Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 15, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Friday, November 15, 1974 Breaking the log-jam Neither the talk given by Yasser Arafat, the Palestine Liberation Organization leader, nor the debate initiated by it in the United Nations is of great significance. The Middle East situation is not going to be settled in the UN; it will be settled only if the Palestinians and the Israelis find a way to enter into negotiations. The hope of such negotiations taking place would appear to be exceedingly slim at the present time. Israel adamant- ly refuses to talk with PLO represen- tatives on any terms. This is understand- able. The PLO. is a terrorist organization with an avowed aim of liquidating Israel. Even the thought of negotiating with such an organization must be repugnant. Yet there doesn't seem to be any alter- native except to enter into discussions with the PLO. The Palestinians have to be dealt with and there is no other group representing them. The PLO has moderated to some-ex- tent from what it was in the beginning. Having retreated somewhat from ex- tremism it might be persuaded to abandon completely the terrorist activi- ty and renounce the objective of liq- uidating Israel. These are undertakings that Israel might ask of the PLO as a basis for talks, as the Israeli minister of information actually proposed. There have been terrorist leaders in the past who have developed into respec- table people. The Israelis have one of them in their midst in the person of Mr. Menachem Begin, who once led the terrorist Irgun group. Such a transfor- mation could occur in Yasser Arafat and may have started, if his temperate talk at the UN can be taken as an indication. Perhaps the Israelis can be persuaded to take the risk of anticipating a continu- ing moderation on the part of Arafat and the PLO. Pressure to do so may come from allies. That course could open the way for some yielding also on the part of other nations in the Middle East. The responsibility for breaking the log-jam isn't Israel's alone. Madness mounting Nothing quite approaches the arms selling business for sheer madness. While frantic efforts are being made diplomatically to avert another war in the Middle East, arms are being sold to any country that will buy them. The Washington Post reports that the United States is now sending a mission to Saudi Arabia to hold what are eu- phemistically described as bilateral dis- cussions of security co operation. This means that Americans are going there to sell weapons. No skill in salesmanship will be re- quired by members of the mission. Saudi Arabia is nervous about the fact that its large neighbor across the Persian Gulf, Iran, has been buying armaments at an awesome rate from the United States, incidentally. Added to that kind of motivation is the possession of more money than Saudi Arabia knows what to do with, the result of high oil prices. Iran is currently spending about billion a year on American arms alone. The Shah has taken delivery of 155 F-4 Phantom fighter bombers, with 40 more on order. He has also ordered (at million apiece) 80 of the even faster swing-wing F-14 fighter. Now the U.S. is going to help Saudi Arabia, whose military strength is perhaps one fourth Iran's, to catch up. In addition to the possibility that Iran and Saudi Arabia might use these weapons on each other, there is the dan- ger that the arms might be transferred to countries on Israel's border. American law prohibits any transfer of American weapons to other armies, but if another Arab-Israeli war does erupt the chances of leakage of arms would be very high. There really isn't any way the U.S. can enforce its law against transfer at any time, let alone in a time of war. Undoubtedly the scramble to sell arms in the Middle East the U.S. is merely one of the suppliers is part of the in- dustrial countries' increasingly desperate attempt to pay their oil bills. Yet selling the oil states expensive military equipment may be a factor in keeping oil prices high so that more guns, tanks and planes can be bought in the future. And if war comes again to the Middle East it would likely mean an end of oil shipments. So the policy of selling arms in that part of the world really doesn't make much sense. U.S. Senator George McGovern has proposed at the World Food Conference in Rome that 10 per cent of military spending in all countries be earmarked for the war on hunger. The proposal is not apt to get any farther than most of the senator's well meaning programs. Feeding the starving is not a strong enough motivation for changing policies on arms selling; only the realization of the self destructive implications of such policies is likely to suffice. The signs of such realization dawning on governments are as little evident as the willingness to go all out to feed the hungry THE CASSEROLE Perhaps that New York judge knew what he was doing when he rejected a plea to bar the Palestine Liberation Organization represen- tatives from entering the U.S. The plea was based on the contention that the PLO was "linked to terrorist killings." If he had accepted that argument, he'd be in an awkward spot when someone sued to have the CIA declared unfit to remain in the U S. no direct communication between their con- stitutents and the department. Makes you think, eh' The provincial department of education wanted to set up what the minister called "a referral and information service of some kind, in order that students, parents and citizens can quickly receive anrwers to education questions that bother and perplex them School trustees opposed the idea so vigorously that it was dropped. They wanted A nationwide campaign has been launched in Britain to save the village ponds, resulting in 500 of them being registered for conserva- tion efforts. Once a pond is registered, refuse is removed and water cleaned and made habitable for ducks, swans, geese, natural flora and fauna and fish. The remain- ing village ponds, once a vital part of England's rural economy providing clay, gravel, fish and fowl, have been disappearing at the rate of 100 a week. The campaign is backed by the British Waterfowl Association and the Ford Motor Company Brotherly love By Doug Walker Saturday lunches at our house are often very informal We had a lunch recently that was more haphazard than usual. About the time I was finished and was contemplating removing myself for some other enterprise I was surprised to see a fresh supply of boiled wieners arrive on the table. Paul began to look a little anxious as the quantity rapidly diminished and finally ex- claimed. "I've only had one wiener, pass them this way. please." Somewhat mockingly. I took up his cause saying. "Give the poor boy a wiener or he's apt to waste away to nothing." "I wish he would." said Keith Its had little ones! Israel's critical issue By Colin Legum, London Observer commentator LONDON The Israelis and the Arabs are agreed on only one point: that there can be no final peace in the Middle East until the future of the Palestinians has been settled; but there is a fundamental and seemingly irreconcilable dis- agreement about who should be involved in the negotiations to decide their future. Notwithstanding the recent Arab Summit decision that Yasser Arafat is the only authorized negotiator for the Palestinians, the Israeli cabinet has again expressed its determination not to negotiate on any terms with the Palestine Liberation Organization The Israelis insist that the PLO is a "terrorist" organization committed to li- quidating the Jewish state; in- stead of Arafat, they pin their hopes on being able to reach an agreement with King Hus- sein of Jordan and with the in- dependent Palestinian leaders of the occupied territories in the West Bank of Gaza How credible are these hopes? The Israelis make two im- portant assumptions First, that King Hussein can effec- tively act as a spokesman for the Palestinians: and secondly, that the Palestinians in the occupied territories can negotiate without the PLO becoming in- volved. They claim that the PLO has failed to get a real foothold among the Palestinians in the occupied territories, and that those liv- ing on the West Bank in Gaza have an overriding interest in achieving a peace settlement which will link their future to that of Jordan. My talks with a cross sec- tion of Arab leaders in the main towns of the West Bank suggest that the Israeli assessment is probably wrong on two major counts. First, there appears to be an overwhelming, almost violent, rejection of King Hus- sein as an acceptable Palesti- nian spokesman, and of any link with the present Hashemite Kingdom Second, although there may be no effective PLO machinery in the West Bank, the PLO spirit seems to be extremely strong; there is, at least among the Arab intellectuals, strong allegiance to Yassir Arafat. At one point Mr. Ali Mahmoud Al Khatib, editor of A-Shaab of East Jerusalem, said- "The conflict between us will be finished when the Israelis agree to live with us as neighbors. There could be two states; Palestine and Israel, but at least on the fron- tiers agreed under the 1947 partition This willingness to accept as the ultimate step some kind of independence for Palestine and for Israel runs contrary to the PLO charter which pledges Palestinians to eliminate totally the Jewish state. But I found with all the Palestinians I talked to that, despite the vehemence of their criticisms of Israel, there was a realistic accep- tance that at the end of the day they envisaged the con- tinued existence of Israel as a separate, independent state. While Mr Al Khatib failed to detect any difference in the attitude between Israeli doves and hawks, a Nablus group (with one exception) said they saw promise in the emergence of an Israeli group of politicians who seemed to understand Palestinian aspirations. They were par- ticularly impressed by a statement made by General Aharon Yariv, the Israeli minister of information, who had suggested that Israel should be ready to negotiate with the PLO subject to cer- tain conditions. Among the conditions he laid down were that the PLO should publicly repudiate its objective of li- quidating the Jewish state, and they should abandon their policy of local and inter- national terrorism. "That statement by Yariv gave us some said a Na'b'lus doctor, "but it was short lived since the Israeli prime minister almost im- mediately repudiated his minister of information." Although the PLO seems to have little real support in Hebron (still dominated by its traditional leader, Sheikh Al Sabri) or in Christian Bethlehem, or in the sleepy hollow of Jericho, its spirit pervades much of the West Bank It is difficult to see an alternative political leadership to the PLO. Gaza, on the other hand, seems to have developed its own "city state" nationalism. King Hussein's position has been deeply eroded: now, out- side of some of the leading older families who still defend the idea of a federal link with Jordan, there is real hatred for his policies. My over-all impression is that any policy which rejects the Yariv approach as a basis to begin talks with the PLO and which rests instead on finding some accommodation with King Hussein, is bound to fail. Peace in the Middle East depends, therefore, on both the Israelis and the PLO being persuaded to drop their more intransigent positions as a prerequisite for the kind of negotiations that could give both sides the substance of their separate sovereignties. Few options left By Eva Brewster, freelance writer COUTTS Whether, one looks to Palestine for peace or, as most countries and peo- ple now do, for oil and relief from the world's economic woes, we are not likely to get either. Certainly, we are liv- ing in a fools' paradise if we believe peace, oil and economic security can be bought by, once again, per- mitting the almost certain destruction of the Jewish people. One can only marvel at the narrow view generally taken of the now very serious Middle East situation. Since my recent return from Israel, I was surprised by the number of people who believing they are facing reality analyze and pre- judge Israel's actions. Nearly every comment ends with the revealing statement. "Americans might not be sympathetic to Israel's in- flexibility in the face of Egyp- tian reasonableness, par- ticularily when a new war would mean another oil crisis." What, in fact, does the situation look like from the centre of where the action is' Let there be no doubt that the Arabs' goal was, and still is, to destroy Israel but, if that is of little interest to the average Canadian, the wider and more far reaching aims of the Arab world will be if we continue taking a ringside seat and, out of fear for our economic future, condemn Israel's stand whatever she does or does not do. The beleaguered little nation has few options left. Israelis have no illusion that Egypt's apparent reason- ableness amounts to nothing more than a smoke screen since, in spite of offers to, individually, negotiate Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai, Egypt still insists that peace would finally depend on Israel's total withdrawal from all occupied Arab territory and recognition of the PLO. The fact that President Sadat asked the UN to vaccate buildings and land on the East Bank of the Suez Canal presumably to make room for construction workers is reminiscent of Nassar's similar demand for UN withdrawal before the 1967 war. The results of U Thant's speedy acquiescence at that time is still too vivid a memory with most Israelis to make them feel easier about Egypt's intentions. Syria's massive new pile-up of sophisticated Soviet weapons made Israel more determined than ever not to withdraw from the Golan and. where there were only three army settlements negotiable before last year's October war there are now 17 communal villages and numerous individual settlements forming a solid line of fortified, permanent defence posts from Mount Hermon to Jordan's borders. While Israel was very will- ing to negotiate for peace with all or individual Arab nations and was prepared to give up all but the most essential areas of defence, she is not prepared to sit down with Arafat and his merry throng of PLO hijackers, assassins and cut throats who are sworn to never recognize Israel's right to exist. The Arabs knew full well that PLO participation in the UN assembly would be un- acceptable to Israel and there cannot be a shadow of a doubt that the decision reached at Rabat to make the PLO the sole representative of all Palestinians would postpone, if not prevent altogether, further peace negotiations. With their fantastic new wealth and power, the Arab nations have nothing to gain by compromising. They fully expect to soon rule the world by economic pressure anyway. Few individuals can im- agine the far reaching effect or. for that matter, the fabulous amount of money ac- cumulated from oil income. To bandy about figures such as billion annual profit Arab nations are making or the more than billion they hoarded in gold reserves would therefore mean little to any of us. What we must begin to understand is the danger to our way of life when these Arab nations are becoming the major industrial investors of the world. It would take a better qualified economist than me to spell out in simple terms the meaning to us of Arab nations having already bought up controlling shares in the two largest American banks and in any number of major industrial concerns all over the world. Never having known anything but a feudal system that has no pity for, or understanding of, starving masses anywhere, they would show little concern if, by the stroke of a pen. they reduced all other nations to serfdom, was it in their interest to do so. If the U.S. were indeed moving to accept what some U.S. and Arab officials call "the new they would sign the death warrant to our democratic way of life. Israel is not prepared to make that sacrifice and feels she has nothing more to lose Every Israeli expects his na- tion to fight to the last man, woman and child as did his forefathers on the Massada mountain fortress and they all expect this to happen very soon. The Jewish people have little hope of getting much help from an outside world paralyzed by fear of punitive Arab oil embargoes and Rus- sian intervention. In Israeli opinion, the developed in- dustrial nations have turned into (I quote) "spineless wonders" and Israelis have therefore become almost in- different to world opinion and will take any steps they deem necessary for their survival. That includes their intention to, this time, strike first. In view of this determina- tion not to be pressured into defeat, we may not see the hoped for peace nor help for our economic troubles coming out of the Middle East and. at this point, it seems only a question of timing for the prophecies of an Armageddon to become a reality. Yet. like Israel, we too have few op- tions left if we cannot make a determined stand for our democratic way of life in preference to a world of Rus- sian Gulags (corrective labor camps) or total economic sub- jugation to the whims of oil producing sheikdoms. Pro-PLO resolution assured in UN By Paul Whitelaw. Herald Washington commentator UNITED NATIONS. N.Y. If there were no surprises in the appearance here of Yasser Arafat, there is only slightly more suspense over the out- come of the UN General Assembly debate on Palestine. The mathematics of UN the over- whelming majority of assembly votes in the hands of Arab. African and other Third World assures passage of whatever resolution is eventually put forward by the Arab bloc. The only uncertainty is whether such a surely anti-Israeli and pro- be "reasonable" enough to have any realistic effect on the situation in the Middle East In other words, what some diplomats here are wondering is whether the debate during the next week will result in a resolution so strident that a significant minority of nations will feel obliged to vote against it, or abstain. Almost certainly, any resolution can it will mean little if it does not receive near-unanimous approval of so-called Third World countries. Such a docu- ment would be worth even less if few or none of the major in- dustrial their corresponding military and political they can go along. An inflamatory. pro-PLO resolution might increase the political respectability of the terrorist organization in some international circles, but it would have virtually no short- term effect on negotiations with Israel and the fate of Palestinian refugees. Part of the answer, of course, will become clearer during the next week of debate But it is reasonable to speculate that such a docu- ment the very to not imply the disappearance of Israel as a sovereign state It might be acceptable if it strongly en- dorsed the Palestinian cause while calling for Israel to cede some, but obviously not all, territory to the stateless Arab refugees The disappearance of Israel as an independent, Jewish na- tion is the aim of Mr. Arafat's call for a single Palestinian state "where Christian, Jew and Moslem live in justice, equality, fraternity and pro- gress." A number of Arabs here, both diplomats and jour- nalists, point out that the im- mediate aim here of the PLO is to establish itself on the diplomatic map. In that regard, it will undoubtedly succeed the corner stone of "respectability" having been laid by Mr. Arafat's address Wednesday. No one who watched and lis- tened to the applause which interrupted the PLO leaders speech could doubt the senti- ment of the majority of the general assembly's voting delegates The only suspense is one of the UN make a realistic attempt to end the suffering of both the Palestinians and Israelis'' Or will it be content to trade fiery rhetoric for international im- potence, which is more fre- quently the case? The lethbrtdge Herald 504 7th SI S Lethbrtope Alberts LETMBRIDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors arwS f Second Claw Registration No 001? CLEO MOWERS Editor and Publisher DON H PILLING Managing Editor ROY 1 0ONALD R DORAM General MILES Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M BARNE7T Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"