ARABS-ISRAEL - Mar. 12 - Dismay Over League's Declaration.
FM David Levy says the "double talk of war and peace casts a shadow on the real intentions of the participants in their relationship to the peace process". Levy says Israeli security would not rest "on the mercy or the decisions of the Arab League". (The semi-annual meeting of the League was moved to Beirut to show support for Lebanon following the Israeli attacks and gave Syria the show of support it had been seeking. It convened after Washington orchestrated a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks later March, but Israeli-Syrian talks remain suspended over the fate of the Golan Heights. Israel's decision a week ago to leave its south Lebanon occupation zone by July with or without a treaty - threatening to weaken Syria's hand in talks to recover the heights - has increased uncertainty over reviving Israeli-Syrian talks.) Former Israeli PM Shimon Peres says the Arab League declaration was "stupid" and damaged chances for peace. Peres says: "If he [Syrian Pres. Hafez Al Assad] wants peace, he must modify his positions, he must compromise, otherwise there will not be peace". As the Arab League meeting convened, Lebanese Pres. Emile Lahoud was quoted as warning Israel against pulling out of Lebanon unless it was part of a wider peace deal.
Lahoud told the London-based 'Al-Hayat' newspaper: "An Israeli unilateral withdrawal will not work. It will lead to another war". Peres says the position was beyond understanding. He says: "In all my life I've never heard of a country ... which wants to put an end to an occupation, being threatened: " Woe betide if you get out of there. Have you ever heard of anything like that in history"? Justice Minister Yossi Beilin calls Syrian logic "the sort of thing that can only be explained, perhaps, with the surrealism of Fellini". (Lahoud's views echo those of Syria, which dominates foreign policy in Lebanon. Syria and Lebanon have made clear they will not guarantee a peaceful border with Israel if it leaves without a broader agreement.)
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Recorder|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Mar 18, 2000|
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