Israel Rejects International Framework for Peace Talks
Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin today said Israel rejects an international framework for Middle East peace negotiations as well as any talks with Palestinians who have links to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Rabin, speaking to the National Press Club, came to Washington for talks with U.S. officials three days after the departure of King Hussein.
The Jordanian monarch proposed that the Middle East peace process take place within the framework of an international conference that would include the Soviet Union.
Hussein also said that the PLO now accepts U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338--calling for recognition for Israel in exchange for occupied territories--two conditions that the United States has posed for talks with PLO representatives.
Direct Talks Preferred
Rabin appeared to discount Hussein’s relaying the PLO position, saying “We’d prefer to hear it from the PLO itself.”
On the issue of an international framework or umbrella, Rabin said “peace should be established by direct negotiations between the parties.”
Obviously, he said, the international framework “doesn’t refer to Luxembourg, but to the Soviet Union.” Anybody who would propose such an idea, he said, “has to be totally unaware of Soviet policies in the region which are designed to create tension rather than hope for peace.”
“Who needs it?” he asked.
In terms of the peace process, he said, Israel is giving first priority to improving relations with Egypt, as an example and incentive for other Arab countries to establish conditions for peace with Israel.
Egypt withdrew its ambassador from Israel after the June, 1982, invasion of Lebanon. The Israeli troop withdrawal from Lebanon raises the prospect that Egypt will upgrade relations once again.
The next priority, he said, is to expand the peace process to include other countries, such as Jordan, “without preconditions.”