JERUSALEM (Oct. 14)
Premier Shimon Peres will make new proposals to President Reagan on how to bring Jordan and non-Palestine Liberation Organization Palestinians to the peace table with Israel, aides of the Premier told reporters here today. He will meet with Reagan in Washington later this week.
They said Peres believes the discrediting of the PLO and its discomfiture over the Achille Lauro hijack affair could be a propitious turning-point in Middle East peace efforts.
The Premier will make use of his visit to Washington to convince Administration and public opinion in the U.S. that there is a close, direct relationship between PLO leader Yasir Arafat and all of the PLO leadership with recent terrorist events in the Middle East, including the seizure of the Italian cruise ship and the murder of one of its passengers, Leon Klinghoffer, by Palestinian terrorists.
Peres has praised the U.S. interception of the four hijackers when the Egyptian airliner carrying them to freedom was forced by U.S. Navy fighter planes to land in Sicily. He called it “a landmark in the fight to eradicate terrorism” in a letter he sent to Reagan. He sent a similar letter to Secretary of State George Shultz.
REJECTS A POLICY DEBATE
At yesterday’s Cabinet session, Peres rejected Likud demands for a full-scale policy debate by the Cabinet or the Knesset before his departure for the U.S. He said the positions he would present in Washington conformed to the policy guidelines of the national unity government drawn up by the Labor Party and Likud when they formed their coalition in September, 1984.
Peres’ aides maintained that the guidelines allow the Premier to be flexible and forthcoming. He leaves tomorrow for Vienna to attend the meeting there of the Socialist International and then goes to Washington for meetings with Reagan and top Administration officials.
Peres is scheduled to address the 40th anniversary session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York October 21. Officials here said today he would cancel that appearance if an invitation was extended to PLO chief Arafat. The invitation was withdrawn today. (See separate story, P. I.)
PERES LETTER TO REAGAN
Peres’ letter to Reagan said: “We salute your courageous decision and decisive action. We congratulate you and the U.S. Navy on the flawless implementation: A major contribution to the international struggle against the double plague of cold-blooded murders and outright lies by both the perpetrators and their superiors. Your action is a landmark in the fight to eradicate terrorism and a shining example of your resolve.”
LETTER TO SHULTZ
Peres wrote to Shultz: “Dear George, I would like to express my personal admiration and a national sense of relief at your resolve in taking this action. We admire the decision as well as the flawless implementation by the U.S. Navy flyers.
“It is only through such demonstration of determination that the bloody nature of international terrorism and its cowardly lies can be exposed and eradicated. We stand reassured by the evidence that we are together in the war against terrorism.”
But if Israel-U.S. relations have become closer as a result of the capture of the Achille Lauro hijackers, an open conflict brewing between Peres and Austria’s ruling Socialist Party over Israel’s bombing of PLO bases in Tunisia two weeks ago has clouded the Socialist International meeting.
Former Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, a deputy chairman of the Socialist International. has suggested that whoever ordered the bombing may no longer have a place in the International. Peres retorted sharply, calling Kreisky a “Jewish anti-Semite.” Austrian Socialist leaders have defended Kreisky but, with a single exception, rejected the idea that Peres be ousted from the International.