Israel, Jordan Eloquently Appeal for Vision, Reconciliation
THE two states most directly affected by decades of Middle East conflict yesterday declared their commitment to peace and eloquently appealed for the vision and reconciliation that would put an end to the use of force in the region.Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel and Jordanian Foreign Minister Kamal Abu Jaber balanced their recital of past grievances with indications of steps needed to reach a comprehensive regional settlement. Mr. Shamir spoke of the Jewish people's "unbreakable bond" with the land for four millenia. But he also called on the region to get quickly past ceremony to the bilateral and multilateral talks envisaged in the conference invitation. "We have agreed to precede such talks with this ceremonial conference," Shamir said, "but we hope that Arab consent to direct, bilateral talks indicates an understanding that there is no other way to peace." The Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians were to speak yesterday. The final session today was reserved for brief responses from each delegation. For Israelis, bilateral talks will imply "mutual acceptance." Shamir called the Arab rejection of Israel's existence "the root cause" of the region's conflict. Following Shamir, Mr. Jaber hammered home the Arab emphasis on settling the conflict according to international law. "This conference is about the credibility of international law, the United Nations Charter, and human rights," he said, referring to the international community's failure to enforce UN resolutions calling for Israel's withdrawal from lands acquired by force. Jaber also struck a balance, calling Israel's withdrawal from occupied Arab lands to be coupled with a "delineation of Israel's permanent borders." He cited the need to turn away from Arab rejectionists and "absolutist ideologues" who invoke ancient hatreds. Noting the symbolism of the selection of Spain to begin the negotiating process, Jaber reminded his audience of the role Arabs and Jews had played in Spain's development. "Perhaps the possibility of joint contributions is again at hand," he said. His comments echoed Shamir's suggestion that peace could lead to a more united regional community, a center of cultural, scientific, and technological creativity. Even as the conference moved yesterday into intense behind-the-scenes haggling on how to move to the second stage of bilateral talks, Shamir indicated that any Arab effort to focus discussions solely on territorial issues could still doom the peace process. "It will be regrettable if the talks focus primarily and exclusively on territory," the Israeli leader said. "It is the quickest way to an impasse." Israel is arguing for bilateral talks to take place in the countries concerned, in part as a way of making recognition by Arab states a fact. The Arabs, on the other hand, want the second stage to take place outside the Middle East and in some cases to include United States or other participation.