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December 22, 1989 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-22

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

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30

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 1989

Officials Wrangling Over
Role Of East Jerusalem

WOLF BLITZER

Washington Correspondent

S

enior American and
Israeli officials this
week debated whether
east Jerusalem Arabs should
be eligible to serve in a
Palestinian delegation that
would open a dialogue with
Israeli officials in Cairo.
Last week, visiting Israeli
Cabinet Secretary Elyakim
Rubinstein began two days
of preliminary talks with
State Department Policy
Planning Director Dennis
Ross and other U.S. officials.
The issue of east
Jerusalem Palestinians was
the focus of these talks,
which are designed to set the
stage for a three-way
meeting in Washington ear-
ly next year between Secre-
tary of State James Baker
and the Israeli and Egyptian
foreign ministers, Moshe
Arens and Esmat Abdel-
Meguid.
The Americans would like
to see the Baker-Arens-
Meguid meeting wind up
with the announcement of a
Palestinian delegation that
would open talks in Cairo
with Israeli officials.
But given the serious gap
expressed between Rubins-
tein and Ross on this, there
is no guarantee that the
trilateral meeting will con-
vene in January, as has been
widely assumed.
As was made clear during
the first round of Rubins-
tein-Ross discussions, the
Bush administration does
not accept the Likud's posi-
tion that east Jerusalem
Palestinians should be
barred from the Cairo talks.
U.S. officials maintain
that many of the most
prominent Palestinian
leaders on the West Bank
reside in east Jerusalem, in-
cluding Faisal Husseini and
Hanna Seniora. These
Palestinians often have been
mentioned as possible non-
PLO delegates. Israel
refuses to deal directly with
the PLO.
But Rubinstein, represent-
ing the Likud's point of
view, is arguing that any in-
clusion of east Jerusalem
Palestinians in the Cairo
talks would automatically
undermine the Likud's posi-
tion that east Jerusalem
Arabs should not later be
eligible to serve as can-
didates in the proposed West
Bank and Gaza elections.
The Likud, in contrast to
Labor, also strongly opposes

Dennis Ross:
Met with Rubenstein.

allowing east Jerusalem
Palestinians the right to
vote in those elections.
Including east Jerusalem
in the process, according to
the Likud, would threaten
Israel's claim to sovereignty
over all of Jerusalem.
As a possible compromise,
the Americans have propos-
ed including a blanket
statement noting that none
of these preliminary deci-

U.S. officials have
expressed
irritation over
these Likud
positions.

sions would "prejudice" any
of the parties' positions on
final status issues.
U.S. officials have ex-
pressed irritation over these
Likud positions. Indeed,
some American
policymakers have started
again to question Israel's se-
riousness in seeking peace
negotiations.
The other major issue that
has to be resolved in advance
of the three-way foreign
ministers' meeting in
Washington involves the
agenda for Israeli-
Palestinian talks in Cairo.
Prime Minister Shamir and
other Likud ministers main-
tain that those talks should
focus strictly on the
technical arrangements for
Palestinian elections in the
territories. The Egyptians
(and the PLO) insist that
broader peace issues also be
discussed.
But informed sources in
Washington maintained
that this agenda issue was

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