The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has accepted, with reservations by some members, a working paper on procedure for resuming Middle East peace negotiations in Geneva.
SV PAN Shimon Peres gets up and walks towards rostrum
SV PAN Newsmen
SV Peres making statement to Knesset
SV Mr. Robin listening
SV Moshe Dayan making speech
SCU Peres listening
GV Chairman calls for vote
GV PAN Delegates voting
SV Chairman bangs gavel PAN ACROSS delegates voting (2 shots)
Former Defence Minister Shimon Peres, Chairman of the Opposition Labour Party, was among those who spoke on the debate. He pointed out that the working paper dealt only with procedures for getting the Geneva talks started and did not touch on substantive issues dividing Israel and the Arabs. The government coalition parties joined the opposition in criticising the paper while some members of Prime Minister Menachem Begin's Likud Party themselves expressed fears that the agreement opened the way for the Palestine Liberation Organisation to be represented. The paper was formulated after marathon meetings in New York and Washington between President Carter, United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan.
When he spoke on the debate, Mr. Dayan declared that if Israel and the Arabs accepted the working paper, then there should be nothing to prevent the Geneva peace conference from convening before the end of the year. He reiterated that Israel would not sit down to talks with the Palestine Liberation Organisation and would not allow the setting up of a Palestinian state on its borders.
One of the major points in the working paper is a recommendation that Palestinians, but not members of the PLO, would be part of a single unified Arab delegation at the opening ceremony. The meeting would then divide into bilateral working groups each consisting of Israel and one of the Arab nations. The debate, which was stormy followed the acceptance of the working paper by the Israeli cabinet two days earlier.
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Background: The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has accepted, with reservations by some members, a working paper on procedure for resuming Middle East peace negotiations in Geneva. A full-scale debate was held in Jerusalem on Thursday (13 October).