Israel Rejects Jordan-PLO Peace Accord : Strategy 'Is Aimed More at Influencing' U.S., Shamir Charges

Associated Press

Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir on Sunday dismissed as unacceptable the joint strategy for peace in the Middle East developed by Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

"I think it is aimed more at influencing the United States to change its position toward the PLO rather than at furthering peace," Shamir told reporters before leaving on a five-day trip to Western Europe.

The United States, under a 1975 agreement with Israel, refuses to negotiate with the PLO until it recognizes Israel's right to exist and abandons terrorism.

"We don't see in this agreement any opening for peace in the area," Shamir said. "There is no lack of peace plans; there is a lack of readiness and willingness for peace by the Arab states."

An official text of the Feb. 11 agreement between King Hussein of Jordan and PLO chief Yasser Arafat was released Saturday in Amman.

The five-point agreement called for a total Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 Middle East War in exchange for a comprehensive peace, a confederation of Jordan and a Palestinian state and an all-party peace conference including the permanent U.N. Security Council members.

Hussein, in an interview late Saturday on ABC television, called the agreement "a very small window" for peace that should not be missed.

However, former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, interviewed on Israel radio, said the opening "is so narrow that it will be difficult for Israelis to discern it."

Eban said the agreement is insufficient to allow the beginning of negotiations but said Israel "should not despair. I don't think the process is over."

Three Unacceptable Principles

Shamir said the Jordanian-PLO accord contains three principles "which are unacceptable to us, and I don't think they enhance the prospects for peace."

He listed the elements as the creation of a Palestinian state, negotiations with the PLO and an international peace conference including the Soviet Union, which is one of the permanent U.N. Security Council members.

He said Israel stands by its offer to negotiate directly with Jordan without preconditions, and that it remains faithful to the 1978 Camp David accords with Egypt, which outlined a plan for limited Palestinian autonomy in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In Washington, spokesman Joseph Reap said over the weekend that the State Department has nothing to say about the text beyond what it said earlier, after news of the Hussein-Arafat accord was first made public. At that time, the department said that to the extent that the king and the PLO agree to accept U.N. Resolution 242--which acknowledges Israel's right to exist within secure borders--and advance the cause of peace, it is a welcome development. The Jordan-PLO text refers broadly to U.N. resolutions on the Middle East but makes no specific mention of Resolution 242.

In Damascus, Syria, Mahmoud Zoubi, the government's parliamentary leader, said the agreement "jeopardizes Arab rights," and added, "Israel has no land or peace to give."

Zoubi, speaking with a group of visiting Spanish legislators, also said the accord "will meet the same fate as the May 17 agreement." He was referring to the agreement reached in May, 1983, by Israel and Lebanon for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon, which later was abrogated by Lebanon under pressure from Syria.

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