WASHINGTON (Mar. 5)
The United States warned Friday that the increasing number of attempted attacks against Israel planned by groups linked to the Palestine Liberation Organization “raises questions” about the PLO leadership’s commitment to meet the conditions of the U.S.-PLO dialogue.
Responding to Thursday’s attempt by members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine to infiltrate northern Israel, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said, “The U.S. views with concern the increasing number of Palestinian attacks in South Lebanon, most recently by the DFLP.
“When the PLO renounced terrorism last December, we assumed Mr. (Yasir) Arafat spoke in the name of the PLO Executive Committee and its constituent groups, and that the PLO could exercise control over these constituent groups,” he said.
“We recognized from the beginning that some groups and factions, particularly those based in Damascus, were opposed to the positive evolution in PLO attitudes toward Israel, and would be trying to undermine the U.S.-PLO dialogue and block movement in the peace process.
“Nonetheless, if the PLO leadership cannot or will not exercise such control, it raises questions regarding the commitment undertaken in the name of the PLO — indeed questions about the PLO’s ability to carry out their commitment,” Redman said.
The subject will be raised at a future U.S.-PLO meeting in Tunisia, he said.
In Beirut, the Palestinian official who has led the PLO delegation in previous talks with the United States was quoted by The New York Times on Sunday as rejecting the U.S. warning.
Yasir Abed Rabbo, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and deputy leader of the Democratic Front, said the United States should “stop stalling and settle down to genuine and meaningful discussions with the PLO.”