NICOSIA, Cyprus — The PLO's Executive Committee on Tuesday rejected a reported Israeli plan to grant limited autonomy to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and allow them to elect their own representatives.
The 15-member ruling body of the Palestine Liberation Organization called the idea a "new maneuver aimed at diverting world attention away from Palestinian peace overtures."
On Monday, the Israeli newspaper Maariv said that Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir planned to propose an Egyptian role in getting negotiations started between Israel and a joint delegation of Palestinians and representatives from Jordan.
The aim of such talks would be to reach an interim agreement for Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza, the newspaper said.
3-Day Baghdad Meeting
The PLO comments came in a statement issued a day after the Executive Committee ended a three-day meeting in Baghdad, Iraq. The statement said Palestinians will not endorse any settlement that falls short of the formation of an independent state to co-exist with Israel.
The PLO cautioned world opinion "against falling for the latest Israeli trick" and stressed: "Israel must withdraw from the occupied territories, which must be placed under United Nations supervision for an interim, transitional period."
The PLO has repeatedly rejected the idea of limited autonomy for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East War.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens, trying to draw Jordan into a Middle East peace initiative, sent King Hussein a message Tuesday through Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), saying Jordan is an important negotiating partner.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, meanwhile, said Israel is working through its Cairo embassy to bring Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Israel but will accept no preconditions for a visit.
In Cairo, Egypt's Deputy Foreign Minister Butros Butros Ghali said Mubarak is prepared to visit Israel if Israel is ready to start a dialogue with the PLO. Israel's new government vowed last week not to negotiate with the PLO.
Arens asked Rockefeller, who is visiting the region, to tell King Hussein that Israel attaches great importance to the monarch's viewpoints and advice, a ministry spokesman said.
Israeli analysts said the move was an attempt to respond to growing pressure to offer an alternative to peace moves by the PLO, which Israel regards as a terrorist organization.
Shamir has announced that he will unveil a peace initiative in coming weeks and said Mubarak would be welcome in Israel.
Shamir has also named Jordan as a key figure in his peace plan, which aides say will be based on an updating of the 1978 Camp David Accords with Egypt.
Hussein cut legal and administrative ties with the Israeli-occupied West Bank last July, saying Palestinians who have been staging an uprising against Israeli rule in the occupied territories have made clear that they want only the PLO to represent them.