Israel adheres to the Oslo accord

April 15, 1997

YOUR APRIL 9 editorial, ''Netanyahu gives not an inch,'' in its interpretation of the facts, is clearly biased.

As the democratically elected prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to abide by the Oslo accords he inherited from his predecessor.

Israel would grant limited autonomy to Palestinians, and the PLO would renounce violence and formally expunge from its charter articles that call for Israel's destruction.

The parties expressly left other controversial issues -- such as the status of Jerusalem and the character of a Palestinian entity -- for later negotiation.

The prime minister undoubtedly has reiterated to President Clinton the overwhelming view of his countrymen that the Palestinian Authority has violated the Oslo accords by unilaterally increasing the number of its police under arms; by stating that it has no intention of amending the PLO Charter; by using incendiary phrases (such as ''declaration of war'') to protest Israel's decision to build in East Jerusalem; by renewing contracts with Hamas and other terrorist groups; and by failing to extradite those suspected of terrorist acts.

All public opinion polls show that the great majority of Israelis support continued Jewish control of a united Jerusalem. They want to ensure that Jewish participation in the life of the old city -- absent for 2,000 years and restored only 30 years ago -- is not abandoned.

Prior to 1967, Jewish historical and religious sites were desecrated and destroyed. Since then, all such places (including Moslem and Christian buildings) have been protected by the government and open to everyone.

Just because the Arab world appears to be closing ranks around threats of economic boycotts, terrorist acts and expressions of moral pique, should Israel abandon its essential rights, security

and purpose?

Bruce E. Kauffman


The writer is president of the Baltimore Zionist District.

Pub Date: 4/15/97

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