Israel for the first time is publicly recruiting Arab citizens for its diplomatic service.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told Israeli Arab mayors Tuesday the government would advertise its annual recruitment drive for a diplomatic cadet course in the Arabic as well as Hebrew press.
The Arab municipal leaders reacted with “gratification” to Peres’ encouragement of Arab university graduates to apply for the three-year training program, officials said.
Briefing the Arab leaders on the peace process, Peres said the agreement reached with Jordan at the talks in Washington last week in fact went beyond its official designation as an agenda for further discussion.
It represented, rather, a blueprint “of the shape of the peace (that will be concluded) between Israel and Jordan,” Peres told the Arab officials.
He pointedly remarked that similar progress had failed to materialize in talks with Palestinian negotiators.
Peres told the Israeli Arab leaders, many of whom maintain close contact with Palestinian leaders in the administered territories and overseas, that the blame lay with the Palestinian negotiators’ unwillingness to discuss a plan for a transitional self-rule authority, rather than for statehood.
“They are not yet prepared to recognize that what is on the table is a proposal for an interim arrangement, based on autonomy, which is not separate sovereignty,” he said.
“Time is short,” said Peres. He said Israel was proposing “political elections” in the territories – in contrast with the more limited municipal vote proposed by the previous Likud government – to be held early in 1993, following which the autonomous authority would start functioning.
Regarding Syria, Peres said there was certainly progress – but not yet a clear- cut definition from the Syrians of their conception of the nature of the peace.
He said the multilateral negotiations were intended to chart a course for regional progress. Peres said regional projects should be started without delay, so as not to lose precious time.
“A poor and frustrated Middle East” meant more opportunity for eruption of extreme fundamentalist forces,” Peres said.