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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 27, 1981


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    The meeting between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Soviet Union addresses the United States imposition of imperialistic policy in the Middle East. PLO head Yasser Arafat believes that the United States, Israeli, and Western European agreements at Camp David will negatively impact Palestinians and other Arab states and must be overturned. The Soviet Union responds by restating the need for unity in the Middle East.
    "Report on the Results of the Visit to the USSR by the Palestine Liberation Organization Delegation," October 27, 1981, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Translated for CWIHP by Daniel Rozas.
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[signature, 27 Oct. 81]

Report on the results of the 19-21 October visit
to the USSR by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
delegation, headed by Y. Arafat, and on its reception by
L. I. Brezhnev

The visit took place through the initiative of the Palestinian side. The discussion with Arafat was used to strengthen the will of the Palestinians in the righteous war against Israeli aggression and imperialist scheming and for their lawful rights. The Palestinians were informed of the granting of diplomatic status to the PLO representative office in Moscow and its accreditation under the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In discussing the situation in the Middle East, particular attention of Y. Arafat was focused on the fact the USA is trying to forcibly impose upon the Arabs its dictates, in essence to bring back the colonial order and establish direct control over Arab natural resources. They are trying to put together a military-political bloc that would bring Israel, Egypt and other conservative Arab regimes under the aegis of the American government.

Arafat was told directly that when Washington puts on demonstrations that it does not approve of some particular steps by Israel, this is only a cheap play on the public. In actuality, the Americans intend to continue their anti-Arab policy and support Israel’s aggressive course. Any understanding of the overall Middle Eastern settlement has completely disappeared from their vocabulary, and they continue to obstinately maintain the Camp David line, with its so-called “autonomy for Palestinians.”

Moreover, they are trying to convince the Arabs that they, as it were, share mutual interests with Israel, and that they must reach a “strategic agreement” with it. But it is precisely Israel that the Americans are arming to the teeth, while on Sinai they are preparing a jumping point for the punitive “quick deployment” corps for actions against the Arabs. Having abandoned all restraint, the Americans are now resorting to rude pressure on Egypt and its people and to open blackmail against Libya, in order to frighten it and force it to turn away from its anti-imperialist course.

Arafat was told that, although the new Egyptian leadership has hastened to announce that it will continue along the course of Sadat, there raises a fair question: will it have enough power to continue the bankrupt policy, ignoring the opinions of other Arab countries. After all, the very fact of Sadat’s elimination demonstrates that, above all, despite repressions and fear-mongering, the people of Egypt have not submitted to the anti-national, pro-Israeli course. This demonstrates the magnitude of the patriotic, anti-imperialist potential present in Egyptian society, which can and must be used in the interests of the overall Arab struggle.

Arafat’s attention was focused on the fact that under these conditions, it is extremely important that the Arabs do not give the imperialists a free hand, that they spur themselves on and make use of their potential--which they have--in order to influence the development of events in Egypt and Libya, as well as the resolution of the Middle Eastern problem as a whole. The USA, Israel and the imperialist circles of Western Europe are acting in a single column against the Palestinians and other Arabs. For this reason the Arabs must also fight in unison. It is important that the Arab countries, including conservative ones that wield certain pressure levers against the West, focus their efforts along a single channel. If the Arab countries really act cohesively, then imperialist conniving will suffer destruction.

The Soviet side expressed the conviction that the participants of the Front of Opposition and Tenacity must lead the Arabs with them and arm them with the correct understanding of the current situation. For this it is important that contact be preserved between the progressive and other Arab countries. Otherwise, the division among the Arabs will increase, from which only their enemies would benefit. But most important is that there be coordination and unity of opinions among the participants of the Front of Opposition and Tenacity themselves. It was emphasized that there is but one path to a just, all-encompassing settlement--holding an international conference on the Middle East, with the participation of all interested parties, including, obviously, the PLO. The Soviet side believes that it is indeed through this path that the Arabs and their friends must mainly oppose Camp David. After all, the conference itself would already signify that the Camp David agreements have been overturned and buried. Since neither the USA or Israel accept this view, one must fight actively and decisively for this conference.

Touching upon the Saudi Arabian proposals for the Middle East, we noted that, although they contain provisions that have something along the lines of demands for an all-encompassing settlement, they nevertheless do not include these in entirety, for, in particular, there is not even a mention of the PLO in them.

Arafat supported the evaluations and opinions expressed by the Soviet side. He stated that the PLO will steadfastly follow the course of opposing the imperialist plans in the Middle East and will not retreat from their principled positions. Touching on the situation in Egypt, Y. Arafat said that the PLO will work together with progressive countries in order to support and unify those forces that come out against the continuation of the defeatist line in Middle Eastern affairs.

Arafat emphasized that Palestinians support the initiative brought forward by L. I. Brezhnev at the XXVI session of the CPSU, that called for an international conference on the settlement of the Middle Eastern question. He spoke much about the importance of strengthening Arab unity, and that, at the upcoming conference of the heads of Arab countries in Morocco, the PLO will be acting in unison with the progressive Arab countries.

The visit of the PLO delegation to Moscow, in the opinion of the Soviet side, was useful and timely; it helped to strengthen the Palestinian leadership’s progressive and anti-imperialist stance.