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May 12, 1989 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-05-12

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

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The PLO Speaks
With Forked Tongue

Which PLO are
we to believe?
The PLO that re-
nounces terror-
ism and recog-
nizes Israel and,
most recently,
said its militant
charter was null and void, or
the PLO that talks about
regaining Palestine in stages
and speaks of continuing the
"armed struggle" against the
"Zionist entity?" •
There are of late, two PLOs.
One is for Western consump-
tion and features .Yassir
Arafat sounding moderate
and reasonable, telling inter-
viewers, in English, that he is
ready to accept two states,
Palestinian and Jewish, side
by side.
The other PLO is geared
toward the Arab world. In
statements and interviews in
Arabic, Arafat and his
spokesmen talk of
establishing a Palestinian
state as a first step in captur-
ing all of Palestine, meaning
Israel. Farouk Kaddoumi, the
provisional foreign minister
of the newly proclaimed state,
said recently that "we pursue
a policy of stages in our
political struggle." And Abu
Iyad, a top Arafat deputy, has
said that the PLO's recogni-
tion of Israel was contingent
on Israel's recognition of the
PLO.
"We have not recognized
Israel," Abu Iyad said in an
interview in a Kuwaiti news-
paper in February. "We will
do so when they recognize us."
But in a videotaped address
to an Israeli peace sym-
posium that same month,
Abu Iyad sounded a moderate
note, saying the PLO wanted
direct talks with Israel and
accepted the need for co-
existence between Israel and
a Palestinian state.
The American government,
having already taken the
plunge of engaging in
dialogue with the PLO, is as
confused as many American
Jews are as to whether the
PLO has sincerely changed
its course toward peaceful
negotiations or merely its tac-
tics in pursuing Israel's
destruction.
Only Israel has held firm.
On one of the few issues that
Labor and Likud leaders
speak with one voice, the
Jerusalem government has
refused to change its long-
standing opposition to the

PLO, charging that the PLO
has altered only its rhetoric,
not its actions. One can agree
or disagree with Prime
Minister Yitzhak Shamir's
hard-line positions, but no
one can charge that he ad-
dresses these issues incon-
sistently, depending on his
audience.
Israel has taken a beating
among the nations of the
world for appearing intran-
sigent, while Arafat has been
heralded as a man of peace
and diplomacy. But Israel, the
world's only country being
asked to accept a solution
that could risk its survival, is
not about to commit suicide,
even if that makes her
unpopular.
Israel points out that while
Arafat renounces terrorism,
' Palestinian terrorist attacks
have been stepped up against
Israel. Only now Arafat
claims that these are the

Arafat: tough in Arabic, moderate
in English.

work of radical elements he
does not control. Israel -
responds by asking: if Arafat
cannot even speak for the
various factions of the PLO,
how can he claim to speak for
the entire Palestinian people?
American officials have
shown confusion in respon-
ding to these conflicting
voices from within the PLO.
State Department spokesman
Charles Redman said recent-
ly that "the PLO cannot
escape responsibility for the
actions of its constituent
elements." But Secretary of
State James Baker said, "we
cannot, of course, expect the
Arafat element of the PLO to
control every dissident group
out there."
Congress has introduced a
bill that would require the
president to report twice a

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