UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 3)
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Chaim Herzog emphatically denied to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today, that his statement yesterday at the General Assembly implied a change in Israel’s policy towards the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). “My statement did not imply in any way any change in policy on the part of Israel toward the PLO.” Herzeg said. He repeated the words “not at all” and “no way” to emphasize that there was no Israeli shift regarding the PLO.
In Jerusalem, the Foreign Ministry insisted today that there was no change in Israel’s position not to have any dealings whatsoever with the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Ministry reiterated the official policy line of the government and the Knesset in face of speculation here and at the UN that a modification of Israel’s attitude toward negotiations with the Palestinians was hinted in Herzog’s speech.
Herzog’s speech at the General Assembly yesterday was both tough and conciliatory. While offering unconditional negotiations, he declared; “We will not be a party to any attempt to dictate to us.” He suggested that it would be “wiser” and “logical” for the Assembly to ask the PLO if it accepts the Security Council resolutions as the basis for negotiations and if it was prepared to renounce its declared policy of calling for the destruction of a UN member state. He also stated that Israel was prepared to negotiate “at any moment without any preconditions whatsoever” with its. Arab neighbors.
The government’s prompt move to quash any interpretation that this might include negotiations with Palestinians who recognized Israel and renounced terrorism was seen by observers here as the opening shot in an emerging struggle within Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s Cabinet over basic policy toward the Palestinians. The Foreign Ministry’s reaction was reportedly ordered by Rabin himself who is acting Foreign Minister while Yigal Allon is in London.
Herzog told the JTA that his speech yesterday made it clear “that the negotiating process in the Mideast falls within the broad framework of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.” He explained that he also took up the question of “how governments who recognize Israel’s sovereign rights can reconcile this fact with the recognition of an organization which denies these sovereign rights.”
He added: “I posed this question to countries who urge Israel to negotiate with the PLO, with the purpose of pointing out that their policy is irreconcilable with their support of Israel’s rights….I suggested to these countries to ask the PLO if their statements against Israel reflect their policy, before they (the countries) criticize Israel,”
The result, Herzog said, “was that the PLO did not want these countries to ask questions but announced formally (in the General Assembly last night) that Resolution 242 is outdated.”
The Israeli envoy was referring to an address by Basel Amin Aqi, head of the PLO delegation to the current Assembly session, in which he said that the ultimate aim of the Palestinian movement “lies in a non-sectarian Palestine without ethnic or religious discrimination.” This was seen to imply an elimination of the State of Israel.