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February 24, 1989 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-24

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

BEHIND THE HEADLINES

I

Shamir To Rally Troops
Before Washington Visit

CHARLES HOFFMAN

Special to The Jewish News

A

bout a year ago,
Prime Minister Yitz-
hak Shamir flew off to
Washington with the intifada
raging at home, braced for
some arm-twisting aimed at
getting Israel to accept an in-
ternational conference and
the dreaded "territory for
peace" formula. His efforts to
stand up to the Reagan Ad-
ministration's pressure were
reinforced by the rousing
emotional reception he
received from the UJA Young
Leadership in Washington
and from other Jewish au-
diences around the country.
The stakes are now higher
as Shamir prepares for
another Washington trip, pro-
bably in April. Uncle Sam is
talking to Yassir Arafat and
statesmen the world over are
lining up to shake the PLO
leader's hand. And the in-
tifada shows no signs of
abating.
Shamir, too, plans to up the
ante, by convening a con-
ference of Jewish leaders from

We want Diaspora
Jewish leaders to
strengthen Israel's
position in the
peace process."

around the world just before
his trip, and asking them to
line up in support of the
Israeli government. Several
thousand letters to Jewish
leaders are now going out in-
viting them to attend "The
Prime Minister's Conference
on Jewish Solidarity with
Israel," to be held March
19-22.
However, some of the par-
ticipants in the meeting of
the Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish
Organizations — held in
Jerusalem this past week —
were skeptical about the suc-
cess of such an ambitious
venture.
In a letter sent by Shamir
to invitees to pre-conference
deliberations, where draft
resolutions will be prepared,
he wrote that "in view of re-
cent developments in the
Middle East, there is an
urgent need to strengthen the
relationship of solidarity bet-
ween Israel and all Jews
around the world. The
government of Israel expects
the entire Jewish people to
stand at Israel's side in its
quest for peace, security and
prosperity?'

Such a gathering appears to
be unprecedented. Prime
Minister Levi Eshkol conven-
ed an economic conference for
world. Jewry just after the
1967 Six Day War, but no
premier in the past 20 years
has called world Jewish
leaders together with the
hope that they will endorse
the government's position on
the peace process. The con-
ference will deal with
economic issues and tourism,
but the main thrust will be
political.
The conference has bipar-
tisan sponsorship, with Likud
minister Ehud Olmert and
Labor minister Mordechai
Gur named by Shamir as
coordinators. Both are now
flying around the world talk-
ing to prominent Jews and
heads of Jewish organizations
in an attempt to sell them on
"Solidarity with Israel."
We want Diaspora Jewish
leaders to strengthen Israel's
position in the peace process,"
Gur said, "but we aren't ask-
ing them to come and vote
blindly in support of the
government. World Jewry's
support at this juncture is im-
portant, because it can help
us stand up to unjustified
pressures." He expects some
1,000 participants from 60
communities and organiza-
tions to attend.
Gur expressed the hope
"that the resolution that
comes out of this conference is
close to the resolution
adopted in early January by
the Knesset." That resolution
called for continuing the
peace process as outlined by
Camp David, renewing
negotiations for the establish-
ment of full autonomy for the
Arab inhabitants of Judea,
Samaria and the Gaza
District,- and expressed
Israel's willingness to talk
with Palestinians who reject
terror. It specifies that Israel
will not negotiate with the
PLO and rejects the concept of
a separate Palestinian state.
Gur would like to see a con-
federation emerge between
Israel, Jordan and the Palesti-
nians — he is careful to say
"Palestinians" and not PLO.
But he also supports the cur-
rent dialogue between the
U.S. and the PLO, which he
believes can clarify the issues
and positions that will even-
tually be raised in talks with
Israel.- The Likud, however, is
bitterly opposed to this
dialogue, and tends to see
autonomy as a way of main-
taining control over "the
Whole Land of Israel."

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

17

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