A Zionist initiative
Three Jewish elder statesmen have made an unprecedented statement in Paris calling for Israeli negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization which would lead to mutual Palestinian-Israeli recognition.
The three are Pierre Mendes France, a former prime minister of France; Nahum Goldmann, a former president of the World Zionist Organization and founder-president of the World Jewish Congress; and Philip M. Klutznick, president emeritus of the the World Jewish Congress and honorary president of B'Nai B'rith International.
The statement brought a positive response from Yasser Arafat, PLO chairman, and from Isam A. Sartawi, a member of the Palestine National Council, the PLO's ''parliament,'' a PLO representative in Paris, and a close confidant of Mr. Arafat.
The statement, now called by some observers the ''Paris declaration,'' was challenged by organized Jewish groups in the United States as being unrepresentative and unhelpful. Paris July 2, 1982 Peace need not be made between friends, but between enemies who have struggled and suffered. Our sense of Jewish history and the moral imperatives of this moment require us to insist that the time is urgent for mutual recognition between Israel and the Palestinian people. There must be a stop to the sterile debate, whereby the Arab world challenges the existence of Israel and Jews challenge the political legitimacy of the Palestinian fight for independence.
The real issue is not whether the Palestinians are entitled to their rights, but how to bring this about while ensuring Israel's security and regional stability. Ambiguous concepts such as ''autonomy'' are no longer sufficient, for they too often are used to confuse rather than to clarify. Needed now is the determination to reach a political accommodation between Israel and Palestinian nationalism.
The war in Lebanon must stop. Israel must lift its seige of Beirut in order to facilitate negotiations with the PLO, leading to a political settlement. Mutual recognition must be vigorously pursued. And there should be negotiations with the aim of achieving co-existence between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples based on self-determination. Pierre Mendes France, Nahum Goldmann, Philip M. Klutznick Paris July 2, 1982 The unprecedented statement issued today by three of the most important leaders of world Jewry has far-reaching significance. This statement contains an outline which could extricate us from the very grave crisis taking place today in Lebanon and must be viewed as a major contribution to a just and honorable peace in the Middle East.
Peace can only be concluded by the Palestinian people acting through their legitimate representative body, the PLO. But only a proud, strong and independent Palestinian leadership is capable of concluding such a peace.
The unique importance of the statement by these three courageous Jewish leaders is their recognition of this reality and their emphasis on the necessity for the peace process to be reciprocal.
I suggest that their wise insistence upon an honorable conclusion of the current conflict be urgently acted upon throughout the world. Isam A. Sartawi Beirut July 4, 1982 Coming at this precise moment from three Jewish personalities of great worth, worldwide reputation, and definite influence at all levels, both on the international scene and within their own community, that statement takes on a significant importance. I wish that they use their influence to put an end to the war of extermination to which the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples are subjected, and I invite them in these crucial and difficult days to visit the Palestinian camps in Lebanon so they can check by themselves the massacres and crimes committed by the Israeli forces. Yasser Arafat