WASHINGTON (Mar. 17)
Yasir Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, had indicated that he will never accept United States conditions for recognition of the PLO because he fears that it would mean he would meet the same fate as the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
The U.S. policy since 1975 has been that it will not talk or negotiate with the PLO until that group recognizes Israel’s right to exist and accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The Reagori Administration has added the requirement that the PLO renounce terrorism.
When Ted Koppel, in an interview with Arafat at his headquarters in Lebanon, shown on ABC-TV’s “Nightline” program last night, asked Arafat why he does not go ahead and meet the U.S. conditions, the terrorist leader said he does not want to be considered a “traitor” to his people as was Sadat. He said that if he took this step, “I will lose the confidence of my people, I will be useless.”
Arafat said that Sadat paid for the return of the Sinai with the Palestinian people and Jerusalem. He predicted that after Israel returns the Sinai April 25, the Egyptian army will force the Egyptian government to reverse Sadat’s policy of peace with Israel. He said the Egyptian people and the army support the Palestinians and indicated that it was the army that killed Sadat.
Last night’s “Nightline” was devoted to the situation in Lebanon. Tonight the ABC program will show the situation from the Israeli side of the border and will feature an interview with Moshe Arens, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States.
The program last night showed how much of Lebanon is dominated by either the PLO or the Syrian army. At the close of the program, Koppel said that as he was leaving Beirut, a Lebanese-Moslem told him that the Lebanese would like to get both the Palestinians and Syrians out of their country. The Lebanese was quoted as saying that if it takes the Israelis to accomplish this, then “Shalom.”