NEW YORK (Mar. 14)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir met with reporters and Jewish leaders upon his arrival in New York on Monday, but declined to disclose details of the counterproposals he plans to present to Secretary of State George Shultz during their discussions of the Middle East peace process in Washington this week.
Some two dozen representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York met at dawn with Shamir as he arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport.
During the session and earlier at a brief news conference, the prime minister would only say, “I have many proposals, many plans of my own” concerning the peace process.
Shamir is on record as being opposed to a peace plan formulated by Shultz, because it includes proposals that Israel trade land in the Gaza Strip and West Bank for peace.
In response to a reporter’s question concerning the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization in possible peace negotiations, Shamir said, “I don’t think Israel will ever talk with the PLO.”
Outside the El Al Israel Airlines terminal, about 100 supporters of Shamir gathered to greet the prime minister, waving small Israeli flags and chanting “Israel yes, Palestine no” and “not one inch,” a reference to Shamir’s refusal to trade land for peace.
A smiling Shamir briefly joined the crowd, which burst into “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem.
According to Kenneth Kelner, president of the Manhattan region of the Zionist Organization of America and an organizer of the rally, participants included members of the Jewish Political Caucus, Herut-USA, Emunah Women, Americans for a Safe Israel and other groups supporting Shamir’s Likud bloc and the Israeli government’s right wing.
Following his airport appearance, Shamir proceeded directly to Washington, where he met Monday morning with Secretary of State George Shultz. He was to join the secretary for breakfast Tuesday and again on Thursday.
Shamir is scheduled to meet with President Reagan late Wednesday morning and will stay at the White House for a working lunch with the president. Vice President George Bush will host a state dinner for the premier that night.
The Israeli leader was to meet with Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci late Monday afternoon and with Treasury Secretary James Baker on Wednesday morning.
He will confer with the Senate leadership Tuesday afternoon, with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday and with the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday.
He was scheduled to address the United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Conference Monday night and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles on Thursday.