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Palestine Arab Leaders Still See Prospects of Autonomous Arab State

May 8, 1968
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The idea of an autonomous Arab state in part of the presently occupied territories, is still alive among some Palestine Arab leaders, according to an article by Philip Kleinman, published in the London Daily Telegraph today. Kleinman said that a secret meeting was held between Israel officials and Palestinian Arab representatives at Geneva last year to discuss the idea. Among the participants was Yaha Hamouda, now head of the Palestine Liberation Organization. But nothing came of the talks and all concerned were now waiting to see the outcome of U.N. peace envoy Gunnar Jarring’s mission.

Kleinman said that Sheikh Mohammed Jaabari, Mayor of Hebron, had outlined to him the boundaries of a proposed independent Arab state. It would consist of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with a free road through Israel linking the two and, Jaabari insisted, must have East Jerusalem as its capital. According to Kleinman, Jaabari said “if the Arab states fail to agree on a solution then we Palestinians shall seek a solution with Israel ourselves.”

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