ROME (Sep. 11)
The Palestine Liberation Organization can decisively influence Israel’s parliamentary elections Nov. 1, according to Labor Party Knesset member Abba Eban.
“A clear declaration, the recognition of Israel and the renunciation of terrorism (by the PLO) would help the Labor Party,” Eban told reporters after meetings here Friday with Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti and Socialist Party leader Bettino Craxi.
Eban, a former foreign minister and presently chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, is on a mission on behalf of Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, leader of the Labor Party.
He is visiting Western European capitals to persuade national leaders not to endorse purported plans by the PLO to declare an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and to set up a government in exile.
He is also urging Western European countries to pressure the PLO to recognize Israel. The Labor Party is “ready to negotiate with any Palestinians disposed to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism,” Eban said.
He challenged PLO chief Yasir Arafat “to find the courage to make a unilateral gesture” toward Israel. If Israel did not respond, “there would be time to do an about-face,” Eban said.
Both Andreotti and Craxi have been sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, while upholding Israel’s right to security. Nevertheless, the Italian foreign minister told him that “Italy will not recognize a Palestinian government in exile,” Eban said.