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May 08, 1987 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-08

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

arrrican

photo

and camera

Secretary of State George
Shultz, the prime U.S. mover
in the area of the Middle
East, has his own doubts
about an international con-
ference. But he and other U.S.
officials are prepared to go
'along with the concept if it
will quickly lead to direct
negotiations and - if the
plenary members of the con-
ference will not be in a posi-
tion to impede bilateral
agreements reached between
Israel and its various Arab
neighbors.
According to U.S. officials,
Shultz is close to winning
those kinds of commitments
from the Arabs. More ad-
vance negotiations are re-
quired — a task left largely to
the special U.S. Middle East
envoy, Ambassador Wat T.
Cluverius, who has been
shuttling around the region
for months.
But all that preparation
may be for naught. And the
clivisiions within Israel will be
seen in Washington as the
major reason for any impasse.
The U.S., like Peres and his
Labor Party colleagues,
wants to test the intentions of
Arab moderates at the
negotiating table. American
officialg believe that Shamir
and his Likud associates fear
what Jordan and other Arabs
might say and do. At stake, of
course, is the future of the
West Bank and Gaza Strip.
But the parties will prob-
ably not get that far. And
another missed opportunity
will have passed in the
troubled history of the Arab-
Israeli conflict. ❑

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with various Israeli leaders
for many years. Unfortunate-
ly, it has not yet been possible
to translate that secret
dialogue into open negotia-
tions. Unlike Egypt, Jordan
is a small country, bordering
Syria. Some 60 percent of the
kingdom consists of Palesti-
nians. Thus, Hussein under-
standably fears for his
political and physical
survival.
However, American of-
ficials fear that Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir is
not about to change his posi-
tion by supporting an inter-
national gathering. As a
result, U.S. officials remain
gloomy about the overall
chances for advancing the
peace -process now. Domestic
Israeli politics are seen as
likely to preclude any real
negotiations.
U.S. officials are convinced
that Shamir's strong opposi-
tion to an international
conference is largely designed
to mask the Likud's absolute
rejection of the notion of
territorial compromise on the
West Bank.

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