UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Apr. 16)
The El Fatah guerrilla organization would not be a party to peace talks with Israel, King Hussein of Jordan indicated today. He admitted that the guerrillas’ role in the Mideast deadlock was “explosive” but made the point that his regime–and by implication, not the Palestine liberation movement–was the government of Jordan. The King spoke on these and other issues relating to the Mideast dispute at a luncheon given by the United Nations Correspondents Association.
The Palestinians and Jordanians, the young monarch said, “will be one people” until there is a “resolution” of the Mideast problem. Whatever differences arise afterward would be dealt with as a “family problem” and settled in a “satisfactory way,” he said.
He expressed confidence that “the overwhelming majority of our people” would accept a settlement based on the six-point peace plan that he enunciated last week at the National Press Club in Washington. Asked about this week’s rejection by the five main commando organizations of his six-point blueprint, King Hussein noted that Israel had rejected the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 resolution which formed the basis of his plan and that others apparently felt Israel should not be alone in voicing rejections.
He reiterated the position that his six-point plan represented an identity of viewpoints between himself and President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. Asked about the rejection by the authoritative Cairo newspaper Al Ahram of a point in his plan which called for freedom of navigation for Israel in the Suez Canal, the King noted that the newspaper had linked the canal usage with the Arab refugee problem. He said that he does not differ with Cairo on this issue. The King had high praise for Arab guerrilla leader Yassir Arafat as a man who “loves his country, is dedicated to it and is struggling in the face of tremendous odds.” He said that if Jordanian rights in Jerusalem were recognized, Jordan would do everything to see that everyone’s rights in the city would be observed.
The King repeatedly declared that Israel had not accepted the Security Council’s 1967 resolution and was not prepared to implement it and said that Jordan was not prepared to enter into direct negotiations until Israel’s position is clear. Israel, he asserted, is continuing to alter the status of Jerusalem and the other occupied areas and says she will not give up territory for peace. “What then shall we talk about?” he asked.
He maintained that a “crossroads” was being approached and that if there was no movement now toward peace, the opportunity to avoid war may be lost. He foresaw in the possible absence of progress toward peace “a long and difficult struggle.” What Jordan wanted from the U.S. in the current Big Four talks, he said, was “even-handed” treatment.
(The Times of London reported today that Arab reaction to King Hussein’s six-point peace plan was negative and “less than encouraging” to its initiators in Amman and Cairo. The paper said that Saudia Arabia which gives Egypt an annual $120 million subsidy to offset losses resulting from closure of the Suez Canal, and Iraq whose troops are stationed in Jordan and Syria and constitute the only tangible evidence of a unified Arab command, were the principal objectors.)
(The Washington Post reported Lebanese concern over the activities of Syrian commandos using Lebanese territory from which to mount attacks on Israel. The Lebanese have made a deal with El Fatah under which that organization avoids giving Israel any grounds for reprisals against Lebanon, but the Syrian commandos take their orders directly from Damascus.)