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November 18, 1988 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-18

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

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an accomplished fact, and the
question Western leaders are
still asking is whether the
Algiers meeting was not
simply another display of
Palestinian shadow-boxing.
They may accept, rightly or
wrongly, that Arafat's em-
brace of Resolution 242
represents a genuine conver-
sion to the idea of Israel's

"There has been a
change, but it is
not a
breakthrough.
Most Israelis
remain
unconvinced about
the long-term
intentions of the
PLO."

right to exist, but the PLO
leader has yet to convince
them that he can hold to-
gether his divisive movement;
that he is capable of carrying
the radical rejectionist ele-
ments; that he can keep Sy-
ria's President Hafez Assad
from spoiling the party.
These are formidable obsta-
cles and will present Arafat
with a daunting challenge.
No less daunting will be the
task of convincing a highly
skeptical Israel that the PLO
leadership is a suitable nego-
tiating partner and that it
can be trusted to keep its col-
lective word.
Israel — or that part which
is prepared for any territorial
compromise at all — is not
interested simply in the
secure borders of Resolution
242; its aim is to attain the
far broader security condition
of peaceful coexistence.
If Yassir Arafat and his
fellow PLO leaders are to take
even the first step along the
road of inspiring Israeli trust,
they will have to be far less
ambiguous in their pro-
nouncements.
An independent Palestine
that carries the prospect of
turmoil will be no compensa-
tion for the current intifada
which, problematic though it
is, allows Israel to deploy its
troops and maintain some
measure of control.
In the final analysis, the
declaration in Algiers was a
largely symbolic act designed
to achieve objectives that
have more to do with public
relations than peace.
To that extent, it was suc-
cessful, and the pressure is
now on Israel to produce some
sort of response to the very
powerful impression of
moderation and compromise
that Arafat has stamped so
firmly onto the consciousness
of the free world.

The immediate Israeli reac-
tion — a vituperative state-
ment denouncing the decla-
ration as a smokescreen in-
tended to obscure the PLO's
advocacy of violence and ter-
ror — is unlikely to play in
European capitals. Nor is it
likely to play in Washington
if a Bush administration
proves receptive to the idea of
a joint approach with the
Soviet Union.
According to an Israeli For-
eign Ministry statement, the
Algiers declaration did not
take account of reality and
will not help to advance the
prospects for peace in the
Middle East.
Western leaders may never-
theless conclude that this
small gesture from the PLO is
more realistic and more likely
to achieve peace than the do-
nothing policy which has be-
come the hallmark of Israeli
policy.
"I fear that Israel will find
itself in a very uncomfortable
position," noted one Israeli
official this week. "The PLO
has emerged pretty well from
Algiers, while Israel is busy
_ forming a right-wing govern-
ment and appearing tho-
roughly unreasonable.
"Israel's tragedy is its in-
ability to produce a calculated
and reasoned response. We
are heading for very, very dif-
ficult times."

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Tel Aviv (JTA) — Israel has
instructed its diplomatic
representatives all over the
world to reject anything that
may result from the the
Palestine National Council.
Israel also has plans to
block any move at the United
Nations to recognize such a
state.
The PNC, often described as
the Palestinian parliament in
exile, is considered by Israel
to be a branch of the Palestine
Liberation Organization.
Haaretz reported last week
that the Foreign Ministry has
warned its diplomats that the
PNC might use U.N. General
Assembly resolution 181 as
a basis to seek legitimacy
for its claim of Palestinian
independence.
Adopted on Nov. 29, 1947, it
called for the partition of
Palestine into separate Jew-
ish and Arab states.
The resolution became
irrelevant when Arab armies
attacked Israel in May 1948,
the Foreign Ministry's docu-
ment states.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

17

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