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Mubarak Plan for Negotiations

March 21, 1985

G. H. Jansen's vituperative denunciation (Editorial Pages, March 8) of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's recent proposals for direct negotiations between Jordan and Israel, in concert with Egypt and the United States, is reminiscent of some reactions years ago to Anwar Sadat's initiative, which led to Camp David.

Indeed, Jansen explicitly cites the Camp David precedent, but as grounds for condemnation of Mubarak. Why should this be? And why the slander of the Egyptians as "stupid" and of Mubarak as "just a lesser Anwar Sadat"?

Recall that the Camp David Accord is the only successful peace treaty negotiations between Israel and one of her enemies since the founding of the Jewish state. We must therefore wonder why Jansen thinks Camp David an unwise "direction" in which to move. Recall too that Sadat was the only Arab head of state prepared to recognize Israel and to negotiate directly with her. Why should it not be a good idea to be like him?

Only from the Arab rejectionist perspective is the Camp David "direction" a dangerous one. Only from the radical rejectionist viewpoint is Sadat himself an enemy--from which one would do well to be different if staying alive is important.

If there is any shame to be apportioned in this business it is to Jansen, the tendentious journalist. He writes apparently neutral analysis from Cyprus while in fact carrying water for the most radical opponents of genuinely successful peace negotiations in the Middle East. Of course, his tendencies may be just coincidental. But I would wager that the degree to which Jansen finds shame in Mubarak's suggestions may be a reliable indication of their actual value to forwarding the peace process and their actual danger to the rejectionist position.

WILLIAM E. JOHNSTON JR.

Woodland Hills

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