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Herzog: Camp David Accords Are a ‘golden Opportunity’ for Palestinians

March 30, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Chaim Herzog of Israel said here tonight that the Camp David accords present “a golden opportunity for the Palestinian Arabs for the first time in their history” to take their own fate into their hands.

“Sooner or later” they will, he said in an address to the annual dinner of the Anglo-Israel Association. He said he based his hope on the “growing sense of disenchantment” among Arab leaders on the West Bank and Gaza with both Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat and King Hussein of Jordan.

Herzog, accompanied by his wife, Aura, arrived here Tuesday for a five-day visit as guests of the Anglo-Jewish community. In his speech tonight, he paid tribute to Israel’s debt to Britain, noting that even at the most bitter moments in their struggle for independence against the British Mandate authorities in Palestine, Israelis never lost “the deepest innate respect for the principles and values of British civilization.”


But the Israeli Chief of State was critical of some aspects of British policy in the Middle East. “There is at times a tendency to ignore the basic facts of life in the Middle East and an unwillingness to break away from traditional approaches,” he said.

He suggested that many who deal with the Arab-Israel conflict suffer from “a lack of perspective. Their whole picture is out of focus. The correct proportions are absent.”

Herzog specifically cited a tendency to over-emphasize the Arab-Israel conflict. If that conflict was resolved, the main centers of bloodshed, warfare and instability in the Moslem and Arab worlds would still persist, he said.

With respect to Camp David, Herzog said it would be tragic for the Arabs to allow that opportunity to slip away as they had with all previous opportunities. Had Jordan and the Palestinian Arabs already entered the autonomy negotiations, provided for by the Camp David agreements, “the Palestine Arabs would now have been living in a regime of full autonomy …and we would by now have been in the phase of negotiations on the final status of the territories,” he said.


The Israeli President will lunch with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle next Monday. He is expected on the occasion, to invite the Queen to visit Israel and it is considered most likely that his official invitation will be accepted, at least in principle, even if no date is set.

The Queen presently is visiting Jordan and there has been comment in the media here that while Jordan is the third Arab country she has visited, she has never been to Israel despite the tradition of friendship between that country and Britain.

The ommission is blamed by some on the traditionally pro-Arab bias of the Foreign Office. Because the Queen is a constitutional monarch, decisions on, and timing of, her overseas visits are made by the government which attunes them to its foreign policy.

The fact that no reigning British monarch has ever visited Israel does not sit well with the Anglo-Jewish community which has strong pro-monarchist sentiments.

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