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February 17, 1989 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-17

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

TIFFANY & CO.

Arad:
America will come around on the
PLO.

intifada, said that dealing
with the damage to Israel's
public image resulting from
the uprising has been the
single most difficult chal-
lenge he has faced.
But he strongly denied that
the turmoil in the territories
has overly damaged relations
with the U.S. government.
"It did not affect the strong
and friendly relations with
the administration," he said.
"But it does have, in the long-
run, a negative impact upon
Israel's image in this country
and in public opinion toward
Israel."
What has been especially
difficult, he continued, has
been the nasty image of Israel
that comes across on Ameri-
can television screens.
"Television tends to concen-
trate its attention on the
violence and not on the
causes of the violence," he
said.
Arad, a career diplomat
with extensive experience in
America, grudgingly credited
the PLO with successfully
projecting the conflict as
simply one involving Israelis
and Palestinians, the latter
becoming the perceived
underdog. The broader Arab-
Israeli dimension is thus
ignored.
"This is the most challeng-
ing, the most difficult and the
most important task that I
would say I face," he said.
Arad, who met last Thurs-
day with Secretary of State
James Baker, said President
Bush knows a great deal
about the American-Israeli
relationship, including the
enhanced strategic coopera-
tion that developed during
the Reagan years. He credited
the President for his record of
personal support for Soviet

and Ethiopian Jewry.
"All these are factors that
would strengthen, in my view,
his involvement in U.S. policy
toward Israel in this new ad-
ministration," Arad said.
But the envoy suggested
that Israel would be wise to
come forward with its own
peace initiative. The Ad-
ministration, he said, would
be pleased to work with Israel
in trying to promote it.
"Such an initiative," he
said, "would be the first re-
quired step in bringing about
a peaceful resolution."
Arad acknowledged the
irony in the Reagan Ad-
ministration's opening talks
with the PLO despite its
eight-year pro-Israeli record.
"It was definitely an aberra-
tion," Arad said. "We do not
think that this step has in
any way contributed to the
advancement of the peace
process."
He said Israel has asked the
United States to suspend the
dialogue with the PLO. But
the Americans have informed
Israel that the talks will
continue.

Arad conceded that
Washington and Jerusalem
do not necessarily share the
same definition of terrorism
— as far as the PLO is
concerned. -
"Israel regards as terrorism
every act which is perpetrated
by the terrorist organizations
against our civilians, against
our settlements, against our
villages," he said. "There is a
long and bitter history of ter-
rorist acts against Israel. We
didn't detect at any given
point any distinction between
military or civilian targets."

The United States does not
completely agree with Israel.
"I think the U.S., in its effort
to bring about a reduction to
the violence in the Middle
East, has taken a somewhat
softer attitude than we have
taken," he said. "But on the
other hand, I don't doubt that
the administration regards
and looks with great severity
and great seriousness upon
any attack, upon any act of
violence, that is being in-
itiated and perpetrated. And
they continue to be initiated
and perpetrated by PLO fac-
tions."
Arad did not shy away from
acknowledging the damage
done to Israel's image by the
State Department's just-
released human rights report.
He insisted that the conclu-
sions were not fair.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 15

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