Israel has agreed to accept the United Nations' Resolution 242 as a basis for negotiations with neighbouring countries.
GV PAN: Bethlehem
SCU: Mayor of Bethlehem Elias Frieje speaking
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ.2 : FRIEJE: "On the contrary, I believe the new Israeli explanation of 242 by the Israeli Cabinet is a great hindrance to the peace negotiations because according to this new explanation, the Israelis deny the rights of the Palestinian Arabs in any way whatsoever. And they've already decided that the Jordan River is the boundary to divide Jordan from this country. And, according to the Israeli explanation, they will only deal with sovereign Governments Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan. So where fit the Palestinians? They don't fit anywhere".
REPORTER: "In general Mr Mayor, how do you see the peace process that was initiated by President Sadat last November. How do you see that? Do you think any initiative remains, any prospects whatever?
FRIEJE: "I was one of the few mayors of the West Bank who supported the peace initiative of Sadat. But I believe that this peace initiative is dead. Is completely dead. Is finite, and there's no hope of achieving peace in the foreseeable future."
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Background: Israel has agreed to accept the United Nations' Resolution 242 as a basis for negotiations with neighbouring countries. The Resolution calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank of the River Jordan and Gaza. A major factor in the tailing-off of recent peace negotiations has been the Israeli refusal to accept that the withdrawal demand in Resolution 242 applied to the West Bank and Gaza.
SYNOPSIS: To gauge reaction to the new Israeli stance, Mayor Elias Frieje of Bethlehem was asked if he felt peace was closer.