Israel's conditions for opening Geneva peace talks with a single Arab delegation put the conference "back to square one" Jordan's special envoy to Washington said yesterday.
What Isreal has accepted would produce only "a cosmetic" conference, said Abdul Hamid Sharaf, chief of King Hussein's royal court. Sharaf is scheduled to meet today with President Carter. The president will also confer today with Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam.
The Isreali action is "outwardly a concession toward the position of the United States, but actually it is no movement whatever," Sharaf said in an interview.
Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance has said the terms that Isreal has put on meeting with a pan-Arab delegation at Geneva "do not accurately reflect our views." Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi has called the Israeli position a "non-starter."
The Israeli cabinet on Sunday agreed to an American proposal for opening a Geneva peace conference with a unified delegation, but only as a ceremonial. Isreal said the delegation must then divided into individual Arab stated for actual bargaining. Israel also said that Palestinians from Israeli-occupied West bank of the Jordan River who are not known members of the Palestine Liberation Organization could participate in the opening ceremony as part of the Jordanian delegation, but not as PLO members.
Sharaf said this is a "contradictory" distortion of the original idea for Geneva talks with a pan-Arab delegation, which he said was first proposed by Jordan and Syria.
A major objective of that Arab formula was to circumvent the dispute over who would represent the Palestinians, because of Israel's refusal to deal with the PLO.
Sharaf said, "Our position is that the West Bank and the Gaza strip, the political future of the Palestinians and the future of the (Palestinians) refugee problems, are to be discussed with the Arabs collectively.It is a problem which no single nation can discuss by itself."
Jordan is regarded as the most moderate of the Arab nations on the contentious PLO issue, as King Hussein has had his own furious battles with the PLO.
Sharaf, who is King Hussein's senior advisor on foreign policy, met Saturday with Vance. He said, "We suggested that at Geneva we [the Arabs] should split on committees on substance" after opening the ceremony, not into separates states such as Jordan, Egypt and Syria, as Israel proposes.
What Jordan suggested, he said, was that one committee would deal with Israeli "withdrawal and borders" with the Arab nations; another with "peace obligations and guarantees," and a third with "Palestinian questions." In all these groups, Sharaf said, "all parties would be represented."
"But in discussion of the overall problem," he said, "particularly the Palestinian question, it should be discussed in plenary, or in the committee of the whole."
Sharaf said a Palestinian solution "must involve the process of self-determination. We don't care how the Palestinian representation is solved, but we do emphasize Palestinian self-determination in the context of [Israeli] withdrawal" from territories Israel occupied in the 1967 war.
"The major imperative," he said, "is that if there is no Israel withdrawal there is no peace settlement."
It is impossible for all Palestinian issues to be handled by Palestinians inside a Jordan delegation, as Israel advocates, Sharaf said, because "it is a bigger problem than Jordan."
He said "the refugees are spread all over the world: Gaza used to be under Egyptian administration, and there is a special relationship between all the Arab countries and the Palestinians."
"On substance," therefore, Sharaf said "the signs are not so hopeful so far very far apart." He said the Israelis "have angered the Arabs very much by their semantic solution." Sharaf said "the signs are not hopeful so far as the present [Israeli] announcement is concerned , but there is no reason to give up hope . . ."