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Peres to Confront Anti-israel Initiatives at Socialist Gathering

May 10, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who was due here late Monday evening, will face an uphill battle to block anti-Israel initiatives by Spain’s Socialist Party at a meeting of the Council of the Socialist International here this week.

Peres will meet Tuesday with Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales to try to fend off action said to have been promised by Foreign Minister Francisco Ordones at a meeting with Arab representatives last week.

According to press reports, Ordones and other Spanish Socialist leaders assured the Arabs that the International would take a firm stand against Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and would condemn its policies of “repression” in the territories.

The Council of the Socialist International will meet through Thursday. Participants will include former Chancellor Willy Brandt of West Germany; Neil Kinnock, leader of Britain’s Labor Party; and Bettino Craxi, who heads Italy’s Socialist Party.

Brandt in particular is a close friend of Peres, a fellow Socialist. Craxi is expected to bring up his recent proposal for a United Nations mandate of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be administered by the European Community’s 12 member states, which include Spain.


Peres discussed the proposal with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti in Milan on Monday, before heading for Madrid. The Israeli foreign minister arrived from Budapest, where he held discreet, informal talks with Premier Karoly Grosz and Foreign Minister Peter Varkonyi of Hungary.

According to reports from Rome, Andreotti requested the meeting with Peres, which took place at Milan’s military airport. Afterward, the Italian foreign minister told reporters that the idea of a European patrol in the territories did not seem possible at the moment.

He also said Italy backs the peace plan proposed by U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, which calls for an international peace conference to start direct Arab-Israeli negotiations.

Peres told reporters that the Palestinians have to stop their violent protests before negotiations can take place.

In Madrid, meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Socialist International has been circulating a draft resolution that calls for internationally supervised elections in the territories to select representatives of the Palestinian population.

The draft also calls for a United Nations-sponsored peace conference. It would attribute the 5-month-old Palestinian uprising to difficult economic and social conditions.


Israel Gat, a representative of Israel’s Labor Party who preceded Foreign Minister Peres to Madrid, said Sunday that the idea of elections in the territories was unacceptable, because they could result in a victory for Palestine Liberation Organization representatives.

Gat said the Labor Party accepts Palestinians who are not directly linked to the PLO as representatives of the Palestinians.

Two such persons arrived here Sunday to attend a meeting of the Socialist International’s Middle East Committee, along with members of the Labor Party.

They are Hanna Siniora, editor of the East Jerusalem Arabic daily Al-Fajr, and Fayez Abu Rahme, a lawyer from Gaza.

Gat said Sunday that the Labor Party welcomed the invitations extended to the two Palestinians, but would oppose outright PLO participation. Abu Rahme was related to PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir, assassinated in Tunis April 18.

(Rome correspondent Ruth E. Gruber contributed to this report.)

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