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Europeans May Back Peace Plan if Israel Backs ‘land for Peace’

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The European Community may call on Israel to accept the “land for peace” formula urged by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in his May 22 speech in Washington.

Officials here disclosed privately that experts are drafting a resolution containing such a call for the summit meeting of the 12 E.C. heads of state in Madrid at the end of this month.

The Europeans will insist that Israel agree in principle to trade land for peace in exchange for their support of Jerusalem’s peace initiative.

Israel is seeking European and American backing for Palestinian elections it proposes to hold in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The elected delegates would negotiate with Israel the terms of a five-year period of Palestinian self-rule.

Negotiations over the permanent status of the territories would begin no later than three years after self-rule.

Several European countries have offered the Israelis encouragement, though none has officially endorsed the proposals.

Baker sent political shock waves through Jerusalem in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that urged Israel to give up its “unrealistic vision” of a Greater Israel, forswear annexation of the administered territories and cease settlement activity there.

According to sources here and in Madrid, the E.C. summit would like to adopt a text that could be regarded as a major European initiative on the Middle East.

But France, which takes over the rotating chairmanship of the E.C. Council of Ministers from Spain on July 1, is apparently seeking a delay.

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