
Palestinians in negotia-
tions with Israel and the
United States, both Hussein
and the Americans would do
well to remember Kissing-
er's reaction to Arafat's ap-
"I considered King
Hussein a valued friend
of the United States and a
principal hope for dip-
lomatic progress in the
region," he wrote in
"Years of Upheaval."
"Our aim should be to
strengthen his position,
not to encourage a group
that avowed its determi-
nation to overthrow him
in its very first communi-
cation with us.
"A Palestinian state run
by the PLO was certain to be
irredentist. Even should it
change its professed aims, it
would not likely remain


moderate for long; its many
extremist factions would
see to that. Its Soviet ties,
too, would lead it in the di-
rection of becoming a radi-
cal state like Libya or South
structure on the West Bank
had every incentive to turn
on Jordan — of only to gain
a secure base for later oper-
ations against Israel and to
avoid the provisions of a
peace accord that would in-
evitably demilitarize the
West Bank.
"The PLO's hints of possi-
ble co-existence with Is-
rael," Kissinger warned,
"were contrary to the 1964
Palestinian National Cove-
nant, the founding docu-
ment of the organization;
PLO policy at its most mod-
erate called for a mixed
Moslem - Jewish - Christian
secular state in Palestine - a
euphemism for the disman-
tlement of Israel. Of all the
Arabs, the Palestinians had
the bitterest grievance
against the Jewish state.
"Even should Israel re-
turn to the 1967 borders
on the West Bank and re-
linquish the Old City of
Jerusalem — and there
were few who- thought
this in the realm of possi-
bility — the Palestinians
would covet the ter-
ritories to which their
very name connected
them. To them a West
Bank mini-state could be
only an interim step
toward their final aims."
Gen. Walters' talks with
the PLO in Rabat, Kis-
singer reported, "made
clear in any event that the
1967 borders were consid-
ered only the first phase; a
PLO nation would be
ideologically committed to
the dismantling of the
Jewish state."

JPS Publishes Soloveitchik's rHalakhic Man'

"Halakhic Man," by Rabbi
Joseph B. Soloveitchik, re-
cently issued by the Jewish
Publication Society, is a
pioneering work which pre-
sents a full and mature phi-
losophy of Halakhic living
according to Talmudic law.
In this acclaimed essay,
originally published in He-
brew in 1944 and now pre-
sented in English transla-
tion in its entirety for the
first time, the author in-
cludes a brilliant exposition
of Jewish spirituality and
This unique work, the
most famous of Rabbi Sol-
oveitchik's statements, is
already recognized as a
modern spiritual and reli-
gious classic.
At the time he wrote

"Halakhic Man," Rabbi Sol-
oveitchik set out what was
then considered a revolu-
tionary concept — that con-
temporary developments in
psychology and philosophy
have direct relevance to the
Orthodox viewpoint. Today,
these once disturbing ideas
are recognized and accepted
by leading scholars of
Jewish theology.
The author brings pro-
found erudition and orig-
inal thinking to his task.
He has been described as
"one of the foremost in-
terpreters of Orthodoxy
in the U.S., a leading
practitioner of Jewish
philosophy and theology.
He is, above all, a
rationalist who studies
life and tradition with
powerful intellectual
analysis and is intent on
total clarity."
In this work, Rabbi Sol-
oveitchik first describes two
types of human tempera-
ment, which combine to
form Halakhic man. His
"cognitive man" seeks to
uncover the secrets of the
world and solve the prob-
lems of existence by scienti-
fically and intellectually

remqving all traces of mys-
tery, so that all is fixed and
"Religious man," on the
other hand, emphasizes the
mystery of existence. To
him, the very idea of law-
fulness is itself the deepest
of mysteries.
"Halakhic man" com-
bines these two per-
sonalities, becoming an in-
dividual who achieves both
self-realization and a mean-
ingful relationship with
God. His instrument is
God-given: the Torah and
the Talmudic tradition that
courses through Jewish his-
tory to our own day.
Halakhic man focuses both
dimensions of his personal-
ity on the categories and is-
sues of the Talmud in his
search for answers and di-
rections in dealing with the
problems of contemporary
Many diverse elements,
including religious psy-
chology and
phenomenology, are
bound together by the
force of Soloveitchik's
highly personal vision.
His intellectual sophisti-
cation is evident on every

page as he touches upon
issues fundamental to
religious life. And, in a
manner that has become
a hallmark to genera-
tions of his students,
"Halakhic Man"
abounds with glowing
anecdotes from his dis-
tinguished family history
as well as with many
beautiful portions that
approach the ecstatic.
These vital ideas are ex-
pressed in a complex and al-
lusive style which draws
upon the full resources of
the Hebrew language. The
faithful translation, echo-
ing the spirit of the original
Hebrew, is by Lawrence
Kaplan, a recognized in-
terpreter of Soloveitchik.
Here, for the English-
speaking world, is a sig-
nificant work of our time,
exploring the inner world of
the Talmudist, Halakhic
Man, in terms drawn from
Western culture.
For over 40 years, Rabbi
Soloveitchik has taught
Talmud at Yeshiva Univer-
sity in New York and has
been spiritual leader of the
Boston rabbinical commu-

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