London (Dec. 21)
A study of the international status won recently by the Palestine Liberation Organization concludes that the PLO’s claims of success are exaggerated and that “the substance of its relations with individual states is far more complicated than the PLO indicates.”
The study by the Institute of Jewish Affairs, (IJA), research arm of the World Jewish Congress, concedes that the PLO’s campaign for worldwide diplomatic recognition has had some success “in spite of its unchanged national covenant and the continued militant statements of its leaders.”
However, the PLO’s successes in the Soviet Union, Greece and Japan are far less substantial when analyzed in the context of these states foreign policies, the IJA says.
Commenting on the Soviet Union’s recent announcement that it was giving the PLO’s Moscow office full diplomatic status, the Institute writes:
“Direct negotiations with Brezhnev for a man like PLO Chief Yasir Arafat, who does not represent a state and who was therefore received only by the unofficial Soviet committee of solidarity with Asian and African countries … certainly represents an upgrading. Turning an office into a diplomatic mission is an impressive change, but in terms of substance this move has meant little: it has involved no change in Soviet or PLO policy.”
The study also noted that “it is not in the USSR’s interest to make the PLO too independent since it sees the PLO as a means of influencing Arab states and their leaders. The PLO also walks such a tightrope that it can easily offend the Soviet Union. The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, for example, created great difficulties for the PLO with its strong Moslem leanings. Fatah, the largest of the PLO’s constituent groups, is predominantly Moslem.”