Menu JTA Search

Arafat Has Not Abandoned Terrorism, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Declares

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Israel’s representative to the United Nations responded to Yasir Arafat’s speech here by maintaining that the Palestine Liberation Organization “has not abandoned terrorism.”

PLO-inspired intimidation and violence has got to stop, Ambassador Johanan Bein, Israel’s acting permanent representative to the United Nations, said in a speech to the General Assembly here Wednesday morning.

He stressed that peaceful solutions can be found only through direct negotiations based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

Arafat, in his speech Tuesday, also called for talks based on those resolutions, but within the framework of an international conference. The Israelis contended that his offer was ambiguous and riddled with pre-conditions.

Bein made clear that Israel does not accept the PLO as a negotiating partner, but would talk directly with other Palestinians and with Jordan.

“Israel stands ready to conduct negotiations on this basis with Palestinian leaders from Judaea, Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza, as well as others who renounce violence,” the Israeli envoy said.

The Soviet Union, in its speech, refrained from attacks on Israel which had been standard Soviet rhetoric in past Palestinian debates.

“We have entered an era when the interests common to all mankind will become the basis for world progress,” declared Vladimir Petrovsky, the Soviet deputy foreign minister in charge of Middle Eastern Affairs.

He called on Israel to respond to the PLO’s overture and take advantage of what he called a unique chance. He urged the Israelis to “abandon the stereotypes and prejudices and accept the olive branch that has been offered.”

Petrovsky reiterated Soviet support for an international peace conference for the Middle East. “It is obvious that the diversity and gravity of the problems may require taking some intermediate measures and a stage-by-stage approach.

“They should be implemented in the framework of a conference,” he said.

‘DISTURBANCE MUST CEASE’

Ambassador Bein, referring to the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said that “violent disturbances must cease, tranquility and normal daily life must be restored in the territories.”

He added that while “political aspirations may be legitimate, car bombs, grenades, shooting and shelling are not.”

He insisted that “the PLO has not abandoned terrorism. The killing of women and children in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is clearly condoned.”

Meanwhile, activist Rabbi Avi Weiss of New York and three other American Jews were detained briefly by Swiss police Wednesday afternoon.

They had demonstrated outside U.N. headquarters, where demonstrations have been banned by police for the duration of the General Assembly meeting.

Weiss and his group, calling themselves the Coalition of Concern, held a mock funeral here Tuesday for “victims of the PLO.”

NEXT STORY