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November 13, 1987 - Image 61

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-13

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call domestic politics.
MR. SHIPLER: And where would the
Palestinian state be located?
MR. ABOUREZK: In the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip, which is the only real ter-
ritory left for such a state in the Middle
MR. SHIPLER: So you've answered Mr.
Bookbinder's question here about recogniz-
ing Israel's right to exist, it seems to me.
MR. ABOUREZK: Well, of course, I've
said of course Israel exists. Those are the
very words I used in .. .
MR. BOOKBINDER: He still won't say
"right to exist." You really do refuse to say
that, don't you?
MR. ABOUREZK: Within whatever boun-
daries, and provided that you recognize the
Palestinians' right to exist.
MR. SHIPLER: Now, let me ask you, Mr.

I happen to be a pacifist
and I absolutely believe
violence is wrong, no
matter what.

Bookbinder — we may be making some
headway here — let me ask you the same
MR. ABOUREZK: Let me just remind you
I am not a nation, so it .doesn't do much
good for me to recognize Israel's right to
MR. BOOKBINDER: But you want me to
create a state for the Palestinians.
MR. ABOUREZK: No, I want you to let
them decide for themselves.
MR. SHIPLER: Mr. Bookbinder, let me
ask you the same question about U.S.
policy if you were secretary of state. I
would like to make the observation that
there seems to be the potential here for
some agreement between you about peace
treaties between Israel and its Arab
neighbors. How can you build on that?
MR. BOOKBINDER: Let me respond in
the same multi-dimensional way. Because
the reference has been made to the Israeli
lobby, with all the implication that it is
what keeps us from making the progress
you're seeking, Mr. Shipler, I did a little
research yesterday.
I reject the suggestion that the Jewish
lobby simply buys the Congress of the
United States. The total Jewish contribu-
tions to all campaigns for 1984 to 1986
were less than 1 percent of the total expen-
ditures. We are 3 percent of the people, so
we're spending even less than our
That's very important to keep in mind,

because the suggestion is made over and
over again that the only reason America
and Americans are so supportive of Israel
is not on merit, not on basic concerns
about America's interests, but because the
Jews have bought Congress.
Now to the heart of the question itself.
We have heard from Prime Minister
Shamir of his total opposition to any inter-
national conference. My personal judg-
ment is that that's wrong. There ought to
be more flexibility than that. But I'm also
confident this is a matter for further
discussion and deliberation. The Israelis
have shown flexibility in the past in the
negotiating process.
But we also ought to understand that
such a conference should be no more than
a formula to begin direct negotiations. I'm
gratified by what the administration has
said, that it's calling for an international
conference as a preface to direct negotia-
tions, because that's the only thing that
will produce results.
The Soviet role in the Middle East af-
fairs has not been one that Americans
should welcome. I don't want to recite that
history now. It's not one we ought to be
happy about. Moreover, whenever you
bring all of the superpowers together they
all vie for the position of most militant,
friendliest to Arab aspirations, and you get
Even though Mr. Abourezk is disap-
pointed about Camp David, the only thing
that should gratify us during these last
forty years is that the major Arab state in
the area, Egypt, saw the wisdom of direct
negotiations and was willing to negotiate
a treaty with Israel. Because of that, fifty
million Arabs have been living in peace.
No, if one Arab American named James
Abourezk doesn't think that's very impor-
tant, I would suggest, since he's the one
always saying, let's ask the Arabs what
they want, that we ask the Arabs in Egypt
whether they would prefer war rather than
the peace they now have.
If, in order to get a broader peace, it is
necessary to deal one on one, or with only
two countries or three countries or
whatever the situation allows, we should
be willing to do that and not insist that all
the countries have to sit around the same
table at the same time. But to go back to
the first comment, I personally dont think
it's necessary or wise to rule out totally the
possibility of an international conference.
MR. SHIPLER: And what about a Pal-
estinian state? What do you see as the final
result of that conference?
MR. BOOKBINDER: I want that con-
ference or that direct negotiation to bring
us as close as possible to full self-
governance for the Palestinians.
MR. SHIPLER: What does that mean?
MR. BOOKBINDER: It's easy enough for
us to recite a pat formula that people are
entitled to self-determination. How can
anybody be against that version of



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