Peres Criticizes Hussein’s Rejection of Israel’s Call for Peace Talks
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Peres Criticizes Hussein’s Rejection of Israel’s Call for Peace Talks

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Premier Shimon Peres responded swiftly and sharply today to a speech by King Hussein to the Jordanian parliament rejecting Israeli peace overtures as a “maneuver” and “deceplion” and vowing that Jordan would not forego a single grain of soil in Arab lands occupied by Israel.

“All who reject peace will eventuall have to pay the price for their rejection,” Peresideclared in a statement issued shortly after the Jordanian King spoke in Amman where Parliament reopened after its summer recess. He stressed, however, that Israel would “continue to believe in peace and strive for peace” despite Hussein’s negative statements.

Peres has invited Hussein several times to enter into peace talks with Israel without preconditions. Jordan’s decision last week to resume full diplomatic ties with Egypt, broken when Israel and Egypt signed their peace treaty in 1979, was widely viewed here as a possible prelude to Jordan joining the peace process.

But those hopes seemed to be dashed by Hussein’s attack today on Israel and the United States. He accused the latter of contributing to Israel’s obstinacy by procrastination and hesitation, and its reversal of an earlier decision to sell Jordan modern weaponry.


Peres declared that contrary to Hussein’s charge, Israel’s proposed peace talks with all of its neighbors are “not a tactical ruse because (peace) is a real and urgent need for all Mideast nations.”

Referring to Hussein’s assertion that Jordan would not give up “one grain of our soil” on the West Bank “not a stone in our mosques, churches and holy places,” Peres said it was “inconceivable” that Jordan’s conditions for peace talks are that all of its demands be accepted before the talks begin.

Peres reminded Hussein that Jordan was the aggressor in 1967 “out of the mistaken assumption that it could force Israel into defeat.” He observed that there are “no prizes for mistakes and no compensation for aggression. Peace is not an act of charity. Either both sides need it or it cannot be attained.”

There was disappointment in some government circles here over the harsh, uncompromising tenor of Hussein’s speech, particularly after Israel’s new unity government offered peace talks without preconditions. Only yesterday, Peres expressed “hope” that the renewed ties between Jordan and Egypt “will contribute toward the renewal of the peace process.”

But some observers seemed relieved that Hussein’s adamancy has ended, at least for the time being, a confrontation between the Labor and Likud components of the unity government over the framework of peace talks with Jordan. Likud insists they must be based exclusively on the Camp David accords; the Labor position is that negotiations with Jordan need not necessarily be limited by Camp David.

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