Israel Foreign Ministry Response to "Al-Quds" Committee Meeting

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
March 29, 1997

In view of the growing amount of information regarding the "Al-Quds" Committee’s decisions, both public and confidential, taken during its conference in Rabat and dealing with the future of the relations between the Arab countries and Israel, Foreign Ministry Director-General Eitan Bentsur issued the following statement yesterday (Saturday), 29.3.97:

"Israel views the decisions of the Al-Quds Committee taken in Rabat — including the call to Arab countries to reconsider their relations with Israel — to be a blow to the peace process and an additional obstacle in its path. The achievements of the peace [process] thus far — including Israel’s ties with Arab countries — were the result of direct negotiations. Normalization must be an integral part of the peace process; it cannot be neglected and replaced by dictates and threats. Normalization is an asset for the entire region, for its development and its prosperity, and it cannot serve, alternately, as a carrot and stick against Israel.

Israel expects responsible regional leaders — the foreign ministers of the Arab League meeting tomorrow (Sunday), 30.3.97, in Cairo — to act quickly and with the greatest responsibility, to call for an immediate cessation of terrorism, to halt the rhetorical escalation, and to contribute to a real advancement of the understandings between the parties within the frameworks for direct negotiations; this, as a part of a sincere effort to overcome the obstacles, calm the atmosphere, and refrain from threats and incitement.

The decisions of the Al-Quds Committee, and [those which were taken] in Islamabad, as well as the activity at the United Nations, only serve to push the goal of peace further away, instead of drawing it closer."