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Arafat Ready to Accept Israel in Trade for Talks

January 14, 1988|Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq — PLO leader Yasser Arafat said today he would recognize Israel's right to exist if Israel and the United States agreed to an international conference on Middle East peace.

"As this conference would be under U.N. auspices, that means the full legality . . . of all U.N. resolutions, including 242 and 338," Arafat said in an interview at the Palestine Liberation Organization's military headquarters in a Baghdad suburb.

Security Council Resolution 242, passed Nov. 22, 1967, recognizes Israel's right to exist. It was passed after Israel conquered Arab territory in the West Bank, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights of Syria.

Talks Tied to Resolution

The United States and Israel have said that the PLO's refusal to accept Resolution 242 ruled out direct negotiations with the organization in any Arab-Israeli peace talks.

Although Arafat has said in the past that he is willing to accept 242 as part of the package of U.N. resolutions on Palestine, he has always linked it to other conditions, one of which was the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people.

But today appeared to be the first time he has linked acceptance of 242 and other resolutions to the holding of an international conference "without preconditions."

The PLO had rejected Resolution 242 because, in addition to recognizing the Jewish state, it treated the Palestinian problem as one of refugees and did not refer to a Palestinian state.

Resolution 338 halted the October, 1973, Arab-Israeli war and called for implementation of 242.

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