Menu JTA Search

Stevenson Says Despite New PLO Status. Arab Moderates Predominate

Sen. Adlai Stevenson (D.III.) said in Chicago last night that “despite the new status conferred upon the Palestine Liberation Organization at the Arab summit meeting in Rabat, Arab moderates still have the upper hand” and, if peace efforts are supported by the American people, peace will come to the Middle East because “the elements of a statement are there to be put together by wise, persevering and moderate men.”

Stevenson spoke at an Israel Bond dinner honoring him as “Man of the Year.” A transcript of his prepared remarks was made available to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today. He expressed “some hope that the PLO may now be subjected to new restraints and moderating influences” now that it has status to lose “by irresponsible demands and violent tactics.” He asserted that “the Soviets appear to be exercising a chastening influence–and we should bear in mind that Arab moderates are by no means enthusiastic about the prospect of a Palestinian state ruled by Yasir Arafat.”

While apparently leaning towards establishment of a Palestinian state as a neighbor of Israel, Stevenson said that the U.S. should not “accept the PLO as spokesman or agent for the Palestinians” or “pressure Israel to do so, for until the PLO renounces terrorism and acknowledges Israel’s right to exist. Israel has nothing to negotiate with the PLO.” He added, however, that “history–even recent history–has taught us that today’s impossibilities can become tomorrow’s possibilities.”

URGES RABIN’S POLICY BE SUPPORTED

Stevenson stressed that “this is a time to sustain and support” Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s leadership. He is guided not by dreams of conquest or revenge, but by a clearer perception of reality. A pre-emptive strike by Israel, he knows, would be followed by an oil embargo against all the major oil consuming nations. Such a strike, however much disguised, would forfeit U.S. support for Israel and cause world depression.”

The Senator added that Rabin “is wisely speaking of flexibility, of talks rather than war, of the political process rather than a pre-emptive strike. He needs and deserves our support against those immoderates, who like Samson, would bring down the Temple upon our heads.”

NEXT STORY