WASHINGTON (Dec. 16)
The Middle East Studies Group of the Brookings Institution has recommended “a comprehensive settlement” of the Arab-Israeli conflict based upon “a negotiated and agreed trade-off between the Israeli requirements for peace and security and the Arab requirements for evacuation of the territories occupied in 1967 and Palestinian self-determination.”
The 23-page report released by the 16-member study group called for a general peace conference “or more informal multi-lateral meetings” to be convened soon with “participation of credible Palestinian representatives” but not necessarily the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The recommendations did not include a specific solution for the issue of Jerusalem but recommended as options for Palestinian self determination an independent state or a Palestinian entity federated with Jordan, The report stated, “Moreover, a peace settlement should include provisions for the resettlement of those Palestinian refugees desiring to return to what ever new Palestinian entity is created, for reasonable compensation for property losses for Arab refugees from Israel and for Jews formerly resident in Arab states.”
VIEWS REPRESENT COMPROMISE
In a foreword to the report, Kermit Gordon, president of the Brookings Institution, noted that “the conclusions and recommendations.” represent a compromise among the views of the group’s members. The Middle East Studies Group is chaired by Robert Heyns of the American Council of Education and its co-directors are Charles W. Yost, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Morroe Berger, of Princeton University. Other members include Rita Hauser, Fred Khouri, Philip M. Klutznick and Nadav Safran,
The Brookings Institution is a private organization devoted to research, education and publications in economics, government and foreign policy. Its reports are given considerable weight by governmental leaders. A spokesman for the Institution told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that 150 copies of the Middle East Study Group’s report have been distributed, mainly to the news media and a few to the U.S. government. The spokesman indicated that none has gone to an Arab government.
The recommendations call for a start soon to the process of negotiating an “integrated package” that should “at least” contain elements for a phased withdrawal by Israel in “agreed stages” to its June 5, 1967 lines “with only such modifications as are mutually accepted.” The Arab parties would be required “not only to end such hostile actions against Israel as armed incursions, blockades, boycotts and propaganda attacks but also to give evidence of progress to ward the development of normal international and regional political and economic relations.”
The report said the stages for withdrawal and the establishment of peaceful relations should be carried out “over a period of years, each stage being undertaken only when the agreed provisions of the previous stage have been faithfully implemented.”
The report said it would be “desirable” that the United Nations Security Council endorse the peace agreements and that the U.S. “must be prepared” to offer” aid and providing guarantees” besides assisting the parties “economically and militarily.” In that connection, the report said the U.S.” should work with the USSR to the degree that Soviet willingness to play a constructive role will permit.”
PALESTINIAN SELF-DETERMINATION DISCUSSED
With respect to Palestinian self-determination the report said “This might take the form either of an independent Palestine state accepting the obligations and commitments of the peace agreements or of a Palestinian entity voluntarily federated with Jordan but exercising extensive political autonomy.” The report-observed that “Whoever represents the Palestinians must recognize the equal right of self-determination of Israel and Jordan.” With respect to the PLO, the report took cognizance of the “disagreement and uncertainty as to who can negotiate authoritatively on behalf of the Palestinians.”
It noted that “While the Arab states at the Rabat meeting in 1974 accepted the Palestine Liberation Organization as representing the Palestinians, and many other states have also done so, its claim is not unchallenged. Many Jordanians continue to believe Jordan has a better right to this representation. It is not clear to what extent the PLO can negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians on the West Bank, in Gaza or in Jordan, to whom its does not have ready access.
“The PLO has not recognized Israel’s right to exist. Israel has not recognized the PLO or agreed to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state. Nevertheless, it can certainly be said that a solution to the Palestinian dimension of the conflict will require the participation of credible Palestinian representatives who are prepared to accept the existence of Israel.”
With respect to the future status of Jerusalem, the report recommended that “minimum criteria” include “unimpeded access to all holy places,” no barriers dividing the city and “each national group within the city should, if it so desires, have substantial political autonomy within the area where it predominates.”