Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat said in an interview broadcast yesterday that the PLO would be willing to open negotiations for a Palestinian homeland with "all the democratic Jews who are living in Israel and outside Israel."
Arafat did not clarify what he meant by "democratic." He said that he also was willing to open a dialogue with the Reagan administration, "but without any conditions." The United States has refused to hold talks with the PLO unless it recognizes Israel's right to exist.
"No one will accept to start any negotiation or dialogue with conditions," Arafat said in an interview recorded Saturday with the television program "60 Minutes" (CBS-WDVM).
"We are looking that . . . every Jew has the right to live, but every Palestinian has the right to live also," he said.
Arafat blamed the U.S. government for allowing the Sept. 16-18 massacre of Palestinians in Beirut, saying the killings were part of an American conspiracy against the Palestinians. He also blamed the U.S., French and Italian armies in the multinational peace-keeping force and the Lebanese Army because they were not present to prevent the killings.
Arafat said early in the interview that he did not blame the Israelis for the massacre but later accused Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon of responsibility in "these shameful and cowardly crimes."
The interview was relayed by satellite from Saudi Arabia, where Arafat was participating in the annual pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca.
Arafat met there with Bangladeshi military governor Hossein Mohammed Ershad and Guinean President Ahmed Sekou Toure, Reuter reported from Jeddah.