RABIN TV INTERVIEW

(Communicated by GPO News Department)

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin broadcast on Israel TV’s ‘Mabat’ evening news on Feb. 15, 1994:

Q: How do you relate to what was published in Time magazine to the effect that you have already conceded the Golan Heights and that Israel is interested in reaching an agreement with Syria before the Palestinians?

PM Rabin: Regretfully, even if I believe that Syria wants peace, according to its behavior, Syria is not doing what is necessary in order to truthfully demonstrate to the Israeli people that it has genuinely turned towards peace.

I will give a small example. MK [Abd al-Wahab] Daroushe wanted to go to Syria with a group of Israeli Arabs to express condolences to President Assad on the death of his son. [Assad] did not respond positively. I think that if the Syrian Government had answered positively, it would have been an expression of a change in the [Syrian] attitude to Israel, even if the Israelis concerned were not Jewish. MK Daroushe was elected as a Knesset member; he represents the Knesset.

I think that Syria must do much more, both from the point of view of the level at which the negotiations are conducted, as well as that of demonstrating their shift towards peace to the Israeli people, apart from what is needed for the negotiations themselves. I do not expect that Assad will dare to do what President Sadat did during his visit to Jerusalem, but there is still much to be done in order to demonstrate the Syrian government’s desire for peace.