WASHINGTON (Aug. 12)
President Carter has ended his recent silence regarding his Administration’s attitude toward the Palestine Liberation Organization and on independent Palestinian state and has affirmed that he is opposed to a Palestinian state and pledged that the United States will adhere to its position of not dealing with the PLO until that organization recognizes the right of Israel to exist and accepts United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. The President made this clear in an interview with editors on Friday. The text of the interview was released yesterday.
(Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said today he does not believe the Carter Administration is tilting toward the Arabs. See separate story.)
In recent weeks Israel has expressed concern that the Carter Administration was shifting its attitude toward the PLO and an independent Palestinian state. Although top administration officials, including Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, have denied any change in American policy, Carter himself remained silent. The feeling among Israelis that the U.S. was, despite public denials, shifting its Mideast policy thinking, was expressed in its sharpest form by Israeli Foreign Minister. Moshe Dayan-last. week when he charged that the American stance toward Israel and the Mideast was “not just an erosion, but a fundamental change in policy.”
Carter, in response to questions from editors about his views on the Palestinians, declared, “I will not deal with the PLO unless they do two things: accept the right of Israel to exist, which they have not yet been willing to acknowledge, and accept the fact that United Nations Resolution 242 is a document binding on them. They have got to accept 242 and accept the right of Israel to exist. This is a commitment we have made. We have never deviated from it. We are not going to deviate from it.”
OPPOSED TO PALESTINIAN STATE
On the issue of a Palestinian state, the President affirmed: “I am against any creation of a separate Palestinian state. I don’t think it would be good for the Palestinians. I don’t think it would be good for Israel. I don’t think it would be good for the Arab neighbors of such a state. He added that “we must address and resolve the Palestinian question in all its aspects” and that Palestinians “should have a right to a voice in the determination of their own future.”
There had been concern in Israel that the U.S. was seeking to change Resolution 242 as a way to woo the PLO the peace negotiating table. However, last week Sen. Richard Stone (D. Fla), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Middle East, said that Vance had assured him that the U.S. would veto a Kuwaiti-sponsored resolution on Palestinian rights pending before the Security Council because it would alter 242 by calling for granting Palestinian self-determination and for the right to an independent state.
Meanwhile, the State Department has said that it had no information regarding a reported visit to the U.S. next month by PLO chief Yasir Arafat. A newspaper in Kuwait, AI Qabas reported yesterday that according to “authoritative Palestinian sources” Arafat would come to the UN General Assembly when it convenes and also meet with Vance. A State Department spokesman said that no U.S. official would meet with Arafat unless the PLO accepts Resolution 242 and Israel’s right to exist.