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Israeli Stand on Palestinians at Geneva is Conditional on No Change in Resolution 242

September 27, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Officials here stressed today that Israel’s agreement to a Palestinian presence at the opening session of the Geneva conference is contingent upon continued American opposition to any change in Security Council Resolution 242. That point, explicitly stated by government secretary Arye Naor after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, was re-emphasized by other officials apparently because of reports from New York apparently because of reports from New York and Washington that there has been some “erosion” in the American position on this question.

According to one report today, the U.S. might countenance a move to add to the text of Resolution 242 while leaving the original wording intact. It would do so by not vetoing additions referring to the political and national dimensions of the Palestinian question, the report said.

Last night’s Cabinet statement listed four conditions that Naor said were embodied in the American proposal for reconvening the Geneva conference which made it acceptable to Israel. These were: “A united delegation representing all of the Arab states participating in the Geneva conference will take part in the opening session; the Arabs of Eretz Israel who are not known members of the PLO may participate in this united delegation. Palestinian Arabs will not participate in the opening session as a separate body but as part of the Jordanian delegation; no negotiation will be conducted with the united delegation; after the opening session the united delegation will split up into delegations representing the various states in order to conduct negotiations on the matters pertaining to each of these states separately.”

Premier Menachem Begin described Israel’s acceptance of these conditions as a potential “breakthrough” toward reconvening the Geneva conference. He hinted that both Egypt and Jordan have already consented unofficially to the U.S. plan but that Washington is still trying to persuade Syria to go along with it. Sources here said that would be a lengthy process, given President Hafez Assad’s tough stand on the issue of the Palestinians. But they found encouragement in the fact that no official Syrian spokesman has rejected the American proposal.

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