AMMAN, JORDAN, OCT. 10 -- Jordan's King Hussein today said peace efforts in the Middle East could reach a dead end, despite growing support for an international peace conference, because of the "intransigence" of the right wing in Israel's coalition government.
The Jordanian monarch also announced that he was postponing a scheduled election for the lower house of parliament -- Jordan's first general election since 1967 -- for at least two more years, and extended the term of the current half-Palestinian parliament, set to expire by year's end.
Hussein, in a speech to parliament, referred to the concept of "land for peace" between the Arabs and Israel. He also implied a willingness to recognize Israel's territorial sovereignty and made a rare reference to Israel's internal political division as a key obstacle to peace in the region.
"My government's efforts at the Arab and international level have resulted in widening acceptance for an international peace conference. . . . ," Hussein said. "It has become obvious to everyone in this world, including the Israeli people themselves, that peace efforts could reach a dead end because of the intransigence of the Israeli right in the government coalition."
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, leader of the Labor Alignment, supports the idea of a U.N.-sponsored Middle East peace conference that would be an umbrella for Arab-Israeli peace talks.
His position was bolstered earlier this month when a leading U.S. Jewish organization, the American Jewish Congress, advocated the plan for a peace conference and called for Israel to seek "realistic alternatives" to its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel seized in the June 1967 war.
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, leader of the right-wing Likud Bloc, opposes the conference idea on grounds that it might lead to pressure on Israel to give up Arab lands it has occupied for more than 20 years.
"It has become clear that peace in the region has been thwarted until now by the Israeli position, which rejects an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab lands in exchange for peace," said Hussein, who is due to meet in London later this month with Secretary of State George P. Shultz for talks on Middle East peace efforts.
Hussein said the "way to peace" was to convene a U.N.-sponsored peace conference to be attended by the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members. The purpose of the conference would be to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.
Resolution 242 rejects the acquisition of land by force, calls for Israel to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967 and calls for recognition of the territorial sovereignty and political independence of all states in the region, including Israel.
In announcing his decision to postpone parliamentary elections, which were to have been held in 1988, Hussein said the current parliament's term was being extended because there had not been ample time to register voters and implement a new general elections law enacted in March 1986.
Under that law, the number of representatives in the 60-member lower house of parliament, which is evenly split between representatives from the East Bank of the Jordan River and those from the West Bank, would increase to 142.
The total Palestinian population in Jordan is not known, but it is widely estimated at 60 to 70 percent of Jordan's 3 million population. Israel's occupation of the West Bank, which had been annexed by Jordan before the 1967 war, has made it impossible to hold general elections there. The new law provides for the election of West Bank representatives through a kind of electoral college system within the parliament.
Moves to incorporate West Bank Palestinians into the parliament have been criticized by leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which the Arab League in 1974 designated as the sole representative of the Palestinians.