[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 137
NOVEMBER 16 1988
”Their most dangerous aspect is that they [Arafat and his supporters] threaten the unity of our people inside the occupied territories and deal a blow to the unity of the land Palestine.”
Statement from the Fatah Uprising Guerrilla Group in Damascus — Nov. 16 1988
Today Arafat asserted that the high-level Palestinian political meeting has opened the door to peace in the Middle East.
”It was now up to the United States to revive the stalled negotiations,” Arafat stated.
”We feel that the ball is now in the American court. This could be the session of peace if the U.S. Administration and Israel wish it. ” Arafat added.
The Chairman of the PLO was speaking in English, clearly underlining that his message was intended for an American audience. In remarks opening the meeting of the Palestine National Council, Arafat explicitly called on President-elect Bush to take the initiative in pressing Israel for concessions.
At least 13 countries, most of them Arab or Muslim supporters of the Palestine Liberation Organizaton, extended diplomatic recognition today to the newly declared Palestinian state.
Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Southern Yemen, Malaysia, Mauritania, Turkey and Indonesia are among the countries that have announced that they now recognize the Palestinian State. Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco stopped short of extending diplomatic recognition but said they supported the move.
Governments in Europe reacted cautiously. Javier Perez de Cuellar, the United Nations Secretary General, welcomed the step by the Palestine National Council toward acceptance of Israel’s right to exist.
”The declaration opens fresh opportunities for peace,” Perez de Cuellar said.
Iran, Syria and Palestinian hardliners all criticized the declaration.
”The foundations of the state to be are unsound and unenduring,” Iran’s official press agency said.
”The road to liberation, just rights and peace is the road of struggle and refusal of any surrender in front of the enemy, ” a commentator on Syria state radio said today.
Syria backs Palestinian factions opposed to Arafat. Fatah Uprising guerrilla group in Damascus called the declaration a ”catastrophe”.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
13 COUNTRIES BACK PALESTINIAN MOVE — November 16, 1988
ARAFAT URGES U.S. TO PRESS ISRAELIS TO NEGOTIATE NOW — November 16, 1988