Peres Says Israel Will Never Negotiate with Terrorists on Hijackings

An Israeli Cabinet Minister said here today that his government would never negotiate with the Palestinian terrorists who hijacked three airliners yesterday. Minister of Transport Shimon Peres said, however, that Israel might negotiate for the release of Israeli hostages with “involved Arab governments.” Mr. Peres arrived here today to attend the funeral tomorrow of the late Gen. Pierre Koenig who headed the France-Israel Friendship Alliance. He told newsmen, “The Israeli government considers that the governments of the countries on whose territories the planes have landed and the passengers are held are responsible for actions of the terrorists who carried out the hijackings.” He said Israel rejected any contact with the terrorists “just as the United States government could not consider negotiating with an armed group such as the Mafia within the U.S.A.” Questioned about Israel’s withdrawal from the Jarring peace talks, Mr. Peres said his government was prepared to return to the negotiations “on condition that the cease-fire situation in the Suez Canal zone is reverted to the status quo ante.” He said, “This is our only condition but we demand that it be respected. We cannot accept a situation different from what it was on the day the cease-fire went into effect.” Also here for the Koenig funeral is former Minister Menachem Beigin, leader of the Gahal faction which quit the government coalition in July in protest against Israel’s acceptance of the cease-fire.

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