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CANDLELIGHTING AT 6:19 P.M.
VOL. XC, NO. 9
The Next 25 Months
The transition of Israeli prime ministers has been quiet and peaceful,
far more peaceful than was ever imagined when it was first arranged
over two years ago. Then, cynics scoffed that Yitzhak Shamir and Shimon
Peres would bicker incessantly and that the Labor-Likud coalition
government would barely survive one year, let alone the 25 months of its
existence to date.
Indeed, this government-built-for-two had all the makings of a
neutered, bland, caretaker government, one that would be stymied in its
need to please all factions. But as prime minister, Peres managed to cut
Israel's annual inflation rate from 400 percent to its current 15 percent
and to extricate Israel's military from the morass of southern Lebanon.
He achieved no breakthroughs in an Israel-Arab settlement. But the
dialogue he began with one Arab leader — King Hassan of Morocco —
ended the dearth of high-level contacts between Jews and Arabs that had
marked Mideast relations for almost six years. This is not to say, of
course, that peace is nigh. Far from it. But at least an Israeli and an
Arab leader managed to sit in the same room together.
Yitzhak Shamir has the reputation of being a hardliner. But so did
Menachem Begin, who had the courage to sign the first peace treaty
between Israel and one of its former enemies. While Shamir now says
that he will not relinquish an inch of the West Bank, the Golan Heights
or the Gaza Strip, he seems to be aiming toward some type of permanent,
de facto arrangement with his Arab neighbor.
That, at least, is his stand for now. But as Romanian President
Nicolae Ceausecu recently told someone who asked his prognosis of
Shamir's peace efforts, "Without doubt, he will continue — and you will
see, he will surprise you."
After the killings, terrors and diplomatic stalemates of the last few
years, the Mideast is very much in need of a pleasant surprise. One hopes
that Mr. Ceausecu's instincts about Shamir are corre.A.
Dung Gate Lesson
Last week's terrorist attack outside the Old City walls in Jerusalem
served again to strip the facade of peace from the "moderate" Palestine
Liberation Organization and its "hard-line" splinter groups. What
difference do the families of the dead and wounded see in the fragmented
PLO groups as they all scramble to tell the world of their prowess in
maiming the innocent?
The U.S. has made no accommodation with terrorists, to the sorrow
of U.S. captives in Lebanon. Caving in, however, would make us all
captives. The French, the Greeks, and Italians have paid dearly for their
secret "deals" with the PLO. But the ones who refuse to heed the lesson
of terrorism are the terrorists themselves.
Terrorism may be an outlet for real and imagined injustices. It
certainly wreaks indiscriminate sorrow and widespread fear. But its main
accomplishment in the Middle East has been to prevent a peaceful
settlement of Arab-Israeli issues. No other single factor has done more to
harden positions for both sides.
Soft-Spoken Arab Mayor's
Hard-Line PLO Approach
f there was a good word to say
about Israel, Nazareth Mayor
and Knesset Member Tawfik
Zayyad could not find it during a re-
cent appearance at the National
Press Club. Zayyad, a leader of Is-
rael's predominantly Arab Rakah
(Communist) Party, has been in the
Israeli parliament since 1977,
elected most recently on the list of
the Democratic Front for Peace and
Equality — a combination of Rakah,
the "Black Panther" faction formed
in the early 1970's by some disaf-
fected Sephardi Jews, and other
Zayyad called the Palestine Lib-
eration Organization (PLO) "the
only address" for dealing with Pales-
tinian Arabs. He played down inter-
nal differences between the some-
times warring factions of the PLO
and insisted that unity would be re-
The mayor °ridiculed Shimon
Peres' offer — made as prime minis-
ter — to negotiate with non-PLO
moderate Palestinians. He labeled
such people "collaborators, quislings
and pro-Hussein clients."
Zayyad, who heads Israel's
largest Arab city, also derided in-
coming Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir's emphasis on following the
Camp David autonomy provisions for
residents of the West Bank and Gaza
Strip. We say there is no difference
between autonomy and anatomy;
they both deal with dead bodies."
According to the mayor, autonomy
"means continuation of occupation
under another name . .-. The Arab
Palestinian people want a state of
He dismissed the idea that Jor-
Eric Rozeman is editor of "Near East
Report." Zayyad participated in a
Detroit press conference last week
sponsored by Rep. John Conyers.
dan, comprising three-quarters of
the original Palestine Mandate,
could be a Palestinian Arab state if
ruled by the majority and not by
King Hussein's minority Hashemite
dynasty. Playing fast and loose with
demography and geography, Zayyad
declared that "Jordan is for the Jor-
danians, Israel for the Israelis and
Palestine for the Palestinians."
That tantalizing formulation
raises a number of questions which
the mayor would not want to ad-
dress, including: Who are the Jorda-
He labeled non-PLO
and pro-Hussein clients."
nians and on what do they base
their claim to part of Palestine if
they are not Palestinian Arabs?
And, is Zayyad implying that by
Palestine he means only the West
Bank and Gaza Strip? Has the PLO
Covenant been secretly amended to
delete Jordan and Israel? Interest-
ingly, two days before Zayyad spoke
in Washington, PLO "political direc-
tor" Farouk Kaddoumi told an inter-
viewer in London: We know that
the Jordanian people are our people.
We are one and the same people . . ."
Zayyad stressed that Israel's
700,000 Arab citizens — whom he
also identified as Palestinians —
would not settle in a West Bank and
Gaza state, should one be created.
We are citizens of Israel, living in
our own homes and villages. That's
our homeland . . . We are not going
However, Zayyad did not believe
that Israeli Arabs should serve in
the Israel Defense Forces, which he
termed an aggressive army."
Zayyad said that Israel does not call
Arabs to service now because "the
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