Dr. Goldmann Confirms He Sought Approval to Meet with Palestinian Representative

Dr. Nahum Goldmann confirmed today that he had recently asked Premier Golda Meir for approval of a meeting between himself and a representative of the Palestinian liberation movement. Mrs. Meir disclosed in a television interview last Friday that Dr. Goldmann had approached her in connection with a meeting with a prominent Arab personality. Asked if it was President Nasser of Egypt, Mrs. Meir replied, that it was somebody “much worse.” Dr. Goldmann who arrived at Lydda Airport last night for a brief stay in Israel, refused to say whether the leader he had in mind was Yassir Arafat, chief of El Fatah and head of the Palestine Liberation Organization. But he told newsmen that meetings between Israelis and Arafat should not be ruled out if both parties were interested. He said that when Mrs. Meir told him that his request would have to be approved by the whole Cabinet, he dropped the matter.

Dr. Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress and a past president of the World Zionist Organization, created a furor here recently when he asked the government to approve a private meeting between himself and President Nasser. The request was rejected and Dr. Goldmann was bitterly criticized for engaging in “private diplomacy.” But just a week before Nasser’s death, the Jewish leader told a West German television audience that he was in regular contact with emissaries of the Egyptian President and expected another invitation for a meeting in Cairo. He said that he was also invited by King Hussein of Morocco. Dr. Goldmann told newsmen here that he regarded Nasser’s death as a blow to peace prospects in the Middle East. He said Nasser was the only Arab leader of sufficient stature to engage in negotiations with Israel and retain the support of the Arab masses.

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