PLO Panel Approves Provisional Government
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The PLO’s executive panel has approved the establishment of a provisional government in Israeli-occupied territories, a senior Palestinian official said.
Bassam Abu Sharif, a spokesman for PLO chief Yasser Arafat, also called on the United States to support the formation of an independent Palestinian state.
″The Executive Committee has approved the idea of the provisional government and it will be endorsed by the PNC (Palestine National Council),″ Abu Sharif told a news conference Monday in Baghdad.
The Palestine National Council, parliament-in-exile of the Palestine Liberation Organization, is scheduled to meet next month in Algeria.
A high-level PLO delegation met today in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria with President Hosni Mubarak, the state-run Middle East News Agency said.
The delegation discussed the idea of a provisional government in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip Monday with Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel- Meguid, delegation member Abdullah Horani said.
At the Baghdad news conference, Abu Sharif said the PNC would explore the idea of demanding independence for the West Bank and Gaza, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, and the creation of a Palestinian state.
The territories have been plagued for the last eight months by a Palestinian rebellion, or ″intefadah″ in Arabic, that has claimed the lives of more than 240 Palestinians and four Israelis since Dec. 8.
″This (independent) state has been the target of the intefadah and the Council will thoroughly examine the possibility of its declaration soon,″ Abu Sharif said.
He said ″the U.S. administration should support ... U.N. resolutions which call for the setting up of a Palestinian state.″
Israel has denounced all attempts to declare Palestinian independence or set up a state in occupied territory. It refuses to talk to the PLO, which it views as a terrorist group.
Abu Sharif also said the PLO would compensate Palestinians left jobless after Jordan’s King Hussein late last month announced he was cutting legal and administrative ties with the West Bank and Gaza.
Recent PLO appeals for a dialogue with Israel have provoked debate in the Jewish state over the sincerity of the statements.
Last month Abu Sharif indicated the PLO may adopt the idea of peace talks based on recognition of Israel’s right to exist. On Sunday, Salah Khalaf, deputy chairman of Arafat’s Fatah wing, made a similar statement in the Paris- based Journal du Dimanche.
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, head of the center-left Labor Party, demanded Monday that the PLO present a clear-cut position.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who heads the right-wing Likud bloc, dismissed Khalaf’s statements as a tactical move aimed at Israel’s destruction.
A Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said officials would ″study attentively″ the text of the Khalaf interview.