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Abu Iyad Pledges Peace with Israel in Videotaped Message to Israelis

February 23, 1989
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A videotaped peace appeal to the Israeli people by a ranking member of the Palestine Liberation Organization was well received by prominent Israeli doves attending a peace symposium here Wednesday.

The message was taped in Tunis last week by the deputy chairman of the PLO, Salah Khalaf, also known as Abu Iyad.

He pledged total and final peace with Israel after the creation of a Palestinian state, and said the PLO was prepared to allay Israeli doubts and fears over its intentions.

He suggested these be dealt with at Israeli-PLO talks, held either openly or in secret, before an international peace conference convenes.

The symposium was organized by the International Center for Peace in the Middle East, a group headed by former Foreign Minister Abba Eban.

Abu Iyad’s appeal drew positive responses from Labor Knesset member Arieh Eliav, Yair Tsaban of Mapam and several other participants.

“There were clear and precise words,” said Eliav. He said Abu Iyad gave firm assurances that the PLO no longer seeks the “piecemeal” eradication of the Jewish state.

He made it clear that after a peace agreement, “that is that,” the Laborite dove declared.

Abu Iyad said the question of the Palestinian Covenant, which calls for Israel’s destruction, could be discussed at Israeli-PLO talks.

The covenant has never been rescinded, though Palestinian representatives say it was abrogated de facto when the PLO announced its recognition of Israel.

Meanwhile, leading Peace Now activists left for Britain Wednesday to participate in a seminar at Oxford University over the weekend.

It will be attended by prominent PLO members, including Bassam Abu Sharif and Columbia University Professor Edward Said.

The Israeli group includes Dedi Zucker, a Knesset member for the Citizens Rights Movement; Haim Oron of Mapam; and Professor Yitzhak Galndor of the Hebrew University.

They said on their departure that they would carefully observe the Israeli law restricting meetings with PLO officials.

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