WASHINGTON (Dec. 11)
King Hussein of Jordan reiterated today that his conditions for negotiations with Israel continue to be “Palestinian participation and support,” approval of other Arab states and the prospect that the talks “will get somewhere.”
Hussein, who was asked on ABC-TV’s “This Week with David Brinkley” about the Israeli Cabinet declaration today that it is time for him to join the peace talks, made clear he also needs the approval of the Palestine Liberation Organization led by Yasir Arafat.
“We will continue to do business with the PLO which represents the people of Palestine, their hopes and aspirations,” he said. Asked which PLO, he replied “The PLO that is recognized over the years.” He ruled out the Syrian-backed group that has been fighting Arafat’s loyalists in Tripoli. “Any organization that is subservient to the will or policies of any Arab state or any force in this world is not anyone that we would recognize,” he added.
Asked whether Arafat’s removal as head of the PLO would help the peace process, the King replied, “No I do not believe it would.” Hussein warned that if the Israelis try to prevent Arafat and 4,000 of his terrorists from leaving Tripoli aboard Greek ships it would be a “terrible disaster and a very tragic crime.”
BLUM RAPS UN AID FOR ARAFAT
Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, appearing on CBS-TV’s” Face the Nation,” would not say whether Israel would try to prevent Arafat’s departure to North Africa. Blum would only restate Israel’s opposition to the use of a UN flag on the ships transporting the PLO. “It is preposterous and inconceivable that the United Nations should be placed at the disposal of a terrorist organization,” he said.
He said it could not be considered a humanitarian act since it was “preposterous to associate Arafat with humanitarianism. After all it was Arafat who last Tuesday took responsibility for bombing the civilian bus in Jerusalem.” UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar said last week that the authorization of the use of the UN flag to provide safe conduct for Arafat and his men “was on purely humanitarian grounds.”
HUSSEIN SAYS ISRAEL IMPEDES PEACE
Hussein, who was interviewed from Amman, said the conditions in the Mideast are very dangerous with the threat of a superpower confrontation. While declaring that Jordan has always been “committed to the cause of establishing a just and durable peace,” he said he saw no signs of Israeli moves towards peace.
“So far, I haven’t seen any Israeli action that would indicate that Israel is willing to change its policies and approach,” he said. He charged that instead Israel is committed to establishing “facts and obstacles” through its settlement policy on the West Bank.
Hussein maintained that UN Security Council Resolution 242 is a basis for a Mideast peace which he said would be a full peace in exchange for full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. But while calling the Israeli settlements “illegal,” he would not say whether a peace agreement would require their removal. He only said the settlements would be a major issue in the negotiations.
The Jordanian monarch said the close alliance between Israel and the U.S. announced during Israeli Premier Yitzhak Shamir’s visit to Washington, was “disturbing us enormously.” He said the U.S. has a role to play in the Mideast peace negotiations as a superpower but it cannot do so as an “ally of Israel.”
Hussein’s position was taken by Osama EI-Baz, senior advisor to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who was interviewed from Cairo on the CBS program. He said there was “deep concern, disappointment and surprise” in the Arab world over the agreement. He said it put into question the U.S. position as an “honest broker.”
But Deputy Secretary of State Kenneth Dam, who was also on the CBS program, said, “I don’t think any Arab state was ever in any doubt about our relations with Israel.” He said that while there was “public distress” by the Arabs, they knew that U.S. policy was also to have good relations with the moderate Arab states.
CITES U.S. POLICY IN THE MIDEAST
Rep. Dante Fascell (D. Fla.), who was interviewed on the ABC program, said the “agreement doesn’t add anything new” except that “if there is any doubt what the relationship is, this makes it clear.”
Fascell, a strong supporter of Israel, is expected to be named to replace Rep. Clement Zablocki (D. Wis.) who died last week, as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He stressed that the basis of U.S. policy in the Mideast is “the survival of Israel and peace in the Middle East and we intend to pursue it.”
Blum maintained that the U.S. has “leverage” in the Mideast because of its close ties with Israel. He said this is the reason the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat went to Israel in the first place in 1977. He said the Israeli-U.S. agreement is “not directed against anyone.”