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U.S. Decision to Establish Dialogue With the PLO

December 24, 1988

The U.S. decision to establish a severely limited dialogue with the PLO (Part I, Dec. 16) has produced a euphoria among Palestinians, other Arabs and in the United Nations that may well prove to be unwarranted. This is because Yitzhak Shamir and his ruling Likud Party unequivocally refuse to deal with the PLO, and the United States lacks the clout to induce a change in their position.

Accordingly, Shamir could well continue to stonewall to avoid negotiations with the PLO, meanwhile retaining possession of the occupied territories. He could continue to dismiss the PLO as terrorists and offer to deal with "responsible Palestinian leaders" outside the PLO, knowing full well that no such politically influential leaders exist. To underscore his political resolve, he might increase military pressure on Palestinians in the occupied territories and in Lebanon.

The results of such Israeli conduct would be predictable. The Palestinians in the occupied territories want a political return for their intifada , which has cost them more than 300 lives and thousands of wounded and imprisoned. If such a return is not forthcoming, it's likely they would renounce Arafat in favor of more radical PLO leaders who have already predicted failure for Arafat's moderate approach.

Thus, Palestinian terrorism could reappear, fulfilling the prophesies of Shamir and his American supporters.

BRYCE F. DENNO

Coronado

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