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with a Palestinian delegation toward peace with the Israelis, could impact the Israeli political process perhaps more than any other single person.
I'd be interested in your view as to A, whether he views himself as in that position, and, if so, B, whether he is, in your view, considering availing himself of that opportunity.
Ambassador MURPHY. First let me assure you I'm not in the business of clearing Congressional correspondence. I heard there was a letter coming, but no, I didn't get it, I didn't clear it. I think the Senators would, what I know of the Senators, would take a degree of offense at that suggestion.
The role of the King, yes, it is obviously central. He has made clear that he cannot move alone. That is why we have been at pains to stress that the objective is a comprehensive peace settlement. That is why the Secretary travelled so extensively and spoke so exhaustively from Cairo to Damascus, not just in Amman. What he will do to play that role, I can't predict.
We are waiting for a definitive response from Jordan, from Israel, from Syria. We're waiting. With each passing day we're a little more encouraged. It may be getting a little harder to say no as they think of the alternatives. Because without being arrogant, we think we have thought of the alternatives and they're not very pretty, for anyone, including ourselves. But what decision he will reach, we'll have to wait and see.
Mr. LEVINE. Thank you. I share your concerns, and hope very much that the optimism that is increasing incrementally on your part with each passing day is well founded. I believe there is good reason for it, and I know you have strong bipartisan support for your efforts here.
Ambassador MURPHY. If I could say just in general, Mr. Chairman. The expressions of support that have come not just today but over the past several weeks have been of great encouragement to the administration because this is not a partisan effort and it's not going to succeed as a partisan effort.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Torricelli?
EFFORTS AT FORMING A JOINT JORDANIAN-PALESTINIAN DELEGATION
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, in the question of forming a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, would this effort largely pick up where the previous effort stopped? There was some agreement on at least two names. There has been some review of a list. Would you say if we went forward to forming a delegation that we would start where that effort stopped?
Ambassador MURPHY. We wouldn't feel bound by that effort, but what that effort showed, and you're talking about July August of 1985, was that indeed there could be an area of agreement between the parties concerned on some credible men.
Mr. TORRICELLI. So your hope is those couple of names could be put on the table and we could say, here is how far we went before, let's start from here and finish the delegation. But you also envision going through that kind of a process?
Ambassador MURPHY. That kind of process. Let's leave it at that rather than getting on to what specific names might be produced.
U.S. POLICY TOWARD ISRAELI ACTIONS IN THE WEST BANK
Mr. TORRICELLI. There has, of course, been considerable criticism of the tactics of crowd control on the West Bank, and I think we would all agree about specific areas where actions were taken that not only would violate standards we would set, but standards the Israelis have set for themselves. Is there a more general suggestion or recommendation that is coming from this government to the Israelis on what should be changes and methods of crowd control today on the West Bank?
Ambassador MURPHY. We've had quite extensive talks with them about that. I don't think it was any great revelation to Israel, but Israel has focused its energies over the years on having an army that fought external aggression. When you put recruits with M16s up against a civilian crowd, you've got problems, if that's all they've got to work with. That is what increasingly complicated the relationship between the authorities, the army, the police, and the Palestinians.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Is there no more general advice that is given in approach or attitude? After all, we in the United States have faced problems with civil disobedience in our cities. Our allies around the world have extensive problems in civil disobedience and certainly we've learned some lessons, among them the fact that you can take people who are participating in civil disobedience and transform them into generally hardened revolutionaries if they are handled in the wrong way. Is the full benefit of that advice being given?
Ambassador MURPHY. It's been given.
IMPACT OF EVENTS IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA ON THE ISRAELI
Mr. TORRICELLI. I get the point.
Do you yet have an assessment of whether the civil disobedience on the West Bank and in Gaza and the necessary Israeli mobilization to deal with it is having any impact on the Israeli economy or severe budgetary impact on the Israeli government?
Ambassador MURPHY. I have seen some estimates of the economic losses overall to the Israeli economy just from the newspapers.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Does it become a security concern to us about the state of the Israeli economy and what is going to happen in the next year?
Ambassador MURPHY. No, there is over 20 years of inter-relationships that have been built there where the jobs for the Gazans and for many many thousands of West Bankers are inside Israel, over the green line. That is where the money is to be made. So you don't just walk away from that. They're not just walking away from it. There are political protests. There are efforts to get
Mr. TORRICELLI. My concern was that this committee has made it its business, through our assistance programs, military and economic, to ensure that the Israeli economy was stable and growing, so the nation felt some security in those terms. I was wondering more broadly whether you felt this continued civil disobedience and the cost of Israel responding to it posed an economic danger of any serious consequence.
Ambassador MURPHY. If the labor continues to be withheld, if the security conditions continue to deteriorate, there has got to be an adverse effect on the economy. This is in strictly economic terms, this would be a crying shame because Israel has been pulling itself up out of a morass, massive inflation, et cetera, of 1984, 1985. A remarkable turn-around. But it could be badly dented by the security conditions. SOVIET POSITION ON A SECOND U.N. RESOLUTION ON THE GULF WAR
Mr. TORRICELLI. Finally, if I could, Mr. Chairman. Could you speak more precisely on what I read in your prepared statement on the question of the Soviets and the second resolution with regard to the Gulf. What do you now understand precisely the Soviet position to be, and the timing that is now going to take place, and whether you think the Soviets are amenable to that timing?
Ambassador MURPHY. I can't be very precise. Their position is in principle they are not opposed to a second resolution, and they have not committed themselves to the timing. We understood when the Secretary and Mr. Shevardnadze and the other foreign ministers met with the Secretary General last September that there was a general understanding it was time to move ahead seriously, prepare, draft, and pass a second resolution. Nobody in September said it should be passed by late October or early November, but the expectation was there was a general understanding of the need for the second resolution. It has not come about yet.
The Soviets have repeated their position that they accept in principle there is a need for a second resolution if it is definitively proved that Iran has rejected or will not accept 598, the resolution of last July. So they are saying that this isn't the moment. There is still a chance that they will accept it. Let the Secretary General be more active and the UN, and let him get into another effort at mediation.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Given a general acceptance of the resolution but not of the timing, is it not then in order for the majority of the Security Council to bring a resolution forward?
Ambassador MURPHY. If you have a majority you'd bring it forward, yes. That is the question.
Mr. TORRICELLI. That would be my analysis from previous testimony I've read, that you do have a majority. Is it not time then to bring it forward and let the Soviets take their stand?
Ambassador MURPHY. What we would rather do is ensure that we have the Soviets and the Chinese fully onboard because ney could play such a major role in carrying out an arms embargo. It's not just a matter of having a show of hands from nine members of the Council. If those two are not actively engaged you haven't got anything effective.
Mr. TORRICELLI. I understand. But meanwhile, the war continues. Casualties mount. Now cities are being attacked. A dramatic change in the war would compromise our own interests and Soviet interests severely. It appears to me that now that March is going to
slip into April and another season,
I don't know when the Security Council will adjourn for the summer-but in any case, time is wasting. It seems to me there should be some clear date here, if not clear to us, clear to the Soviets, when patience ends and a majority will be called upon to accept or reject the resolution.
Ambassador MURPHY. Well actually the Council won't adjourn, it's always available to be called into session, and this is a question, the longer it goes unanswered the more questions that arise in our mind about Soviet intentions. That's why it's going to be high on the agenda next week when Mr. Shevardnadze comes to Washington.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. MEYERS. Mr. Chairman, I'll defer at this time to Mr. Feighan.
PARTIAL VERSUS A COMPREHENSIVE SETTLEMENT Mr. FEIGHAN. Thank you. I only have one question.
Imagine that you were an Israeli official and you're trying to sell this to a constituency, and you're presenting the best case scenario. The Shultz plan works. Negotiations proceed. What has Israel achieved? The most powerful-economically and militarily speaking—with the exception of Egypt, Arab states are hostile to Israel on the premise that they have taken land belonging to another people. That issue is resolved, and yet Israel finds itself with instability at best on the Lebanese border, a hostile neighbor on the Syrian border, and no guarantee of recognition from the most powerful Arab states.
In the face of having traded off valuable land and acquiring increased risk in the territories. It doesn't sound like a great deal from that perspective.
Ambassador MURPHY. But aren't you presuming, Congressman, a separate peace here where it works a deal with Jordan and the Palestinian delegation? Remember, the effort is a comprehensive settlement. The goal is not to end up with a hostile Syria and a Lebanon that's unable to reach a peace treaty with Israel. The goal is to bring them all in. It just isn't workable to go after a separate Jordanian-Palestinian-Israeli peace treaty. Unless I misunderstood your premise.
Mr. FEIGHAN. No, I think you understand it exactly. I guess I'm just probing what your level of confidence is, that those others fall in line. That there is a Palestinian Jordanian settlement agreement, however you might characterize it. Then with what confidence do you say that Syria, Saudi Arabia, and others are supportive of that final
Ambassador MURPHY. Those who are not in what used to be called the front line states, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, like the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, have basically said what they are looking for is a just settlement of the Palestinian question. That is the goal of this negotiation.
They don't see themselves as front line states. They have given that over, if you will, to the immediate neighbors. So if those immediate neighbors are satisfied, I don't think you're going to get anything more than rhetorical holdouts, perhaps in some other capitals.
Mr. FEIGHAN. Thank you.
Mr. LEVINE. The Gentle Lady from Kansas will now claim her own time.
TALKS BETWEEN THE SOVIETS AND THE SAUDIS Ms. MEYERS. Thank you.
Secretary Murphy, I apologize for missing your testimony because I had a conflicting committee.
I would like to ask some questions about the Persian Gulf. We have had visits back and forth between Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia. I would like to ask what you see as the significance of that exchange of visits, and do you see the Saudis now moving toward formal ties with the Soviet Union? And maybe you could expand on that a little more.
a Ambassador MURPHY. The visit in question, Ms. Meyers, was actually my counterpart in the Soviet Foreign Ministry, it wasn't the Foreign Minister. He was bringing a message from Gorbachev to the King and he was received by the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia a few weeks back.
The significance of the visit is it's the first such in over 50 years. There is a marvelous history book on Soviet relations with the Arab world that has the account of the last Soviet embassy in Saudi Arabia which survived until I think 1937. The staff of four was recalled and sentenced for incompetence and peculation and disappeared shortly thereafter and that was the last formal link. So this visit was significant in that it's the first in over 50 years, the first such contact in the country.
Are they moving toward formal ties? I couldn't predict. There are obviously grave reservations about Soviet behavior on the part of the Saudis. The Afghanistan question has deeply troubled the Saudis. Their people are very conservative politically and religious!y so all of these questions would have to be decided by the Saudi leadership, of course, when they would move to formal relations, or if they will move.
The Soviets have now formal relations with three of the Gulf council states: Oman, the Emirates, and Kuwait. Kuwait over many years. They are interested in expanding. They send pilgrims on the annual Mecca Medina pilgrimage. They are trying to portray themselves as a worthy partner in formal diplomatic relations, potentially so. And might one day, they are not today, be a buyer for Gulf petroleum production.
Ms. MEYERS. So the reluctance on formal ties would be on the part of Saudi Arabia then?
Ambassador MURPHY. Yes.
Ms. MEYERS. Do you think that the decision will be made on the basis of what the Soviet Union does in Afghanistan and how they react to the second resolution?
Ambassador MURPHY. Both are certainly litmus tests for the Saudis, but those are both relatively recent tests. Of course the Afghanistan invasion is eight years, but the reservations about communism, about international communism, about the Soviet Union