Leaked Cables on Israel:
Shimon Peres on Palestinian Statehood

(January 15, 1976)


Wikileaks: Table of Contents | Cables on Israel | Cables on the Arab/Islamic World


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Classified diplomatic cables, leaked by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, contain this interview with Shimon Peres in which he dismisses the idea of a Palestinian state out of hand, saying that Israel will not "deal" with the PLO.


From: Israel Tel Aviv

To: Department of State

1. DURING JANUARY 13 MEETING WITH AMBASSADOR, MINDEF PERES EMPHASIZED IMPORTANCE OF JORDAN IN ANY FUTURE NEGOTIATIONS OVER WEST BANK. HE AGAIN CONFIRMED ISRAEL'S REFUSAL TO DEAL WITH PLO OR TO ACCEPT A PALESTINIAN STATE ON THE WEST BANK. HE REPEATED USUAL LITANY THAT BRINGING THE PLO INTO THE NEGOTIATIONS WOULD RELIEVE AN IMMEDIATE PAIN BUT WOULD CREATE LONGER RANGE PROBLEM, AND POSED RHETORICAL QUESTION, "WHY INTRODUCE A TRAGEDY JUST FOR GOOD PUBLIC RELATIONS?"

2. PERES ADVANCED THREE REASONS WHY JORDAN IS STILL A FACTOR:
A. HE IS NOT AS SANGUINE AS U.S. APPARENTLY IS ABOUT THE FUTURE SECURITY OF SAUDI ARABIA AND FEELS THAT ANY INTERNAL CHANGE THERE WOULD CATAPULT HUSSEIN INTO A POSITION OF GREATER PROMINENCE IN ARAB WORLD AND WOULD REMOVE SOME OF THE CONSTRAINTS WHICH CURRENTLY RESTRICT HUSSEIN.
B. HUSSEIN, WHILE PUBLICLY ENDORSING PLO, IS STILL TRYING TO MAINTAIN HIS POSITION ON WEST BANK. PERES CLAIMED THAT HUSSEIN POSTPONED JORDAN'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS BECAUSE OF WEST BANK PROBLEMS.
C. WEST BANK PALESTINIANS, ACCORDING TO PERES, DO NOT WANT ARAFAT AND THE PLO. THEY THINK OF THEMSELVES

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AS JORDANIANS AND "HAVE NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD."

3. ALL OF THE ABOVE IS OBVIOUSLY DESIGNED TO SUPPORT ISRAEL'S CONTENTION THAT THE TIME IS NOT RIPE TO DISCUSS THE WEST BANK. ACCORDING TO PERES, HUSSEIN WANTS THE TERRITORY BUT CANNOT, AT PRESENT, PAY A PRICE THAT COULD BE ACCEPTABLE TO ISRAEL. THEREFORE, HE CONCLUDED THAT WE MUST WAIT FOR HUSSEIN. "DO NOT EMBARRASS HIM. KEEP HIM AS AN OPTION IN CASE SOMETHING HAPPENS IN SAUDI ARABIA."

4. WHILE ON SUBJECT OF JORDAN, AMBASSADOR SAID HE HAD NOTED PRESS REPORTS THAT RABIN HAD MET WITH HUSSEIN, AND ASKED PERES TO COMMENT. PERES REPLIED, "ASK RABIN." HE THEN VOLUNTEERED THAT ISRAEL HAD ONGOING CONTACT WITH THE FORDANIANS BUT THAT "THE LEVEL WASN'T IMPORTANT."

5. TURNING TO EGYPT, PERES EXPRESSED HIS SATISFACTION WITH SINAI II. HE QUOTED UN COORDINATOR SIILASVUOU AS SAYING EGYPTIANS WERE ALSO HAPPY WITH AGREEMENT. PERES AGREED THAT WE SHOULD NOT LOSE THE MOMENTUM, CLAIMING THAT PROGRESS THUS FAR DOES NOT YET REPRESENT A MAJOR HISTORICAL CHANGE BUT IT COULD IN FUTURE. IF EGYPT CONTINUES TO HONOR AGREEMENTS IN SAME SPIRIT AS AT PRESENT, HE CAN FORESEE A SINAI III.

6. PERES EXPRESSED HIS CONCERN OVER SADAT'S STATEMENT THAT TRUE PEACE WILL HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE NEXT GENERATION. HE ARGUED THAT ISRAEL CAN'T BE EXPECTED TO GIVE UP LAND IN THIS GENERATION AND THEN WAIT FOR THE NEXT GENERATION TO GET PEACE IN RETURN. THE AMBASSADOR SUGGESTED THAT SADAT'S POSITION MIGHT BE A REALISTIC ONE GIVEN THE LONG HISTORY OF HOSTILITY AND SUSPICION. PERES REJOINED THAT NASSER USED TO SAY THE SAME THINGS ABOUT A PARTIAL SETTLE- MENT THAT SADAT IS SAYING NOW ABOUT PEACE. IN CLOSING, HE POINTED OUT THAT WHAT SADAT HAS DONE NOW (I.E., REACHED TWO AGREEMENTS WITH ISRAEL) WOULD HAVE BEEN TOTALLY UN- ACCEPTABLE ONLY FOUR OR FIVE YEARS AGO. HIS OBVIOUS IMPLICATION WAS THAT EVEN BASIC ATTITUDES CAN CHANGE IN MUCH LESS THAN A GENERATION. TOON

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Sources: Wikileaks

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