BONN (Jun. 16)
Members of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and friends of Israel in all factions are sharply critical of Bonn’s role in the European Economic Community (EEC) leaders’ meeting in Venice last week which issued a declaration calling, among other things, for the Palestine Liberation Organization and other Palestinian groups to be associated with the peace process in the Middle East.
While government sources are trying to convince public opinion that German support for the Venice statement was the result of a compromise in which Bonn played a moderating role, CDU leader Franz-Joseph Straus condemned the declaration as a setback to peace efforts in the Middle East.
The Central Organization of Jews in West Germany condemned Bonn’s Middle East policy in general today and observed that Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s Social Democratic-Liberal coalition government has clearly deviated from its former principle of not dealing with the Palestine Liberation Organization, a group which resorts to murder and terrorism to achieve its political aims.
That declaration come as a surprise since the West German Jewish community has been reserved in its criticism of the government in the past, despite a clear shift in favor of the Arab cause. Two months ago, representatives of the Central Organization of West German Jews failed to attend a meeting of all other Western European Jewish communities to protest the then impending pro-Arab initiative of the EEC.
The Venice declaration was criticized by one of the participants in the EEC meeting there, Prime Minister Andries Van Agt of Holland. In a radio interview from Venice today, he said the statement adopted last Friday was devoid of practical meaning and that there was little chance that anything constructive would come out of it. Van Agt noted that while the Venice declaration called for guaranteed, secure borders for all countries in the Middle East, including Israel, it ignored the recent policy statement by El Fatah, the terrorist arm of the PLO, which reaffirmed its refusal to recognize Israel and pledged continued military efforts aimed at destroying the Jewish State.
In Paris, the Representative Council of French Jews (CRIF) issued a statement today accusing France of having induced its EEC partners to publish a declaration condemning Israeli policies without demanding that the PLO renounce its covenant which calls for Israel’s destruction.