We went to the meeting with (Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin with good intentions to find a solution to the pending issues which hamper the progress of negotiations on implementing the declaration of principles on the ground. Mr. Rabin came to the meeting after he had already declared that the implementation would not take place on the date fixed by the arrangement on 13 December.

The agreement stipulates that the Israeli forces withdraw from the Gaza Strip and the Area of Jericho. Instead of sticking to the text of the agreement, the Israeli side offered only to redeploy the Israeli forces in these two areas. Hence, the conflict ensued with the Israeli side and with Mr. Rabin on, first, who controls the passages and the bridges and, second, on the size of the area of Jericho.The agreement stipulates that, on the passages and bridges, there will be Palestinian supervision, international presence and Israeli coordination. This was rejected by the Israeli side, who claimed the supervision for itself. We have rejected this Israeli demand because it violates the agreement and means the transformation of the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area into a Bantustan or an "Indian reservation" whose keys for entry and departure would be in the hands of the Israeli side.

We consider this to be an insult to us and to the struggle of our Palestinian people to realize just peace and historical reconciliation with the people of Israel. No one will accept this grave violation of an international agreement that was made under the auspices of the USA and Federal Russia, and under the eyes of the world.

There is another disagreement between us on the meaning of outside security. We have accepted that outside security to be under Israeli supervision. However, we have not accepted that Israeli soldiers would be stationed on our borders because that, then, will transform us into an Israeli suzerainty.

Outside security, in our view and according to international law, means that Israel will provide for the security of our borders if these were threatened by a danger from any party, because that threatens its own security as well. This does not give Israel the right to deploy its forces on our borders, as the Israeli side demands. We have proposed to have tripartite Israeli, international and Palestinian patrols.

The disagreement on the size of the area of Jericho shows really how intransigent Israel is. The size of the area of Jericho under the Israeli administration was 720 square kilometers. We have accepted that its size should be around 340 square kilometers on the basis of drawing a line 32 kilometers long on the Jordan River and 10 kilometers in depth into the Jericho area. On the longitude line are the three bridges which are the passages to it from Jordan.

The Israeli side offered only 27 square kilometers for the size of Jericho. This is not acceptable for us because it means that they are giving us only a ghetto. Who can accept a ghetto?

We told the Israeli side that we are ready to coordinate with them on security matters to alleviate their fears. They can use the most advanced technology of observation. Both of us can agree to bring in international forces or from any foreign country which they trust, like the USA or Canada or Norway or any other European country.

In our meeting in Cairo, we agreed with Mr. Rabin not to make statements on the issues we discussed. No sooner had we left than the officials in Israel escalated their statements, which are not in the interest of finding an acceptable settlement to these issues.

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If Mr. Rabin thinks he has to accommodate his public, then we have also to take into consideration the legitimate needs of the Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and Christian public opinions.

We want to find a quick solution to these problems and implement the declaration of principles on the ground so that to be able to establish just peace for our people, the Israeli people and the peoples of the area, and to put an end to the Israeli occupation of our land and people.

1993 Global Viewpoint

Dist. by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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