NEW YORK (Jun. 6)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir appeared nonplused Monday by U.S. Secretary of Shultz’s remarks that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is a “dead-end street.”
Appearing before the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations one day after his three-hour meeting with the secretary of state, Shamir said of Shultz and President Reagan: “We may not always agree on everything, but they have never allowed our disagreements to affect our friendship.”
Shamir made no direct reference to Shultz’s remarks during a 15-minute address and short question-and-answer session with the Jewish leaders.
But after praising Shultz on his fourth peace-making mission to the Middle East, Shamir declared that “there is no quick fix for our complex situation,” and that the Camp David accords “still offer the best plan for progress towards peace.”
“We cannot be asked to trust any future agreements if this one is declared dead nine years after it was born,” the prime minister said.
Shamir said he told the secretary of state Sunday that he continued to oppose U.S. calls for an international peace conference and a three-year timetable for deciding the final status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
As he repeated Monday, Shamir believes that direct negotiations, without preconditions, are “the only way to settle disputes between sovereign nations.”
“I am used to pressure on me, but it doesn’t have any impact on me,” he said when asked about criticism of his stance.
UNREST ‘SHATTERED ILLUSIONS’
Shamir said the results of the unrest in the administered territories will be viewed as “salutary because they have shattered illusions.”
He then listed six such illusions, including the belief that Palestinians will be satisfied with a state within the West Bank and Gaza, that further concessions by Israel will lead to peace and, in another apparent dig at the U.S. peace plan, “that we can be forced by violence to act against our interests.”
Shamir did praise Reagan for continuing to press the Soviet Union on human rights at last week’s superpower summit. The subject of Soviet Jewry led the prime minister to a declaration condemning the practice of Soviet Jews “dropping out” on their way to Israel.
“Let me explain again that the State of Israel cannot lend itself to the perpetuation of fraud by granting Israeli visas to those who apply to go to Israel and who have no intention of doing so. It undermines our credibility, impugns our integrity and insults our sovereignty.”
A note of discord entered into the meeting during the question-and-answer period, when Menachem Rosensaft, president of the Labor Zionist Alliance, told Shamir that polls of U.S. Jews indicate greater support for a peace settlement based on a “land-for-peace” formula than for the policies of Shamir’s Likud bloc.
Amid cries of “Lies, Lies!” from supportive audience members, Shamir repeated his belief in direct negotiations with the Arabs to determine the final status of the administered territories.