NEW YORK (Sep. 26)
Israel’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier Yitzhak Shamir accused the Palestine Liberation Organization today of responsibility for the murder of three Israelis aboard a yacht in Larnaca, Cyprus yesterday. “Yom Kippur was disturbed by a cold-blooded and savage murder by the killers of the PLO,” Shamir told a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations here.
The Israeli minister said the PLO perpetrated and stood behind all recent acts of terror in Israel. “These acts of terror were done by the PLO and its leader (Yasir) Arafat,” he said. Shamir added, “We will find a way to put an end to it. We will overcome it. We will overcome them.”
Shamir charged that the PLO has not changed its nature, though, he noted, attempts have been made recently, even in Western countries, to prove the contrary. “The PLO is a terrorist movement. Their acts are a combination of murder, crimes and lies. They perpetrate crimes of terrorism and then they deny it,” Shamir said.
CITES ISRAEL’S ECONOMIC ACHIEVEMENTS
Turning to another subject, Shamir pointed out that this is the first anniversary of Israel’s Labor-Likud unity government which, he said, has recorded considerable achievements in the economic field and the Lebanon problem. Shamir, leader of Likud, is scheduled, under the terms of the unity coalition agreement, to replace Laborite Shimon Peres as Premier in October, 1986.
He said that while Israel’s economy has still not recovered, there is a feeling in the government that the direction taken is positive. “We feel we are making progress,” he said. As for Lebanon, he said the situation is much better than last year when Israeli forces still occupied part of that country and noted that the PLO is no longer on Israel’s northern border. There is a feeling of security for the inhabitants of Galilee, he observed.
Shamir said that despite differences in the national unity government, there is agreement on a number of principles. These are, he said, no negotiations with the PLO; no Palestinian state; commitment to the Camp David accords; readiness to negotiate with Jordan without preconditions; and rejection of negotiations with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. In addition, he said, the government is united in its opposition to an international conference to solve the Middle East conflict.
REFERS TO CRITICISM OF SOME U.S. JEWISH LEADERS
Shamir referred to his recent remarks to a Jerusalem Post reporter (David Landau, who is also Jerusalem Bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency) about contacts some American Jewish leaders had made in Arab countries. He said he appreciates the efforts of Jews on behalf of Israel’s well-being.
But he stressed that it has been the position of all leaders of Israel over the years “that there are most delicate and most important issues that only elected officials of Israel can deal with. These are relations with our neighbors and matters relating to Israel’s security.”
Shamir said these issues are a matter of “life and death for the Jewish State” and that the Israelis themselves have to negotiate them and not “people living abroad.” He said the Arabs try to separate and drive a wedge between Jews around the world and in Israel and the Israelis and Jews abroad should not play into their hands.
“I have nothing personal against those mentioned in the article. It is a matter of principle, something which is related to our future,” he said.
Shamir was referring to his remarks reported in the Jerusalem Post and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency a week ago, angrily attacking a group of American Jewish Congress leaders who visited Cairo and Amman, and Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, who visited Moscow to discuss the plight of Soviet Jews with Soviet officials.
SAYS U.S.-ISRAELI RELATIONS ARE ‘EXCELLENT’
Turning to Israel’s relations with the international community, Shamir described U.S.-Israel relations as “excellent, better than ever before.” He said Israel is looking for improved relations with Japan, following his recent visit there, and he hoped the improvement would have a positive impact on Israel’s economy.
He also expressed hope that Spain will soon open diplomatic relations with Israel. He called the U.S. to use its influence with Spain to that end.
Shamir, who met here this week with Egyptian Foreight Minister Abdel Ismat Meguid, said Egypt is willing to seek new avenues, other than conciliation or arbitration, to solve its border dispute with Israel over Taba. But, Shamir said, the Egyptian minister would not promise that after the Taba dispute is resolved, Egypt will return its Ambassador to Israel.
The Egyptians, said Shamir, want progress on the Palestinian question before they return their Ambassador. He declared, however, that Israel cannot accept the Egyptian approach that brings up one new issue after another as a condition for a general improvement in relations between the two countries.
He said he offered the Egyptian Foreign Minister to establish two commissions, one on the ministerial level and one on the high officials level, to seek progress on the Palestinian question.
HISTORIC MEETING WITH HUNGARY’S FOREIGN MINISTER
Meanwhile, Shamir at the United Nations today had what his spokesman and aide described as an historic meeting with the Foreign Minister of Hungary, Peter Varkonyi. It was the first meeting ever between an Israeli and Hungarian foreign minister.
Shamir’s aide said the half-hour meeting was held in a “friendly atmosphere.” He said the Hungarian minister said his country was willing to expand commerical, cultural and sports contacts with Israel and expressed a willingness for the two countries to exchange visitors in unofficial capacity.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister emphasized, however, that his country is part of the Eastern bloc. He made that point two or three times, Shamir’s aide said. The aide noted that “the importance of the meeting was in the fact it took place.”
Shamir also met today with Belgium’s Foreign Minister Leo Tindemans, Foreign Minister Joe Clark of Canada and the Foreign Minister of Finland, Paavo Vayrynen. He discussed bilateral questions with all three, his aide said.