TEL AVIV (Mar. 13)
West Bank Arab leaders who met with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat in Amman, Jordan, last week despite an official ban on contacts with the PLO, have been reprimanded by the head of the Israeli civil administration in the territory. But no further action will be taken against them, according to Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, coordinator of activities for the West Bank and Gaza. Jewish settlers on the West Bank have demanded that the Arabs be put on trial for violating Israeli law and that any Israeli officials who condoned their trip to Jordan should also face legal penalties.
RETURNED ‘FRUSTRATED AND DESPAIRING’
Ben-Eliezer said on an Israel Radio interview that the group returned from Amman “frustrated and despairing.” They had gone there to present their views to King Hussein who was meeting with Arafat to try to work out a joint Jordan-PLO approach to peace talks with Israel.
According to Ben-Eliezer, members of the group told him they found Arafat “broken down and worn out with nothing to propose” and that Hussein had given them no hope.
Ben-Eliezer said he hoped the visit had convincec the West Bank Arabs that their only negotiating partners were Israelis with whom they would have to live for a long time. “If they realized that, then their visit was worthwhile,” he said.