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Reagan on the PLO

February 5, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In an exclusive interview with the editors of Readers Digest, President Reagan discussed major issues that confronted his Administration during the first year in office. One was the Palestinian issue. According to the interview which appears in the latest issue, Reagan was asked:

“Mr. President, there seems to be consensus that there can be no permanent Middle East peace without resolving the question of the Palestinian homeland. Are you determined to hold off discussions of any kind with the Palestine Liberation Organization until it recognizes Israel’s right to exist? And would you recognize the PLO if it did acknowledge that right?”

Reagan answered: “This is a decision to be made after they do it. I know the PLO has kind of held a position that their non-recognition of Israel is a bargaining chip that they could bring to a negotiating table.

“I think they’re wrong. I don’t see how you sit down to bargain with someone who has taken a position where they deny your right to exist and that you should be destroyed. That to me is not a bargaining chip. And I am hopeful that, as we continue dealing with the more moderate Arab states, we will bring them to accept recognition that Israel is a nation that is going to continue existing.”

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