JERUSALEM (Mar. 2)
Ezer Weizman, the only member of the government to publicly call on Israel to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, declared Sunday night that only talks with the PLO or an expressed readiness for such talks can expedite peace negotiations with Jordan.
Weizman, a Minister-Without-Portfolio who recently merged his Yahad Party into the Labor Party, addressed some 400 dovish members of the Labor Party’s Central Committee in Tel Aviv. He expressed frustration with King Hussein of Jordan for insisting on keeping his relationship with Israel a deep secret.
Weizman’s speech was viewed by political observers as part of his ongoing efforts to assume leadership of the moderates in the Labor camp. Another speaker at the meeting, MK Abba Eban, who heads the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, stopped short of calling for talks with the PLO. But Eban observed that any serious negotiators among the Palestinians were likely to have “distasteful biographies.”
Weizman accused Likud Ministers of treating Foreign Minister Shimon Peres “shamefully” at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, when Peres reported on his meeting with Egyptian leaders in Cairo last week. According to Weizman, the Labor-Likud unity government has ended its usefulness and now impedes progress on the peace front.