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May 17, 1985 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-05-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Niv HVEil

30

Friday, May 17, 1985

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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Shamir, the status of the long
stalled peace process was re-
viewed and brought up to date.
Shultz and the Israelis are
in agreement that the Arabs
must put together a joint
Jordanian-Palestinian dele-
gation before any new round of
negotiations can begin. Peres
told the Cabinet that no list of
delegates had been presented
to him by Shultz.
The outstanding problem,
one which is not expected to be
resolved quickly, is the com-
position of the joint delega-
tion. Its members must be ac-
ceptable to Israel and — as
Shultz pointed out to Ameri-
can reporters later aboard his
plane bound for Cairo — also
acceptable to the Palestinians.
According to Peres, the
composition of the delegation
was one of the three main obs-
tacles listed by Shultz to the
resumption of the peace proc-
ess. The others were: the de-
mand by the Arab side that
initial talks be held by the
delegation with Reagan Ad-
ministration officials in Wash-
ington, before Israel is
brought into the picture; and
Jordan's demand that the
process be conducted within
the framework of an interna-
tional peace conference that
would include the five perma-
nent members of the United
Nations Security Council.
Israel has the strongest re-
servations against both of
those demands. Peres and
Shamir were categorical in
their rejection of an interna-
tional peace conference as the
forum for negotiating with the
Arabs and their position was
made clear in the official
Cabinet communique issued
after Sunday's session.
But the most immediate
problem which could have re-
percussions for the Labor-
Likud coalition government,
is the nature of the joint
Jordanian-Palestinian dele-
gation. Shultz said, according
to Peres' report to the Cabinet,
that in appraising the delega-
tion, Isael must look at "per-
sons," not "categories." This
appeared to be an oblique
reference to whether members
of the Palestine National
Council (PNC) would be ac-
ceptable.
The PNC is widely seen as
the PLO's parliament-in-exile
and as far as Israel is con-
cerned is undifferentiated
from the PLO.
Foreign Minister Shamir,
the Likud leader, took a
categorically negative posi-
tion with repsect to the PNC at
his meeting with Shultz last
Friday. At a subsequent

question-and-answer session
with reporters he flatly ruled
out PNC members as possible
negotiating partners.
Peres, who heads the unity
government and will continue
to do so for the next 16 months
— before handing over the
rotating Premiership to
Shamir — was more equivocal
on the subject.
He told the Cabinet Sunday
that Israel's position is that
"We will reject anyone who be-
longs to an organization which
is committed to the Palesti-

As far as Israel is
concerned, the PNC
is no different than
the PLO.

nian Convenant." The Cove-
nant, drawn up by the PLO in
the 1960s and subsequently
amended, denies Israel's right
to exist as a sovereign state
and pledges the PLO to an
armed struggle to eradicate it.
The document was adopted by
the PNC and re-affirmed at
successive PNC assemblies.
Peres appears reluctant to
take a clear cut position on the
issue as long as the joint
Jordanian-Palestinian dele-
gation remains hypothetical.
It is unclear, for example,
whether the PNC is an "organ-
ization" within the meaning of
the Premier's statement; or if
a person who was a member at
its last session can be de-
scribed as "belong to" the
PNC, inasmuch as delegates
are freshly elected for each
session.
The statements by Peres
and Shamir reflect the funda-
mental political and ideologi-
cal differences between the
Labor and Likud leaders and
the divisions between the two
major components of the unity
government. Should the mat-
ter come to a head, the gov-
ernment might not survive.
Deputy Foreign Minister
Ronnie Milo, a Likud MK
said last Friday that if a pro-
posal evolved for Israeli talks
with a delegation that in-
cluded members of the PNC,
the government inevitably
would fall.
Meanwhile, in Washington,
the State Department ap-
peared to be ignoring state-
ments by Palestine Liberation
Organization leaders that
only PLO members selected by
the terrorist group can repre-
sent the Palestinians in talks
with the United States.

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