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Murphy Postponing Mideast Trip

July 8, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Richard Murphy, the U.S Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, will not be coming to the Middle East in the next few months — as originally planned — because he has not received a list of members of the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation that is supposed to enter the peace process with Israel, sources here said today.

The delay in presenting the names to Murphy was attributed to disagreement between Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sources said. In the American view, the Jordanians are inclined to meet Israel’s demand that no member of the delegation be clearly identified with the PLO.

The East Jerusalem daily, Al Kuds, which has good connections in Jordan, reported today that the list of delegates has been compiled. According to Al Kuds, its five members include three residents of the administered territories and two who are considered close to the PLO.

The delegates from the territories are Rashad A-Shawa, former Mayor of Gaza; Mustapha Abed A-Nabi, former Mayor of Hebron; and Sa’id Canaan, a prominent Nablus merchant known to have good contacts with Israel’s Labor Party, Al Kuds reported.

Absent from the list are the names of Mayor Elias Freij of Bethlehem, a leading Palestinian moderate and Hikmat Al-Masri, chairman of the Jordanian Senate who, like Freij, was expected to be included.

Political analysts here noted that this was not the first time, and probably not the last that a list of Palestinian delegates was published. They said the various lists cropping up indicate that no agreement has been reached yet.

The East Jerusalem news magazine, Al Bayader A-Siyassi, published the results of an opinion poll among Palestinians in which the respondents indicated a growing trend toward moderation in the administered territories. According to the survey, most Palestinians support peace talks.

Out of 1,100 questioned, 82 percent favored a joint delegation and a similar percentage supported the idea of a Palestinian-American dialogue and stronger ties between Palestinians and Jordanians. The magazine interpreted the response as a revolution of political views in the territories. About 70 percent supported Security Council Resolution 242 and 79 percent favored the idea of strengthening ties with the peace movement in Israel.

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