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10 November 1989
GENERAL ASSEMBLY SECURITY COUNCIL
Forty-fourth session Forty-fourth year
Agenda items 37 and 39
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
QUESTION OF PALESTINE
Letter dated 10 November 1989 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i.
of the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations
addressed to the Secretary-General
I have the honour to transmit herewith text of a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Moshe Arens, with regard to the decision taken by the Cabinet of Israel in a profound desire to move the peace process forward (see annex).
I would be grateful if the present letter and its annex were circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda items 37 and 39, and of the Security Council.
) Johanan BEIN
Acting Permanent Representative
89-28257 1305h (E) /...
Letter dated 6 November 1989 from the Minister for Foreign
Affairs of Israel to the Secretary-General
I am pleased to inform you that the Israeli Cabinet decided to accept the five points as proposed by U.S. Secretary of State James Baker on 1 November. I now hope to obtain your support for what could prove to be an important breakthrough in the quest for peace.
Our decision to accept the five points was not taken lightly. The issues involved are of fundamental importance to Israel's vital security, indeed to its very survival. Hence, Israel's acceptance was based on Secretary Baker's offer to provide American assurances that will meet Israel's needs and concerns. Our longstanding commitment to explore every option which might advance the cause of peace led us to adopt the American proposal.
Any discussion of the five points must, I believe, begin with Israel's 14 May peace initiative. This initiative was endorsed by the United States and forms the basis of Secretary Baker's proposal. Israel's peace initiative offers a comprehensive approach to achieving peace between the Arab world and Israel.
Its four points call for: strengthening the peace treaty with Egypt, ending the state of war between the Arab States and Israel, rehabilitating the Palestinian refugee camps, and holding elections among the Palestinian Arab inhabitants of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. These four points are mutually reinforcing. Progress in one facilitates progress in each of the others. This is why we believe that all four points should be pursued in parallel, and with equal vigour.
Our goal is to move as quickly as possible towards elections among the Palestinian Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, elections which will enable them to choose freely and openly their legitimate representatives. With these elected representatives, Israel intends quickly to conclude negotiations for a five-year period of Palestinian self-rule, which will give the Palestinian Arab inhabitants effective control over most aspects of their daily lives. As for a permanent solution, the parties participating in the negotiations to achieve it shall include Israel and the elected representatives of the inhabitants of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, along with Jordan and perhaps Egypt. We are committed to begin negotiations on a permanent settlement within three years of the start of the period of self-rule.
Clearly, the next major step along the challenging road to a permanent settlement is to make free and open elections in Judea, Samaria and Gaza a reality. The significance, and the test, of the five points lie precisely in their ability to bring about elections. This is what the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs envisioned in the five points should deal with. If, however, this dialogue is used to frustrate elections rather than advance them, the cause of peace will be ill-served.
This dialogue has clear implications on who should participate from the Palestinian Arab side. Since the substance of the dialogue will be to agree on the modalities for elections among the Palestinian Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the Palestinian Arab participants in the dialogue should come from among the inhabitants of these same areas.
One further point should be mentioned concerning the Palestinian Arab participants in the dialogue with Israel. The Government of Israel's opposition to negotiations with the PLO is clear and unequivocal. It is one of the foundations on which the national unity government was established, and is based on national consensus. Our position is rooted in our knowledge of the PLO ultimate designs, and also in its campaign of terror directed not only against Jews, but against Palestinians - the very people it purports to represent. Direct or indirect dialogue with the PLO would subvert the logic and undermine the possibility of free elections, and thus of progress towards peace.
We would hope that a list of Palestinian participants to begin the process leading to elections can soon be agreed upon at the proposed trilateral meeting of Foreign Ministers of Egypt, the United States and Israel. Israel will do its utmost to bring this about.
Once these participants have been selected, the dialogue ought to begin quickly. The election modalities necessarily involve complex questions, but we are prepared to work hard to resolve these issues in order to make the elections a reality. To accomplish such a challenging task, everything preceding the elections must be geared towards their realization. It will be necessary therefore to ensure that the dialogue would deal with procedures for the elections and not be diverted from this objective. Thus, setting the ground-rules for the elections must be the only goal of the dialogue.
As I have indicated, the Government of Israel's decision was taken on the assumption that the United States will provide side assurances designed to meet Israel's needs and concerns, so as to ensure that the entire move will be consistent with Israel's peace initiative of 14 May 1989. As proposed by Secretary Baker, once these assurances are received, a meeting may take place in Washington, D.C. between the three Foreign Ministers, in the hope that they will agree on the composition of the Palestinian Arab delegation and on the agenda for the first meeting in Cairo. The proposed meetings, in Washington, D.C. and subsequently in Cairo, should provide the catalyst for setting the peace process in motion.
These comments are offered with a profound desire to move the peace process forward. I truly believe that support from Your Excellency for the Israeli peace initiative as reaffirmed by yesterday's Cabinet decision could make a very positive contribution to such progress.