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September 09, 1988 - Image 162

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-09

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and succinctly: "The question that I must ask you,"
he wrote, "is what do you see as the alternative?"
Not one of Israel's critics, he continued, has provided
an answer, adding that the choice is not between
quelling the riots and sitting down to negotiate, but
between restoring calm or allowing the violence to
continue and spread.

The Shultz Initiative

The issue of whom Israel can talk to in the
pursuit of peace dominated Mideast events. U.S.

AN ARAB SUMMIT was held in November in Amman, and amid claims of strengthened Arab unity, the

clear winner was Syria's Hafez Assad (at left), who made up with Iraqi president Sadam Hussein (right).
Assad was rewarded with $2 billion in aid from his fellow Arab leaders.

FOREST FIRES became a form of protest for
the Palestinians, who managed to destroy
thousands of acres of Israeli land.

ABU JIHAD, the PLO's No. 2 man, was

assasinated at his home in Tunis in April, and
Palestinians reacted with grief and anger. Israel
neither confirmed nor denied that it was
responsible for the killing.

SHULTZ SHUTTLES were a common sight this
year, with the American secretary of state
traveling to the Mideast several times in an
effort, ultimately futile, to achieve a breakthrough
on peace talks.

TRAGEDY IN BEITA took place during Passover

when a skirmish between a group of young
Israeli hikers and Arab villagers led to the death
of 14-year-old Tirza Porat, the first Jewish
civilian fatality of the uprisings.

Secretary of State George Shultz, whose increased
interest in the Mideast resulted in numerous trips
to the region and an effort to forge a negotiating
breakthrough, eventually devised a plan. The
Shultz formula called for an international opening
to peace talks, largely ceremonial, that would be
followed by an interim agreement involving elec-
tions in the West Bank and Gaza as a prelude to
Palestinian autonomy in the territories. The
negotiations would then move on to determine the
final status of the territories, with an exchange of
peace for territories.
A key element was that the Arab delegation
would be comprised of Palestinian Arabs from the
West Bank and Gaza as well as Jordanians ap-
pointed by King Hussein.
In Washington, 30 U.S. senators, including a
number of Israel's strongest supporters, endorsed
the initiative, calling on Israeli Prime Minister
Shamir to accept the principle of exchanging land
for peace.
In the Mideast, though, only Egypt endorsed the
plan, since she had nothing to lose. Syria, Jordan,
the PLO were all opposed. So was Israeli Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who came to Washington
in March to make his case. The visit had all the
makings of a showdown and there was grave con-
cern that Israel would suffer in the eyes of the Ad-
ministration, if Shamir appeared unwilling to take
political risks for peace.
Without rejecting the Shultz plan outright, the
embattled Israeli leader argued that land-for-peace
was not the issue. Rather, he told an enthusiastic
crowd of 3,000 UJA Young Leadership delegates in
Washington, the issue was the Arab motive for seek-
ing territory in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. "I am
astounded at some people's short memory," he said.
"Did we have peace when we did not have these ter-
Shamir asserted that Israel's decision was "a
matter of life and death — of our very existence,"
and that "only those who shed their blood can
decide what risks to take in the pursuit of peace."
That argument made sense to many Jews in this
country, but angered others who felt that American
Jews had a right to voice their concerns to Israel
and that, besides, Shamir spoke for only half of the
Israeli government. Indeed, the rift in the unity
coalition between Likud's Shamir and Labor's
Shimon Peres, the Foreign Minister, deteriorated
further this year. When George Shultz came to the
Mideast to shuttle between Jerusalem and Arab



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