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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
1 July 1991
APPROACHES TOWARDS
THE SETTLEMENT
OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
AND THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE


Issue 4 - June/July 1991

















United Nations
New York, July 1991



- i -




CONTENTS


Page


INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir on the question of land,
Tel Aviv, 4 June 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Statement on the peace process by Mr. Bassam Abu-Sharif,
the Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman,
Rome, June 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Statement by Mr. David Levi, Foreign Minister of Israel,
after meeting Mr. James Baker, United States Secretary of State,
in Washington on 13 June 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Excerpt from the partial text of letter by President George Bush
to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, date not given: end of May/
beginning of June 1991, as published by the Israeli newspaper
Ma'ariv on 10 June 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Partial text of letter by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir
to President George Bush, date not given, as published by
the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on 19 June 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Press Release, Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic
in Washington, D.C., 14 July 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Political declaration, London Economic Summit 1991,
16 July 1991. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Extracts from replies by President Hafez al-Assad to questions
from journalists following the visit of Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak to Damascus on 17 July 1991, released in Arabic
by the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic,
Washington, D.C., date not given. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Extracts from replies by Secretary of State James A. Baker and
Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara' to questions from journalists
following the meeting with President Hafez al-Assad on 18 July 1991,
as circulated by the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic,
Washington, D.C., on 19 July 1991 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Statement by President Bush and President Gorbachev
on the Middle East, Moscow, 31 July 1991. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


- ii -




INTRODUCTION


In April 1991, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People requested that the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat prepare urgently and update regularly, for the use of the Committee members and observers, a compilation of relevant recent statements, declarations and proposals regarding the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the question of Palestine and the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The first issue of the compilation, prepared in response to the decision of the Committee, appeared the same month.

Note should be made that reproduced herein are only those parts of the statements, declarations, proposals and initiatives, quoted or summarized, which relate to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir on the question of land,
Tel Aviv, 4 June 1991


On 4 June 1991, in his address before religious teachers at Tel Aviv, Mr. Yitzhak Shamir, the Prime Minister of Israel, said the following regarding the territories occupied by Israel:

Statement on the peace process by Mr. Bassam Abu-Sharif,
the Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman,
Rome, June 1991


According to Al-Dustur, dated 11 June 1991, Mr. Bassam Abu-Sharif, the Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman, during a seminar held at Rome in early June, summarized the position of the PLO as regards the peace process in the Middle East in the following :

Statement by Mr. David Levi, Foreign Minister of Israel,
after meeting Mr. James Baker, United States Secretary of State,
in Washington on 13 June 1991


After his meeting with Mr. James Baker, United States Secretary of State, on 13 June 1991 in Washington, Mr. David Levi, Foreign Minister of Israel, said the following, as communicated by Jerusalem Israel Television Network on 14 June 1991:


"...
Excerpt from the partial text of letter by
President George Bush to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir,
date not given:4/ as published by the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on 10 June 1991


"...

"Although I know that making peace will involve risks for Israel, we built a process that provides answers to your concerns and needs. It is a process that includes the Arab States and the Palestinians, the Palestinians from the territories, and not the PLO.

"The process tries to bypass the issues which caused you problems in the past year; a process which squares with Camp David, which will continue in stages to assure that you will not have to cope with the issues of the final status (of the territories) at the beginning of the process; a process which will start with a conference that will not torpedo or compete with direct talks.

"I told you on the phone that I am determined to bring the Arabs to the negotiating table with you and to start talking. The United States will not be a partner to a conference that puts up obstacles or contradicts or replaces direct negotiations between the sides. Only direct negotiations can settle the differences between you.

"We have already taken the trouble to make that very clear to the Arabs and the Palestinians. Jim Baker told them that they must enter give-and-take negotiations with you; that they should not depend on a conference or hold onto anything else that might extricate them from that need or the need to compromise and reach difficult decisions for the sake of peace.

"We will say that plainly: The conference to which we are referring is not a forum for negotiations or decision-making; it is a forum to break the 'taboo' of a face-to-face meeting and for the sake of advancing a direct dialogue.

"I also understand your concerns about a UN presence at a conference and about additional convocations of the conference, but I do not see how a simple observer can be a problem for you, especially if he will be present only at a conference which cannot dictate its preferences.

"Furthermore, the lack of a decision-making role, our determination to assure that all the sides understand that a conference cannot serve as a forum for appeals, and your ability to prevent any meeting which you do not want, all these ensure that there will be no way to get out of negotiations. When all these are joined together, they meet your concern that the conference should not reconvene at some future time.

"On the issue of the United Nations and the reconvening (of the conference), we studied various alternative proposals--the 'alternatives' that Jim promised to try, but without success. In this process, already based mainly on your conditions, we cannot sell anything less to your neighbours.

"King Hussayn is being asked mainly to deal with the PLO, the fundamentalists, and perhaps Syria, and he needs several tokens to which he can point. Honestly, he will not need those tokens and there will be no doubt about his ability to include Palestinians in a joint delegation if he can say that there will be a freeze in settlement activity the moment negotiations start.

"I call on you to consider that. If it is impossible, then we will require something like the compromise proposal that we worked out on the United Nations issue and the right of the conference to convene more than once. In any case, your interests will be looked after, and whatever the circumstances, these limited tokens will not influence the contents of the negotiations.

"You should also know that when we get closer to reaching an opportunity to issue invitations to a conference, we expect the Soviets to agree to the approach explained here.

"It is important that we focus on the significance of this effort: direct negotiations. I believe that we are able to get these negotiations going. It would be very difficult to understand somebody who chooses not to enter into direct bilateral or multilateral negotiations because of the two problems of modalities--which are still on the table. Modalities which, as I have said, cannot influence the negotiations themselves.

"I depend on you personally, Mr. Prime Minister, to help us bridge the gaps and get the negotiations started. With a joint effort, we have a chance to start direct negotiations and to establish real hope for a more tranquil future for the region. I cannot think of a better legacy for both of us to pass on to those who come after us."5/




Partial text of letter by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir
to President George Bush, date not given,6/
as published by the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on 10 June 1991


"...

"I will deal with the points you raised in your letter, which deal with the peace process with the candor and frankness called for in our special relationship.

"Our position, which is based on long experience, is that direct negotiations with each of the Arab States separately is not just a matter of technical procedure. It involves testing the intentions of the Arabs, who have still not changed, about their acceptance of Israel and reconciliation with it.

"With the particular logic of this part of the world, our neighbours are still looking for a process that will enable them in the end to claim that they did not recognize Israel's right to exist as a legitimate entity in the region. They therefore demand as wide-ranging an international character to the discussions as possible, as well as UN participation. That is the reason for their demand to define the aim of the peace process in terms such as an overall settlement, and not as peace agreements with Israel.

"Those are the reasons for our positions over the years, which each Arab Government interested in joining the peace process must undertake to discuss directly with Israel.

"An international conference will sabotage direct discussions and will prevent them form having any chance of succeeding. Any kind of call or reconvening of the conference will create the same negative results and will push the focus away from direct bilateral discussions. We know for a fact that that is the aim behind the Arab demand for continuation and UN participation.

"Within the framework of our peace initiative and in the exchange of views with Secretary Baker, we tried to take into account Arab sensitivities. We agreed to joint auspices to start direct discussions only in order to satisfy the Arab demand for what they call 'international legitimacy'; we agreed to joint auspices and a UN contribution because we feared that our agreement on those points would open the way to what would become an international conference with UN participation.

"We are keen to conduct peace talks with our Arab neighbours, though they continue to arm themselves unceasingly and do not hide the fact that those arms are meant to be used against us.

"We agree with you completely about the need to help King Hussayn and to encourage him to join the peace process. I continue to be convinced that Jordan is the most logical and reasonable partner for peace talks with us. Any assistance that can help in that direction will be welcomed.

"An understanding was reached that the Arab-Palestinian representatives would come from the region, that they would accept the two-track negotiations and the rapprochement in stages, and that they would be committed to live in peace with Israel. Those demands alone, however, do not guarantee the appointment of representatives who are trustworthy and are not in any way subservient to the PLO.

"That is vital because there can be no peace process with Israel if the PLO is involved. We believe that a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation is the best way to deal with the issue of the Arab Palestinian representation and to discuss with us a solution of the Arab Palestinian problem. In addition, the composition of the Palestinian part of the Jordanian-Palestinian delegation must be agreed to by us..."7/




Press Release, Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic
in Washington, D.C., 14 July 1991


The text of the press release reads as follows:
Political declaration, London Economic Summit 1991,
16 July 1991


The political declaration of the London Economic Summit entitled "Strengthening the international order" contains the following passage, para. 8:

Extracts from replies by President Hafez al-Assad to questions from journalists
following the visit of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Damascus on
17 July 1991, released in Arabic by the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic,
Washington, D.C., date not given


The following text of the extracts was translated at the United Nations:

Extracts from replies by Secretary of State James A. Baker and
Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara' to questions from journalists
following the meeting with President Hafez al-Assad on 18 July 1991,
as circulated by the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic,
Washington, D.C., on 19 July 1991


Circular No. 93, issued in Arabic by the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic in Washington, D.C. on 19 July 1991, contains in part the following text, as translated at the United Nations:

"...
Statement by President Bush and President Gorbachev
on the Middle East, Moscow, 31 July 1991


Following is the text of the statement as published in The New York Times:


* * *



Notes

1. Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report: Near East and South Asia, No. FBIS-NES-91-108, 5 June 1991, p. 17.

2. Ibid., No. FBIS-NES-91-112, 11 June 1991, pp. 7-8.

3. Ibid., No. FBIS-NES-91-116, 17 June 1991, p. 19.

4. End of May/beginning of June 1991; The New York Times of 19 July 1991 indicates 1 June 1991 as the date of the letter.

5. Ibid., No. FBIS-NES-91-122, 25 June 1991, p. 18-19.

6. Beginning of June 1991.

7. Ibid., No. FBIS-NES-91-112, 11 June 1991, pp. 27-28.

8. The New York Times of 1 August 1991, p. A11.

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