Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Monday he would "absolutely not negotiate" with Palestinian leaders who met with Secretary of State James Baker, and he rebuked a member of his Cabinet for suggesting that Israel would consider territorial concessions to Syria.
"According to my view, the representatives who met with Baker are PLO people, they came in the name of the PLO," Shamir said."Israel will absolutely not negotiate with the PLO, how can we then negotiate with PLO people?" Shamir said.
Baker, on a three-day visit to Israel last week, met with a delegation of leaders from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, who were approved beforehand by the Palestine Liberation Organization in Tunis.
U.S officials have suggested that a number of the leaders including Faisal Husseini of East Jerusalem, Mayor Elias Freij of Bethlehem and Saeb Erakat of Jericho, have the stature to enter into negotiations with Israel on the future of the occupied territories.
To muzzle the outpouring of criticism within his own Likud Party and among members of his right-wing coalition partners who opposse any territorial concessions, Shamir's office issued a message to Jewish settlers on the Golan saying he had no intention of giving up parts of it in future negotiations with Syria.