PLO chairman Yasser Arafat on Tuesday offered a three-point peace plan calling for negotiations with Israel at an international peace conference and U.N. supervision of Israeli-occupied territories.
In a long-awaited speech to a special session of the U.N. General Assembly, Arafat referred specifically to Israel several times and directly appealed to Israeli leaders to join peace talks."I ask the leaders of Israel to come here, under the sponsorship of the United Nations, so that, together, we can forge that peace," Arafat said.
He also appealed to the Israeli people. "Come," he said, "let us make the peace of the bold, far from the arrogance of power and the weapons of destruction, far from the occupation and oppression and humiliation and murder and torture."
Arafat's three-point plan called first for "a serious effort" to convene an international peace conference in Geneva under U.N. auspices.
His second point urged that "occupied Palestinian land" be placed under temporary U.N. supervision, that peacekeeping forces be deployed and that Israeli troops withdraw. He did not say if he was referring to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, occupied by Israel in 1967.
Arafat's third point called for "a comprehensive settlement" among all parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including "the state of Palestine, Israel and other neighbors, within the framework of the international conference."
He said the conference should be conducted "on the basis of Resolutions 242 and 338 and so as to guarantee equality and the balance of interests, especially our people's rights in freedom, national independence, and respect for the right to exist in peace and security for all." The U.N. resolutions provide for all countries in the region to exist within secure borders.
Immediately afterward, Moshe Raviv of Israel's Foreign Ministry criticized Arafat's speech as "evasive rhetoric" and repeated Israel's claim that an independent Palestinian state is an obstacle to peace.
Yohanan Bein, Israel's U.N. ambassador, said he saw nothing new in Arafat's remarks.
"There was more ambiguity in this speech than in Algiers," he said, referring to Arafat's address last month to the Palestine National Council.