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February 12, 1988 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-02-12

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

Peace Talks Show
Signs Of Movement

.

years, can only come after the
parties directly involved in
WOLF BLITZER
the conflict — Israel and the
Special to the Jewish News
Arabs — show that they
ashington — It may
themselves want such
have taken two
negotiations.
Shultz has already assured
months of un-
the key parties that he, per-
precedented and highly
sonally, is prepared to under-
publicized violence in the
take that very high-level
West Bank and Gaza, but the
diplomatic role — in the best
United States has finally em-
tradition of Kissinger, Vance
barked on a major new Arab-
and former President Jimmy
Israeli peace initiative that
Carter — but only if he be-
shows promising signs.
comes further convinced in
Senior U.S. officials are
the next few weeks that a
hopeful that real progress in
breakthrough is indeed possi-
overcoming some of the pro-
ble. Assistant Secretary
cedural and substantive prob-
State for Near Eastern and
lems can yet be achieved this
South Asian Affairs Richard
year, despite the U.S. and
Murphy is exploring the pos-
Israeli elections. They are
sibilities right now.
willing to buck the conven-
But because Shultz and
tional wisdom which main-
other Administration officials
tains that election years
feel that they were badly
make diplomatic progress im-
burned during their ill-fated
possible.
Lebanese experience in
Indeed, they are privately
1982-1983, they have subse-
suggesting that the U.S. elec-
quently been cautious in re-
tions may even serve as a
engaging themselves forceful-
positive force in advancing
ly in the Arab-Israeli peace
the process. The Reagan Ad-
process. But once an oppor-
ministration would certainly
tunity for even modest suc-
relish a major diplomatic
cess is genuinely perceived —
triumph in the Middle East
as is currently the case —
as it leaves office. And Israeli
Shultz and the others are in-
leaders, they further explain,
deed prepared to respond.
recognize that both President
Thus, at this point, the
Ronald Reagan and Secretary
Americans are convinced that
of State George Shultz are
even the appearance of
about as friendly a Washing-
diplomatic momentum —
ton combination as is realis-
even if modest — will
tically possible.
automatically have the im-
American credibility in the
pact of stabilizing the tense
Arab world has clearly been
situation in the territories.
damaged in recent years, but
With the start of negotia-
the United States still has
tions, Shultz believes, Pales-
enough clout in the region to
tinians will finally gain some
play the necessary mediatory
hope that the most onerous
role in reviving peace
aspects of the Israeli military
negotiationis.
occupation might be removed.
Israeli complacency, even
And that might quiet the
arrogance, have been upend-
ed. In 1973, Israel lost near-
situation.
But Shultz understands
ly 3,000 soldiers in a war that
that he must first convince
many observers believe could
the Palestinians, the Jordan-
have been avoided had the
ians and the other Arabs that
Israeli government a year
the United States is commit-
earlier entered into a disen-
ted to a real change in the ter-
gagement of forces agreement
ritories. This is not a process
with Egypt, allowing the
that is simply going to rehash
Suez Canal to reopen. The
former Prime Minister
late Egyptian President An-
Menachem Begin's vision of
war Sadat, who had assumed
limited self-rule for the
office in 1970 upon Gamal
Palestinians. What the U.S.
• Abdul Nasser's death, was
has in mind is something
certainly prepared for such an
much more sweeping.
arrangement.
This time, there has been
That helps to explain why
no conventional war. Yet
the State Department has
Israel has suffered both inter-
publicly announced that the
nally and externally. Its im-
current U.S. diplomatic drive
age has taken a beating in
is aimed at creating a new
American public opinion, in-
"political" arrangement in
cluding in the Jewish com-
the territories — one that pro-
vides very real and tangible
munity.
benefits for the Palestinians
Any high-level and sus-
while at the same time meets
tained U.S. involvement in
Israel's legitimate security
serious peacemaking, Shultz
has often stated in recent
concerns.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

33

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