New PLO stance toward Israel?

The Palestine Liberation Organization told the United States it is prepared to recognize the state of Israel, according to a high-ranking PLO official.

The official, involved in the negotiations over the Lebanon crisis, requested anonimity, but said the PLO informed the US of its stand through the French government, Monitor contributor James Dorsey reports.

The PLO hopes that the French-Egyptian initiative in the United Nations Security Council aimed at a resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal and mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO will offer not only a way out of the Israeli siege of west Beirut, but also a basis for a comprehensive solution of the Mideast conflict.

The PLO, the official said, is prepared to accept a new resolution which embodies the principles of Resolution 242, recognizes the Palestinian right of self-determination, and calls for simultaneous recognition of each other's rights by the Israelis and the Palestinians.

If Israel rejects the PLO proposals, the official said, the Palestinians are prepared to recognize Israel in exchange for an official PLO office in Washington and the establishment of immediate and direct contacts between the PLO and the US.

The PLO position is expected to figure prominently this week in discussions between the US and an official Arab delegation visiting Washington. The delegation of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud and Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul Halim Khaddam may also include Khalid Hassan, a ranking PLO diplomat.

Mr. Hassan is viewed by the Arabs as a full member of the delegation, but according to Arab diplomatic sources, will be treated by the US administration only as an adviser to the Arab ministers. The US rejects direct contacts with the PLO as long as the Palestinians do not publically recognize Israel.

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