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May 22, 1987 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-22

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

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Israel's Unity Government Crisis
Puts Middle East Peace Talks On Ice

Washington is disappointed with events in Israel, especially
the sense that Shamir has outmaneuvered Peres on the
conference issue.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

ashington — The
political crisis in
Israel has effectively
brought the U.S:sponsored
drive to promote the Arab-
Israeli peace process to a
standstill, U.S. officials have
acknowledged.
The Americans also said
that they were waiting to see
what impact the upcoming
official reports in Jerusalem
on Israel's handling of the
Jonathan Jay Pollard spy
scandal might have on the
Israeli political leadership.
There are indications that
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir, Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres, Defense Mini-
ster Yitzhak Rabin and
Minister Without Portfolio
Moshe Arens may be severe-
ly criticized by those reports.
But irrespective of the
Pollard reports, there was
disappointment in Washing-
ton on the latest turn of
events in Jerusalem, especial-
ly the sense that Shamir — at
least for the time being — had
outmaneuvered Peres over
the issue of an international
conference.
Peres is clearly more
popular with Administration
policymakers than is Shamir.
The Americans have made no
secret of their appreciation of
Peres's intensive efforts in re-
cent weeks to reach a formal
understanding with Jordan's
King Hussein on the scope of
an international conference.
Peres and Rabin met secret-
ly with Hussein in London
this past April, for example.
At the meeting, the two sides
agreed that an international
conference would quickly lead
to direct Arab-Israeli negotia-
tions and that the full plenary
members, especially the So-
viet Union, would not be in a
position to impede or veto
bilateral agreements.
U.S. officials suggested
that Peres who has not yet
been able to win a simple
Knesset majority needed for
early national elections, may
have overplayed his political
card. It is thought that Peres
should have included Likud
leaders more actively in his
behind-the-scenes diplomacy.
But the Administration is
not planning either to back
away from its support for an
international conference or to

more publicly support Peres
and Labor. Thus, the State
Department has repeatedly
refused to be drawn into the
domestic politics of Israel.
"We're not going to make
any comment on the political
debate in Israel," said Phylis
Oakley, the spokeswoman.
"We remain in continuous
discussion with the govern-
ment of Israel on a range of
regional issues, including the
peace process."
She said the overall U.S. ob-
jective remains "a compre-
hensive peace settlement."
While refusing to comment
on internal Israeli politics,
she did read a carefully-
drafted statement which
noted that "significant pro-
gress" has been achieved late-
ly in promoting the peace pro-
cess. In the statement, the
U.S. clearly tilted toward the
view endorsed by Peres — as
opposed to Shamir.
"Our objective is peace,"
the statement said. "We re-
main convinced that peace
can only be reached through
face-to-face, or direct bilateral
negotiations. As we have
stated recently, there has
been significant progress in
our effort to see whether a
conference can lead promptly
to face-to-face bilateral
negotiations and not interfere
with those negotiations."
Shamir has maintained
that Israeli representatives
were no longer authorized to
discuss an international con-
ference since the Inner Cab-
inet failed to endorse the
concept.
But Peres, during his U.S.
visit, was not backing away
from his stance. In an inter-
view broadcast on ABC's
"Good Morning America," for
instance, he said that the
agreement with Jordan repre-
sents "the most serious pro-
posal that has ever come on
the table over the last 39
years — since the establish-
ment of the State of Israel:'
Privately, U.S. officials
agreed. Thus, they said that
despite Shamir's strong op-
position, the U.S. remains
willing to work toward the
convening of an international
conference. This was also the
thrust of Shultz's speech
before the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee in
Washington.
During talks with Admini-
stration officials, Peres sug-
gested that the U.S. in the

coming weeks determine the
exact Soviet attitude on ad-
vancing the peace process. In
any U.S:Soviet dialogue,
Peres said, the U.S. should
make clear that the Soviets
will not be able to veto or im-
pose any settlement at an in-
ternational conference.
He said the U.S. and Israel
agreed that the Soviet Union_
would have to reestablish
diplomatic ties with Israel
and increase Soviet Jewish
emigration in order to qualify
for a seat at an international
conference.
Before leaving Washington,
Peres met for 90 minutes with
Soviet Ambassador Yuri Du-
binin.
U.S. officials expressed fear
that some of the agreements
between Israel and Jordan on
the exact scope of an interna-
tional conference could begin
to unravel unless the overall
momentum continued in the
coming weeks. But, they fur-
ther acknowledged, there was
little the U.S. could do until
the messy political crisis in
Israel eased.
The Director-General of the
Prime Minister's Office, Yosef
Ben-Aharon, wound up his
talks in Washington aimed at
rejecting the notion of an in-
ternational conference. Israeli
officials said that Ben-Ahar-
on had been dispatched to
Washington to let senior U.S.
officials know exactly how
strong Shamir's opposition to
an international conference
really is.
But Ben-Aharon failed in
convincing the Americans to
drop their support for an in-
ternational conference as en-
visaged by Peres. ❑

U.S. Seeks
Denaturalization
Of Alleged Kapo

Washington (JTA) — The
Justice Department's Office
of Special Investigations
(OSI) last week filed a com-
plaint with a U.S. District
Court in Brooklyn, N.Y.,
toward denaturalizing Jacob
Tannenbaum of Brooklyn on
the grounds that he concealed
his past as an overseer in a
Nazi concentration camp.
Tannenbaum, 71, Jewish,
and a native of Poland, is ac-
cused of serving as a "kapo,"
an inmate overseer of pris-
oners at Goerlitz.

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