Israel Says It Will Never Agree to Negotiate with the PLO

The Israeli government made it clear today that it will never agree to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Cabinet was united in the viewpoint that this syndicate of murderers, the so-called PLO, is not and will never be any partner to negotiations with Israel,” Cabinet Secretary Arye Naor told reporters.

Noor’s comment was made in response to questions following a six-hour Cabinet meeting today on Israel-United States relations. No details were immediately given of the Cabinet debate, but Naor said Ephraim Evron, the Israeli Ambassador in Washington, was empowered “to continue contacts with the American Administration according to the decision of the Cabinet” Naor is scheduled to have lunch with President Carter this week.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan visited Premier Menachem Begin, who is recuperating at home, for consultations. (See separate story.)

The Cabinet meeting included a number of recent developments which have caused tension between the U.S. and Israel, including the newly-proposed arms deals for Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

But the major concern is over reports that the United States wants to change United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 to include references to Palestinian rights. The Carter Administration reportedly believes that if this was done the PLO would accept the resolution, including the provision recognizing Israel’s right to exist. The Administration has said that it would agree to meet with the PLO if it accepted Resolution 242 and Israel’s right to exist.

MONDALE SEEKS TO ALLEVIATE CONCERN

In an effort to alleviate the concern of both Israelis and American Jews, Vice President Walter

Mondale said that press reports that Carter had compared the PLO to American civil rights groups were “totally misleading.” Carter had said in an interview published last Wednesday in The New York Times that the Palestinian movement was like the civil rights movement. This brought him immediate condemnation from Jewish and Black groups.

In his television comments, Mondale said Carter had discussed with reporters the provisions of the Camp David accords which included a call for negotiations on allowing some Palestinians to return to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “He (Carter) said that the right to return could have an enormously important and satisfying effect on reducing tensions in the area, even though many, in fact, did not return,” Mondale explained, adding:

“And he likened it to the civil rights stage when people were urging the elimination of discrimination, for example, to attend a certain college even though they may not have had any intention of going to the school. In other words, the right was the important fact.” Mondale reportedly made the same point in telephone calls to American Jewish leaders last week.

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