Jerusalem (Oct. 14)
Israel has once again categorically rejected the eight-point peace plan for the Middle East proposed by Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia last August. Premier Menachem Begin’s press spokesman, Uri Porat, said today that the peace plan was in fact, a formula for continuing the state of war and that the only acceptable framework for Mideast peace negotiations was the Camp David accords.
Porat’s statement was in response to expressions of support for the Saudi plan by British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, current chairman of the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community (EEC), and Habib Chatti, Secretary General of the 42-nation Islamic Conference. Both saw the plan as a feasible basis for negotiations and, according to Chatti, Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat is prepared to negotiate on the basis of the Fahd plan. Arafat himself reportedly endorsed it in Tokyo.
Carrington said yesterday that the EEC saw the plan as a basis for peace, in line with the European foreign ministers’ Venice declaration of June, 1980. Porat noted today that President Francois Mitterrand of France no longer accepts the Venice declaration and therefore it is not certain how broad European support for the Fahd plan is.
Arafat’s reported support for the plan has raised the question in diplomatic circles as to whether this signaled a shift in the PLO position inasmuch as the Saudi proposals imply recognition of Israel. But sources here said today that this was just a tactical move intended to make the PLO position more palatable to the West. They contended that the PLO has not abandoned its aim to destroy Israel.
Israel, meanwhile, expressed official regret over Arafat’s visit to Japan, his first to a major non-Communist ally of the United States. The Japanese charge d’affaires, Yoshikazu Kaneko, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry today and told that Israel regarded Arafat’s reception in Japan as especially serious coming shortly after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and PLO jubilation over the murder.
The Japanese diplomat said his country had no intention of recognizing the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people or extending it diplomatic recognition. He said he would relay Israel’s position to his government.