UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 21)
Proclaiming that "the state of war between Israel and Jordan should be terminated immediately," Israeli Premier Shimon Peres unveiled today a seven-point new initiative to reach peace with Israel’s eastern neighbor.
Addressing the 40th anniversary session of the General Assembly, Peres called for direct negotiations without preconditions between Jordan and Israel with the goal of reaching a peace treaty as well as to resolve the Palestinian issue. He declared:
"Negotiations are to be based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and on willingness to entertain suggestions proposed by other participants; negotiations are to be conducted directly between states; if deemed necessary, these negotiations may be initiated with the support of an international forum, as agreed upon by the negotiating states; this gathering can take place before the end of this year, in Jordan, Israel or any location, as mutually agreed upon."
"We will be pleased to attend an opening meeting in Amman," Peres added. "Negotiations between Israel and Jordan are to be conducted between an Israeli delegation, on the one hand, and a Jordanian — or Jordanian-Palestinian — on the other, both compromising delegates that represent peace, not terror," an allusion to Israel’s rejection of any joint delegation with the participation of the PLO.
The Jordan delegation to the UN was among other delegations, excluding Egypt, which left the General Assembly hall at the start of Peres’ speech.
WAYS TO EXPEDITE THE PEACE PROCESS
Peres said that the proposed negotiations with Jordan may produce intermediate as well as permanent arrangements. "They may deal with the demarcation of boundaries, as well as the resolution of the Palestinian problem. The Camp David accords provide a possible basis for the attainment of this objective."
Peres also suggested that the permanent members of the Security Council may be invited to support the initiation of the negotiations between Israel and Jordan, but he stressed that Israel objects to the participation in the talks of Security Council members which do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Peres added, "In order to expedite the peace process, the agenda, procedures and international support for negotiations can be discussed and agreed upon at a meeting of small working teams to be convened within 30 days."
Concluding, he stated: "I hereby proclaim — the state of war between Israel and Jordan should be terminated immediately. Israel declares this readily, in the hope that King Hussein is willing to reciprocate this step. Let us not confine the horizons of our vision to the limits set by what is history-proven. For the future holds yet untold possibilities for peace and prosperity for our war-torn lands."
The other parts of Peres’ speech were devoted to assailing terrorism, the state of Israel’s relations with Egypt, and the plight of Soviet Jewry.
"In our region," said Peres, "terrorism is at war with peace. Terrorism is bent on injuring the peace process — but we have an equal determination: It wil not stop progress toward peace. We reject the absurd claim that resisting terrorism — rather than terrorism itself — undermines efforts for peace." He charged that PLO terrorism has brought more tragedy than anything else to the Palestinian people.
Turning to Israel’s relations with Egypt, Peres declared: "We turn to our Egyptian friends with the invitation to breathe life into our relations and to raise our peoples’ spirits; let us not allow gloom and doom to overshadow our worthiest accomplishments; let us make our peace a success — a source of encouragement to others."
Appealing directly to the Soviet leaders, Peres declared, "Let our people go. Empty the prisons of people whose sole crime is loyalty to Jewish tradition and pursuit of the Zionist dream. Individuals like (Anatoly) Shcharansky and (Yosef) Begun. This call exceeds ordinary political considerations. It reaches the depth of human dignity and the source of human rights."
Meeting with Israeli reporters after his speech, Peres was asked if he had any idea of what King Hussein’s response to his proposal would be. He replied that he didn’t know, but that he thought it was worthwhile, by introducing his initiative, to present Israel’s position in the clearest terms. Asked if Israel had changed its position about an international peace conference, Peres answered that there must be a distinction between an international peace conference, supported by Hussein, and an international forum as proposed by Israel.