JERUSALEM (Sep. 17)
As members of the Likud half of Israel’s coalition government rejected new Egyptian proposals on the peace process, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Labor was preparing to discuss them in Cairo on Monday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s 10-point paper suggesting terms and conditions for the Palestinian elections proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was officially presented to Israel on Friday by the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv, Mohammed Basiouny.
The elections are to choose Palestinian delegates with whom Israel would negotiate self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and eventually the final status of those territories.
Sources said Egypt also gave Israel a list of Palestinian names with whom it could negotiate. The list reportedly was compiled by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, without consulting Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat.
The Egyptians say any negotiations must embrace the principle of land-for-peace, which is the basis of the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
But that principle conflicts with Likud dogma, which says that by relinquishing Sinai, Israel already has given up enough land.
Rabin came under fierce attack from Likud ministers after Sunday’s Cabinet meeting for even taking notice of Mubarak’s plan. The defense minister himself said last week that the Egyptian paper was not up for discussion in any government forum.
But that apparently has not prevented Rabin from discussing the Egyptian plan with Mubarak. The Labor Party is said to be more receptive to the proposals.
PROPOSED NEGOTIATORS LINKED TO PLO
The proposed Palestinian delegation contains prominent residents of the territories whom Israel considers to be members or avid sympathizers of the PLO. The Israeli government has vowed never to negotiate with the PLO under any circumstances.
First on the list is Faisal Husseini, whom the authorities regard as the top PLO man in the Jerusalem area.
Husseini was held under administrative detention for 18 months, meaning incarceration without being charged or tried. Since his release a half year ago, he has been widely accepted as the most senior Palestinian personality in the territories and has spoken frequently before Israeli audiences.
He is followed on the list by Radwan Abu-Ayyash, chairman of the Palestinian Press Association, who also is considered close to the PLO mainstream. He, too, has been held under administrative detention.
Third is Elias Freij, mayor of Bethlehem since 1967. He is considered one of the most moderate Palestinian leaders and has good contacts with the PLO, Jordan and Israeli authorities.
Fourth is Hanna Siniora, editor of the East Jerusalem Arabic daily Al-Fajr, one of the best known Palestinian activist intellectuals, who is also associated with the PLO mainstream.
Next on the list is Jamil Tarifi, a Ramallah lawyer and businessman who made news earlier this year when he admitted having met with Shamir, apparently with Arafat’s consent.
Two others on the list are Said Canan, a Nablus businessman known for his good contacts in Jordan, in PLO circles and with Israelis; and Fayez Abu-Rahme, chairman of the Gaza Bar Association, who is widely accepted as a moderate by Israelis.
Two Palestinians deported from the territories have also been proposed, in order to satisfy PLO demands that Palestinians outside of the territories be included.
They are Mohammed Milhem, the former mayor of Halhoul who was deported in 1980 and now heads the PLO’s department for the territories, and Akram Aniye, Arafat’s adviser on the territories, former editor of the East Jerusalem daily A-Shaab, who was ousted in December 1986 and has since joined the PLO leadership.