AMSTERDAM (May. 27)
The Palestinian delegation that negotiates with Israel in the bilateral peace talks is entirely controlled by the Palestine Liberation Organization in Tunis, two ranking Palestinian officials said at the end of a two-day visit here Tuesday.
Any separation between the delegation and the PLO is artificial, they said.
Nothing is said or decided by the Palestinian delegation without prior consultation with and approval from the PLO’s top level, according to Hanan Ashrawi, spokeswoman for the delegation, and Nabil Sha’ath, political adviser to PLO chief Yasir Arafat.
They met Monday with Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek at The Hague and on Tuesday with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.
The two Palestinians heaped blame on Israel for the meager progress made in peace talks so far and the unrest in the Israeli-administered territories. They insisted that Israel actually does not want peace and is constantly delaying the process.
They cited Israel’s attacks on Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon as evidence of its warlike intentions. They claimed the attacks are also intended to help Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s Likud party in the Knesset elections next month.
Ashrawi, who is not an official member of the Palestinian delegation, contended that the unrest in the territories reflects Palestinian frustration that no tangible results have emerged from the peace talks.
If there is no full autonomy for the occupied areas by Nov. 1, peace will be seriously jeopardized, she warned.
The meeting with van den Broek was the first time a foreign minister of Holland has officially received a Palestinian delegation.
As the immediate past chairman of the E.C. Council of Ministers, he is one of the “troika” assigned to deal with Middle East issues, which consists as well of the current chairman and his successor.
But van den Broek’s six-month stint as E.C. chairman, which ended Dec. 31, was not considered successful. Germany, France and Britain paid him no heed, and he is also in political trouble at home.
There is friction between the foreign minister and Prime Minister Rudolph Lubbers, who is expected to prevail.