JERUSALEM (Apr. 16)
Premier Shimon Peres and Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir had a joint meeting here yesterday with the Reagan Adminstration’s top Middle East aide, Richard Murphy, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.
But Murphy, who arrived from Amman where he met with King Hussein of Jordan over the weekend, and the two Israeli leaders, issued no statement following their meeting. Murphy apparently did not bring with him, or did not show his Israeli hosts, a list of seven prominent Palestinians who have been proposed as members of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation in future negotiations with the U.S. and Israel.
Israel has no objections to a joint delegation, provided that the Palestinians on it are not members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. But Israel balks at the idea, proposed by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, that the joint delegation talk first to Reagan Administration officials, in Washington or Cairo, and sit down only later with the Israelis. Israel insists that it must be included from the outset in any negotiations.
West Bank sources said today that Murphy presented a list of potential Palestinian negotiators to Jordanian and PLO officials in Amman and that the list was under study at a meeting of the PLO executive committee now taking place in Baghdad. The names correspond to those mentioned on Kuwait television over the weekend.
LIST OF POTENTIAL PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATORS
They are: Mayor Elias Freij, of Bethlehem, a leading Palestinian moderate who has long preached peaceful co-existence between Israel and the Palestinians; the deposed former Mayor of Gaza, Rashad A-Shawa; three Palestinian academicians currently living in the U.S. where they teach at prestigious universities — Profs Edward Said, Hisham Sharabi and Walid Khaldi, Hikmat El-Masri of Nablus, a former Deputy Speaker of the Jordanian Parliament; and Nabil Shath, who presently lives in Egypt.
Shath is the most problematic of the proposed negotiators inasmuch as he is an advisor to PLO chief Yasir Arafat and a member of the Palestinian National Council which is dominated by the PLO.
El-Masri also may be unacceptable to Israel. He said on Israel television yesterday that he would not join a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation without the prior approval of the PLO. He added that if he did join, he would consider himself a representative of the PLO. Similar statements were made off the record by several of the other Palestinians on the list.
It was not clear today whether Murphy would have any political talks with Palestinian leaders while he is in the region. The U.S. Consul General in East Jerusalem, Wat Cluverius, invited about 30 prominent Palestinians to a reception tonight in honor of Murphy. They are said to represent different political outlooks. But the event appeared to be more a social than a political occasion.
The American diplomat, the highest ranking Reagan Administration official to visit the Middle East in recent months, is expected to make assessments that will help the Administration decide whether to resume an active diplomatic role in the region, as it is being urged to do, notably by Mubarak.