JERUSALEM (Mar. 25)
Two prominent Palestinians, mentioned as possible members of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to negotiate peace with Israel, made it clear today that were they to be asked to join such a delegation they would need the prior blessings of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
But Mayor Elias Freij of Bethlehem and former Mayor Rashad A-Shawa of Gaza said that so far nobody has approached them to join any delegation. Friej, a leading moderate who has long urged peaceful coexistence between israelis and Palestinian Arabs, said that any Palestinian invited to participate in peace talks would have to receive the public approval of the PLO’s executive committee before he accepted.
Shawa told visiting members of the Citizens Rights Movement (CRM) that he would be willing to participate in a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to negotiate with Israel. But he doubted the Israelis would allow him to. He added that even if he was part of a general delegation, he was sure it would not act against the dictates of the PLO.
Shawa was asked by the CRM people if Jordan and the PLO could go any further to advance the peace process. He called on the PLO to conditionally recognize Israel. He said PLO chief Yasir Arafat could make recognition of Israel conditional on Israel recognizing the Palestinians’ right to exist. “I would urge this,” Shawa said.
Israel’s official position, repeated by Premier Shimon Peres at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, is that it opposes prior talks between a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation and the Reagan Administration, as proposed by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.