MONTREAL (Oct. 25)
A Cabinet minister told a gathering here of Arab students from the United States and Canada that “Canada is not opposed” to the creation of a Palestinian state and does not exclude such a creation” but that “the security of Israel is the central issue in the Arab-Israeli dispute.”
Those remarks were made by Pierre de Bone, the Minister of Fisheries, who represented the federal government at the convention of the Association of Arab-American University Graduates here over the weekend.
Addressing the several hundred delegates, most of them from the United States, de Bane said Canada also supports President Reagan’s efforts to establish self-rule for the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan. He did not say under what conditions Canada would support a sovereign Palestinian state.
SHARP PROTESTS FROM JEWISH COMMUNITY
The attendance of federal and provincial government ministers at the gathering drew sharp protests from the Jewish community because they shared the platform with officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Among the latter was Dr. Fahti Arafat, head of the Palestine Red Crescent, who is a brother of PLO chief Yasir Arafat, and Shafiq Al-Hout, a ranking PLO official from Beirut.
On Saturday night, some 800 Jewish student marched through downtown Montreal to the Sheraton Center Hotel where the convention was held to protest the PLO presence in the city. Carrying placards with the words “No, No PLO” and “PLO Go Home,” some of the youths tried to storm the hotel lobby but were driven back by riot police. The protestors represented the Hillel centers at Montreal area universities and the Committee for Jewish Action.
While the demonstration was in progress, the Quebec government’s Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, Jacques-Yvan Morin, addressed the convention. He said that peace in the Middle East could not be achieved except on the basis which would satisfy Israel’s security needs and “a homeland for the Palestinians.”
Arafat, who addressed the convention Friday, claimed that the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was “an important moral victory for the Palestinians.” He said the crucial struggle is approaching which “I think will be political, we hope it will be political.”