UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 19)
Secretary General Kurt Waldheim condemned this morning’s terrorist attack on Beisan and deplored “the loss of innocent lives which it has caused.” A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, however, hailed the latest terrorist assault against Israeli civilians as the “kind of negotiations (with Israel) we accept.”
Waldheim’s statement, issued through a UN spokesman today, said: “The Secretary General deplores this new act of violence and the loss of innocent lives which it has caused. Such actions are to be condemned. As he has said many times before, they heighten tension and hamper the efforts now being made to find a just and peaceful settlement of the very complex and deep-rooted problems of the Middle East.”
(In Washington, the State Department said: “Once again we have witnessed the tragic spectacle of a terrorist attack on innocent civilians. We want to express our shock over these senseless murders.”)
Shafik Al-Hout, who has been the PLO’s chief spokesman at the-UN since PLO chief Yasir Arafat’s appearance before the General Assembly last Wednesday, said the Palestinians could negotiate with Israel on equal terms only when they held hostages. He said that Israel has stated that it would meet the Palestinians only on the battlefield. “So we meet them on the battlefield.” he said, referring to this morning’s murder of four civilians in Beisan.
In a statement issued here earlier, Waldheim appealed to all parties concerned “to avoid any action which may lead to new hostilities, and to exercise the restraint through which alone we may reach the goal all desire, a just peace in the Middle East.” The statement was Waldheim’s third expression of concern over events in the Middle East in four days. He urged all governments involved to redouble their efforts to make progress toward a settlement through negotiations. (By Yitzhak Rabi)