Shamir: Israel Will Never Negotiate with PLO Even if It Recognizes Israel

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir said today that Israel would never negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization even if the PLO recognizes Israel’s right to exist. He told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee that there was no reason for Israel to change its policy.

Shamir’s remark was an indirect response to President Reagan’s recent comment that the U.S. would negotiate with the PLO only if it recognized Israel’s right to exist. American officials have consistently reiterated that point and made U.S. contact with the PLO also conditional on its acceptance of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which are the framework within which the Camp David agreements were reached.

Shamir also repeated his earlier contention that Jordan is the Palestinian state. “Things should be presented in this light so that the world will not regard the Palestinians as a homeless people,” he said. According to Shamir the problem of the Palestinians is not a national problem but merely the problem of 1.25 million people “living in Judaea and Samaria.” He claimed that many countries were beginning to understand this line of argument. He did not name them.

Replying to Labor MK Yossi Sarid’s urging that Israel suspend arms sales to Latin American “juntas”, Shamir said Israel was careful to avoid involvement in civil wars in that region but there was no way to refrain entirely from the arms sales.

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