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Rabin: Talks with PLO Possible if Group Renounces Its Stated Goal of the Destruction of Israel

Premier Yitzhak Rabin indicated in an interview published here today, in reply to a hypothetical question, that the only possible development that could lead Israel to reconsider its present policy of having no dealings whatsoever with the Palestine Liberation Organization, would be for the PLO to renounce its stated goal of the destruction of Israel.

The Premier also said in the interview, appearing in the weekly “Nouvel Observateur,” that Israel would ask for a reconvening of the Geneva conference provided that the UN Security Council reaffirms the text and practical meaning of its Resolutions 242 and 338 without alteration as the framework of the Geneva conference. He said Israel favored a return to Geneva because of the stalemate in further negotiations of an interim settlement with Syria on the Golan Heights.

Rabin did not give a specific date when Israel would ask for a resumption of the Geneva talks but hinted it would be in the near future. The Security Council opens its Mideast debate Jan 12. The Israeli leader stressed that Israel would go to Geneva only if the conference is limited to the original participants–those who attended when it convened briefly in December 1973. He thus ruled out participation by the PLO. Another condition, he said, was that the U.S. acts to block in the Security Council any Arab attempt to cancel or void any element of Resolutions 242 and 338.

He said that if the Geneva parley reopened, Israel expected all the participants “will make proposals they think fit.” As for Israel, he said, it will ask the conference to begin by having each participant define its own concept of peace and what each means when it calls for “peace in the region.”

DEEDS, NOT MERE WORDS

With regard to the PLO, Rabin stated in reply to a “hypothetical” question that his country would reconsider its position of non-recognition of the PLO only if the latter recognizes Israel’s right to exist. He emphasized that Israel would demand “something more than mere words–words backed by deeds.”

One such deed, he said, would have to be the PLO’s complete renunciation of its “Palestinian Covenant” which calls for the replacement of the State of Israel by a “secular, democratic” state of Arabs and Jews. “Afterwards, we shall draw the consequences and make the necessary decisions,” he said.

Rabin also said that regardless of what happens at the Security Council debate, Israel would continue to honor the disengagement agreement it reached with Egypt last September. He said that Israel now favored reconvening the Geneva conference because “under current circumstances, with Syria’s refusal to hold any negotiations over the Golan question, there is nothing else to do but to start again the Geneva conference and examine the entire issue.”

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