Exhbit J: Disavow Attacks on Israelis, Clinton Warns P.L.O. Chief
Copyright 1993 The New York Times Company - The New York Times
November 13, 1993, Saturday, Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section 1; Page 7; Column 5; Foreign Desk
LENGTH: 859 words
HEADLINE: Disavow Attacks on Israelis, Clinton Warns P.L.O. Chief
BYLINE: By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, Special to The New York Times
DATELINE: WASHINGTON, Nov. 12
Worried about eroding Israeli public support for the accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, President Clinton and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel called on the P.L.O. chairman, Yasir Arafat, to condemn recent Arab attacks on Jewish settlers, saying he was duty-bound to do so.
President Clinton planned to use the visit of the Israeli Prime Minister to the White House today to highlight a package of economic and military benefits that Washington was offering Israel, in hopes that it would make the Israeli public more comfortable with the notion of trading land for peace with Syria in the near future, and thereby widening the circle of peace.
Mr. Clinton promised that the United States would not cut its annual $3 billion in assistance to Israel and that it would help Israel use loan guarantees to finance the cost of Israeli troop withdrawals from Gaza and Jericho. He also said the United States was rewriting American export laws to allow Israel and other countries to buy advanced computers for military uses and that it was ready to sell Israel more military aircraft.
Firming Up the Accord
But in their talks and joint news conference the two leaders dealt as much with how to consolidate the Israel-P.L.O. agreement as with prospects for widening the circle of peace around Israel.
The Israeli Army said today that it had arrested five members of Mr. Arafat's own Fatah organization from the West Bank on charges of involvement in the killing of a Jewish settler on Oct. 29.
"We consider it a great and dangerous violation of the commitment of the P.L.O.," Mr. Rabin said of the Fatah link to the attack. "In the letter that was signed by the chairman of the P.L.O. to me, he committed himself to renounce and reject terrorism. Keeping commitments is the basis for the advancement of peace. We will keep our commitments. We demand then that they keep their commitments, and to come out openly in renouncing and taking the discipline measures" to which Mr. Arafat has committed.
Mr. Clinton also endorsed this view.
"I agree with what the Prime Minister said," Mr. Clinton declared. "I think that Chairman Arafat now, under the terms of the agreement, is duty-bound at a minimum to condemn it. I think we all recognize that he may not have total control over everyone who acts in the name of Fatah, but he is now bound by the terms, the clear terms of the agreement to condemn it."
Concern About the Pace
Mr. Clinton also expressed concern that Mr. Arafat has been slow to set up the economic and security institutions that the P.L.O. requires to begin implementing the agreement with Israel by a Dec. 13 deadline. But the President expressed some understanding for Mr. Arafat's plight, noting that the P.L.O. is not a state, still lacks many basic institutions and therefore is entitled to a certain degree of patience.
"I wish that the pace had been more rapid," Mr. Clinton said, "but I think it is important to recognize that the P.L.O. itself, by its very nature, by the nature of its organization and its activities over the last many, many years, has never had the responsibility of going through the mechanics that have to be discussed in this agreement. You know -- how do the lights get turned on in the morning, how is the food distributed, how are the houses built, how are these things done.
"So I think, in fairness, I would be quite concerned if I thought that the fact that we're a little bit slow in the pace here was the result of some sort of deliberate desire to undermine an accord they had just signed off on. At the present moment, I really believe it is more a function of the whole organization not being organized for or experienced in the work in which they must now engage."
While President Clinton said, "We are working on an agreement to make available a number of planes to the Israelis," Israeli officials said they still have not decided which aircraft they want. They are likely to purchase some top-of-the-line F-15E's, which have the capability to fly from Israel to Iraq or Iran, and some older F-16's being decommissioned by the United States Air Force, officials said.
President Clinton made clear that he was seriously considering Mr. Rabin's request to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life term for spying for Israel. Mr. Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy, was arrested in 1985 for passing classified information to the Israelis. The intelligence agencies and the Justice Department have been hostile to the idea of commuting the sentence of Mr. Pollard, who was paid thousands of dollars for his services by Israel. But Mr. Clinton left himself a lot of room to maneuver.
"I explained that under our procedure here, I cannot make a decision on the Pollard case until the Justice Department makes a recommendation to me," he said. "Under the U.S. Constitution, I do not have to follow the recommendation of the Justice Department, but under our procedure I have to get one. When I get one, which won't be too long in the future, I will then review it and make a decision."
LOAD-DATE: November 14, 1993