Rival Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir rejected PLO chairman Yasser Arafat's acceptance of Israel as a bid to destroy the Jewish state and a publicity stunt.
"They (the PLO) can declare anything when their intention and ambition and philosophy - the destruction of the state of Israel - remains unchanged," Prime Minister Shamir told Israel television.He said the joint statement issued by Arafat and five American Jewish peace campaigners in Stockholm did not indicate any change in the Palestine Liberation Organization.
"I don't see any, I don't think I will ever see any meaningful change, because they formed to destroy the state of Israel. The day they will agree this is not possible and not desirable they will have to break up," Shamir added.
But Foreign Minister Peres urged the PLO to make a clear-cut declaration recognizing Israel's right to exist and denouncing terrorism.
He dismissed as an exercise in public relations the statement that aimed to clarify resolutions passed last month by the Palestine National Council (PNC), the Palestinian parliament-in-exile.
Unlike Shamir, who ruled out any possibility of talks with the PLO, Peres urged the organization to meet his demands.
"We need a clear-cut approach and a clear-cut declaration that there is an end to violence. We need the acceptance of (U.N. resolution) 242 . . . with its ambiguity on several of the outstanding issues, and we need a clear-cut recognition of the right of Israel to live in peace," Peres said.
Arafat said the condemnation of terrorism did not include anti-Israeli violence in the occupied territories. At least 329 Palestinians and 11 Israelis have died in the 2-year-old revolt.
Soldiers shot and wounded six Palestinians on Wednesday in the Gaza Strip and an Israeli soldier was slightly wounded while riding in a military bus.
Members of Peres's Labor party, who decide on Thursday whether they want to enter a unity government led by Shamir, attacked his reaction to Arafat's statement. Sha-mir's Likud party and its rightist and religious allies won a slight edge in November 1 elections.