Rabin Rejects Sharon’s Proposal That Israel Negotiate with Palestinians to Depose Hussein

A proposal by a Likud leader that Israel negotiate with the Palestinians to depose King Hussein of Jordan was dismissed by Premier Yitzhak Rabin as “too absurd to merit consideration.” Rabin said, however, that he may have misunderstood the intent of remarks attributed to Gen. (Ret.) Ariel Sharon in a Maariv interview.

Sharon, a Yom Kippur War hero and founder of Likud was quoted as saying that the only alien presence in the area is the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan–not the Jews whose homeland this is. nor the Palestinian Arabs, some of whom have lived here for centuries. According to Maariv, Sharon said that if Israel was willing to talk to the barbarous Syrians, it should not rule out talks with the Palestinians and their leaders provided the latter agreed that everything west of the Jordan River is and must remain part of Israel. Anyone willing to negotiate with Israel on those terms should be considered a possible negotiating partner. Sharon said.

Asked to comment on the published report. Rabin told a group of editors in Tel Aviv Friday that if Sharon meant that Israel should help Yasir Arafat overthrow Hussein and set up his own regime in Jordan, the suggestion was outlandish nonsense. But if Sharon was saying only that the Palestinian problem ought to be solved within the context of a single Palestine-Jordan entity, he was expressing what has long been the firm policy of the Israeli government, Rabin said. The Premier recalled that King Hussein had ousted terrorist forces from Jordanian territory in 1970. An Arafat regime in Amman would simply mean another Soviet-armed state on Israel’s eastern frontier and that was not in Israel’s interest. Rabin said.

Sharon warned in his interview that another Middle East war seemed inevitable and could be avoided only if Israel is prepared to fight. He advocated a national unity government embracing Likud. Rabin said he was prepared to set up a coalition inclusive of Likud provided that the opposition party pledged to support the government’s basic policies. But as far as he knows, Likud is not now prepared to accept those policies, Rabin said.

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