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September 16, 1988 - Image 35

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-16

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Although the State Depart-
ment is remaining mum,
several Foggy Bottom in-
siders indicate that no
applications have been made
on behalf of the PLO leader or
any members of his staff.
Sources at State also declined
to speculate about what the
official U.S. response would
be, although there is a
general feeling here that the
New York visa would be hard
to turn down because of
Arafat's plans to address the
United Nations.

Segal Convinced
PLO Considering
Peace Initiative

Jerome Segal, the Universi-
ty of Maryland philosophy
professor who may be the
father of the expected
"Palestinian declaration of
independence," has returned
from the Middle and said he
was encouraged that the PLO
leadership is thinking
seriously about the "peace in-
itiative" he has proposed as a
necessary part the declara-
tion of a Palestinian state.
"I came away heartened,"
he said. "I had been con-
vinced before that there
would be a declaration of in-
dependence; my real question
was the degree to which it
would be accompanied by the
kind of peace initiative I
described. Now I'm convinced
there will be?'
In his proposals, which have
been circulating in PLO
circles for months, Segal in-
sisted that recognition of
Israel was an absolute re-
quirement of any successful
declaration of a Palestinian
state. He also suggested that
the new state declare itself to
be a demilitarized one, a
plank in his scheme that has
resulted in sharp criticism
from some Arab leaders.
According to Segal, Yassir
Arafat shares his view that
American Jews are a key part
of the equation. "The PLO
leaders made it clear that
they operate in a world as
rich and complex as our own
world of electoral politics," he
said. "Without some kind of
mutuality, there are real
limits on what Arafat can do.
He made it clear that the ex-
tent to which the PLO will be
really forthcoming on the
basic issues will depend on
whether three parties show a
desire to respond in kind—the
Israeli government, the
American government and
American Jews!'

Arafat, he insisted, is being
limited in his ability to show
flexibility by Israel's refusal
to talk to the PLO—and by
continuing U.S. support for
that position.
"With that in mind, they're
working on what they call a
New Political Program,"
Segal said. "At one point, I
showed Arafat a Washington
Post editorial, suggesting
that a changing PLO could
expect American help. He was
very interested; we talked at
some length about what that
meant, and how the new
political program could help
convince American Jews that
the PLO is capable of
Segal expects a Palestinian
declaration in a matter of
weeks -- if Arafat can control
some of the more radical
elements of his organization.
"If the PLO does recognize
Israel unilaterally, they'll suf-
fer a real erosion of support.
You see this most in the
radical Islamic groups who
threatening the PLO in the
territories. lb expect the PLO
to go 100 percent of the way
without signals from the
other side—and from Ameri-
can Jews—is unrealistic!"

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AIPAC Urging
Bush To Oppose

Pro-Israel activists are still
trying to map out a strategy
to deal with the recent deci-
sion by the U.S. Trade
Representative placing Israel
on a list of nations to be in-
vestigated for labor abuses,
along with Syria and Haiti.
The preeminent pro-Israel
group—the American-Israel
Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC)—has been working
quietly to put pressure on
Vice President George Bush
to repudiate the actions of
U.S. Trade Representative
Clayton Yeutter.
"The appalling aspect of all
this is the fact that, for the
first time, an administration
has publicly impugned the
democratic character of
Israel," said Steve Silbiger,
Washington representative of
the American Jewish Con-
gress and a key figure in the
outcry against Yuetter's
There is particular concern
that Arab groups may at-
tempt to bring witnesses over
from the West Bank — some
of whom could be associated
with the PLO.

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