NEW YORK (Aug. 19)
Andrew Young, who resigned last week as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations as a result of unauthorized meeting with a Palestine Liberation Organization representative, said today that the U.S. policy of not talking to the PLO was “ridiculous.”
Appearing on CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation,” Young said a resolution calling for Palestinian “self-determination” which will be considered by the Security Council this Thursday is necessary because it is in the interest of the U.S. and Israel that “authentic leadership emerge” among the Palestinian people.
But, Israeli Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin, who appeared immediately afterwards today on ABC-TV’s “issues and Answers,” said the U.S. commitment not to deal with the PLO is an essential part of the ongoing peace process in the Middle East and any new resolution in the Security Council on Palestinians would “reverse” the meaning of the Camp David agreements.
DOES NOT SUPPORT PALESTINIAN STATE
Young stressed that he was not supporting a Palestinian state. “I am for not determining what happens.” on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, he explained. He said the right of self-determination means that the Palestinians in those areas should be able to decide their own future free of the PLO and Israel.
But he said the policy of not talking to the PLO “is kind of ridiculous.”He said “it may have made sense” in 1975 when the Egyptian army was surrounded by Israeli forces and the U.S. was seeking a means of ending the conflict. (The commitment was made in 1975 as part of the second Sinai agreement two years after the Egyptian army had been released.) Young said it does not make sense now, four or five years later, not to talk to an “organization that seems to have the support of a good part of the Arab world.”
“How many lives is this policy worth?” Young asked. He said he supported the resolution on Palestinian rights pending before the UN Security Council which he noted no longer calls for a Palestinian state, because it could provide a means where by the PLO will recognize Israel’s right to exist and end its terrorism. He also noted the need to prevent economic upheavals caused by Arab oil policy which would effect the “constituency I represent,” most American Blacks.
TERMS RESOLUTION A SMOKESCREEN
Yadin, however, pointed out that the U.S. commitment not to deal with the PLO was made not only in the 1975 agreement by the Ford Administration but also by the Carter Administration following the Camp David/agreement. He said the U.S. knew if there were no such agreement Israel would not have continued with the process that led to the peace treaty with Egypt.
He said the new resolution was “a smokescreen” since if the Arab countries wanted to support Palestinian rights they could just endorse the Camp David agreements which call for rights for Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Young stressed that Blacks and all Americans support the “survival and integrity of Israel.” But he said this has come in conflict with what some see as the policy of “expansionism” by Israel, with the “Israeli army half way up Lebanon” and its continuing control on the West Bank. In addition there was the present “stubborn, intransigent government in Israel.”
Yadin said he was sorry that Young would label the government of Premier Menachem Begin as “intransigent.”He said that the Begin government, after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem in 1977, agreed to give up the Sinai and while leaving the sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza Strip open, offered “self-rule” to its inhabitants. He said no other Israeli government had gone so far.
CLAIMS STATE DEPARTMENT KNEW OF MEETING
On the CBS program, Young maintained that the State Department knew by July 30 of his meeting with Zehadi Labib Terzi, the PLO observer at the UN, even though the Department has said it did not know until Aug. 11. He said he acted in the best interest of the U.S. and the State Department because he felt it would be disastrous to veto the Security Council resolution and was told by Kuwait and Syria that a postponement could only be reached with the PLO’s approval.
Young said that after he told Israel Ambassador Yehuda Blum, who he said he still considers a friend, of the meeting, the Israeli complaint was “restrained.” But he noted he urged the Israelis not to make a public issue of it because he knew the reaction in the Black community would result in more support for the Palestinians.
“I think the Israelis really did not understand the possible domestic implications in the United States,” Young said, although he added he believed both Blum and Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan understand U.S. conditions.
Young said that although Jews should not be blamed for his leaving the UN, he believes that meetings between Jewish and Black leaders are important. He noted both groups, as part of the coalition that make up the Democratic Party should discuss the differences. He noted that while Blacks support Israel they see the Palestinians as an “oppressed people.” (See related stories.)
SAYS ISRAEL PROTESTED WOLF’S MEETINGS
Yadin said Israel would have protested the meeting with the PLO if the U.S. Ambassador’s name had been “Jacob Goldstein,” adding that Israel has complained to the U.S. of the three meetings by Milton Wolf, the U.S. Ambassador to Austria, who is Jewish, with PLO officials. He stressed that Israel never asked for Young’s dismissal.
Yadin noted that from what he has heard Black leaders say over the last few days, the issues they wanted to discuss with Jews in the U.S. did not concern the Mideast but such problems as education. He said this sounded the same as the problems in Israel with the “handicapped” members of its society. He said Israel and American Blacks could learn from each other on how to deal with these problems.