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State Department Says Mideast Peace Settlement Has to Include Palestinian Interests

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The United States believes that “the Palestinians will have to be partners in the (Middle East) peace and their legitimate interests and aspirations will have to be considered in any…peace settlement,” a State Department spokesman said today. The spokesman, John King, made the comment in a prepared statement he read at today’s State Department press briefing when he was asked whether the Palestinians would be part of Middle East peace negotiations. Mr. King said the U.S. had “no preconceived ideas about what form Palestinian participation might take.” but he noted “that more and more Palestinians seem to be talking about some entity.” He added that the U.S. believes “most Palestinians want a political solution despite the fact that the militant fedayeen refuse to accept the idea of peaceful co-existence with Israel.” Mr. King said that the U.S. dealt with established Arab governments in the Mideast and “they and Israel, through negotiations, will have to determine what might emerge in any peaceful political settlement. His remarks coincided with views expressed by Nixon administration officials at a private briefing for editors in Hartford. Conn, earlier this week. A transcript of the briefing, released here yesterday, indicated a change in U.S. thinking on the Palestinian problem. According to the officials, the U.S. believes that the solutions offered by various United Nations resolutions in the past–repatriation to their former homeland in Israel or resettlement in Arab countries–are no longer realistic. Instead, the administration envisions a separate Palestinian state, although it has taken no official stand on this and does not presume to define its geographical limits.

One possibility mentioned in the Hartford transcript was a Palestinian state incorporating the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, both areas occupied by Israel in the June, 1967 Arab-Israeli war. According to the U.S. view, the Palestinians have become too strong a political factor since 1967 to envision a settlement that gives them less than a political entity of their own. According to the transcript, the administration believes most Palestinians want some sort of political settlement with Israel even though their leaders insist that the destruction of Israel is their goal. In another area, the U.S. promised this week that it would do all that it could to improve the prospects for Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel or anywhere else. The pledge was contained in a statement by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to more than 800 Jewish students gathered at the State Department after a two day demonstration here protesting the treatment of Jews in Russia. The statement was read to the gathering by Richard Davies, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs. Mr. Rogers said, “We have expressed sympathy and support on many occasions for persons in the Soviet Union who wish to emigrate, often to rejoin their families elsewhere, but who are denied permission to do so. We shall continue to make these views known and to take every practical measure which could help to overcome the hardships suffered by such persons.”

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