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May 08, 1992 - Image 66

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-08

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

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Yitzhak Rabin is confident about a
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66

itzhak Rabin, the

leader of Israel's
Labor Party, is more
upbeat than ever about
achieving an agreement
with Palestinians which will
produce full-blown
autonomy within a year.
In an interview last
weekend with the Indepen-
dent, a respected British dai-
ly, Mr. Rabin said Israel
could cut a deal with Pales-
tinians in the territories
within six to 12 months.
Such a deal would involve
a five-year transitional
period of autonomy, during
which Palestinians would
have self-government, but
no control over security or
foreign affairs.
Yet, Mr. Rabin doubted
that Israel would achieve an
overall peace with its Arab
neighbors in his lifetime.
While he ruled out full Pa-
lestinian statehood at pre-
sent, he left the door open for
such an eventuality.
"I do not want to deal with
it now," he said, "but I am
not saying the Palestinians
have no rights to aspire to."
Almost as a counter-
balance to Mr. Rabin's op-
timism, two Israeli commen-
tators published more
downbeat prognoses for
Mideast peace as delegates
were heading back to Wash-
ington for the next round of
the regional peace talks.
In Ha'aretz, Danny
Rubinstein chided Palestin-
ians for not advancing the
peace process. Instead, he
said, they had been beset by
personal and political an-
tagonisms since they had
started preparing for the
first phase of peace talks in
Madrid last fall.
Palestinian delegates and
advisors, he wrote, appeared
"inept and incapacitated"
when addressing such prac-
tical issues as transitional
procedures and elections in
Gaza and the West Bank.
Many east Jerusalem
residents, he said, "fear get-
ting down to long, difficult
negotiations with a country
that has an organized ex-
ecutive authority. In com-
parison, Palestinian institu-
tions appear pitiful."
According to Mr. Rubens-
tein, Palestinian leaders in

the territories no longer deal
with two key areas — Pales-
tinians killing suspected
collaborators and Arabs
building Jewish settlements
— since they have not been
able to stop them.
He also pointed out that
efforts by Israeli academics
to work with Palestinians at
building models for coex-
istence had evoked only
"cries of despair about the
occupation, the settlements,
suppression and depriva-
tion."
This, he said, appeared to
be Palestinians' "only way
to mobilize public opinion, to
get the governments of the
world to save them and do
the job for them . . . (since)
they are incapable of negoti-
ating with Israel on their
own."
In Al-Hamishmar, Avner
Regev stated that two State
Department officials who
had just visited Israel were

Rabin doubts Israel
will achieve an
overall peace with
its Arab neighbors
in his lifetime.

"furious" that Palestinians
"do not seriously accept
responsibility for the
autonomy issue and .. .
(that) they continually seek
excuses to avoid discussions
on substance."
Mr. Regev reported that
the two U.S. officials were
astonished that Palestinian
leaders with whom they had
met in the territories were
not prepared to discuss a
single feature of Israel's
autonomy offer or to submit
their own counter-proposal.
The paralysis which has
gripped Palestinians stems
from the struggle between
Palestinians in the ter-
ritories and the PLO leaders
in Tunis over controlling
their movement. This
struggle is likely to inten-
sify.
This shift in power toward
the territories started with
the intifada in December
1987, when PLO leaders in
Tunis were surprised at the
spontaneous protests which
erupted in the Gaza Strip
and quickly spread to the
West Bank.
The shift was accelerated
by the Gulf War in March

CI

c-\

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