Arafat's turn

Will Yasser Arafat of the PLO do anything to support the new mainstream Arab search for peaceful resolution of Middle East conflict? He had an opportunity on the weekend when he met with King Hussein of Jordan in the wake of President Reagan's holdback on future F-16 warplanes scheduled for Israel.

Mr. Arafat could have responded to this US gesture for getting Israel out of Lebanon, as well as to Mr. Reagan's reported phone call telling the King he was prepared to be tough with Israel to obtain peace. The PLO leader could have offered full backing of Jordan as representative of the Palestinians under Mr. Reagan's peace plan.

''We must not lose this golden chance for peace in the Middle East,'' said Egypt's President Mubarak, urging the Palestinians to let Jordan represent them.

But, instead of seizing the moment, Mr. Arafat went on talking about having an Arab summit meeting. As of this writing, mainstream Arab peace advocates were left to note that, although Arafat belittles the Reagan plan (''trying to hide the sun with one finger''), he has not rejected it. They say the US still has time, though not unlimited, to demonstrate it has clout with Israel.

It is Washington's credibility as a negotiator with Israel that Hussein also wants demonstrated before entering into talks. Jordanian sources have said Washington could gain credibility by achieving a freeze on new Israeli settlements on the West Bank and an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

Yes, as President Reagan often says, it takes two to tango. But now that Washington has started doing its stuff, Mr. Arafat risks being a permanent wallflower by failing to usher Jordan toward the dance floor.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK