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Rabin Government Gearing Up for Resumption of Peace Talks

August 17, 1992
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Preparations for the resumption of the Middle East peace talks in Washington next week are moving into high gear.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, back from his trip to the United States, met with heads of the Israeli negotiating teams on Sunday, while the Palestine Liberation Organization summoned the Palestinian delegation to Tunis for consultations.

Attending the meeting with Rabin were Elyakim Rubinstein, who heads the negotiations with the Palestinians and Jordan; Itamar Rabinovich, who will lead talks with Syria, and Yosef Hadass and Uri Lubrani, co-chairmen of negotiations with Lebanon.

Rabin told the Cabinet at its weekly session Sunday that general elections in the territories could be held at the beginning of April if negotiations with the Palestinians on interim self-government proceeded apace.

He mentioned target dates of Jan. I for an accord on the format of elections in the territories and Feb. I for agreement on the powers of the administrative council that would be elected.

In Tunis, PLO executive committee member Yasir Abed Rabbo said clarifications given by the United States on the loan guarantees to be provided to Israel were “unsatisfactory” and that the Palestinians were considering whether to attend the new round of peace talks. He reiterated the demand for a “total freeze” on Israeli settlements in the territories.


It was not immediately clear whether the Palestinian delegates would go to Tunis. Israeli police have not yet decided whether to press charges against a group of Palestinian leaders, including Faisal Husseini and Hanan Ashrawi, who met with PLO leaders earlier this summer.

Police indecision comes against the background of an announcement that legislation lifting the ban against contacts with the PLO will be introduced when the Knesset reconvenes in October.

Without mentioning the foreign minister by name, Rabin on Sunday criticized Shimon Peres’ timing in announcing the proposed decriminalization of contacts with the PLO.

Rabin told the Cabinet the Americans failed to understand why Israel was demanding continued suspension of U.S. dialogue with the PLO while proposing to relax its own ban.

While not objecting to lifting the ban, the premier emphasized that Israel was negotiating only with representatives of the territories and not with the heads of the PLO.

“If we talk with PLO,” said Rabin, “the peace process will have absolutely no chance.”

Cabinet ministers laid out plans for the coming year in light of the U.S. loan guarantees.

Science Minister Amnon Rubinstein said that during the “mini-discussion of next year’s budget,” there was consensus that “unless the loans are used to achieve a breakthrough in economic growth, the problem of unemployment may undermine Israel’s social fabric.”

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