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Peace Group Lauds Statement by PLO Spokesperson Sharif

July 1, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Fifteen prominent Jews, members of the International Center For Peace in the Middle East; welcomed a recent statement by a top adviser to Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat.

The statement, by PLO spokesman Bassam Abu Sharif, advocates direct peace negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

Their response to the document — “Prospects for a Palestinian-Israeli Settlement”– which was distributed at the recent Arab summit meeting in Algiers, called it “the clearest expression thus far, by any Palestinian official, of a readiness to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

While Arafat’s radical rivals have condemned the Abu Sharif paper, Arafat himself seemed to endorse it by saying that in the wake of the proposal, “the United States ought now to make a gesture toward the PLO.”

The document envisions the eventual creation of an independent Palestinian state, coexisting peacefully alongside Israel.

Abu Sharif writes that “the means by which the Israelis want to achieve lasting peace and security is by direct talks, with no attempt by any outside party to impose or veto a settlement.

“The Palestinians agree,” he continues. “The key to a Palestinian-Israeli settlement lies in talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.”

The only reason, reason, he continues, that the PLO has not publicly accepted U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 is because “neither resolution says anything about the national rights of Palestinians.”

The American-Jewish response was coordinated by the American section of the Tel-Aviv based International Center, a worldwide coalition of scholars, politicians, business executives and religious leaders.

They proposed that the document, “if amplified and substantiated by further Palestinian declarations, could serve as a significant step toward political dialogue.”

Signatories included Kenneth Arrow, Rita Hauser, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, Philip Klutznick, Professor Seymour Martin Lipset, Theodore Mann and Menachem Rosensaft.

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