Harvard's experts on Judaic studies responded this week to the Rabat Conference's recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Henry A. Kissinger's recent tour of the Middle East with pessimism.
Yosef H. Yerushalmi, professor of Hebrew and Jewish History, said Yasser Arafat, leader of the PLO, provides a "temporary solidifying position, a rallying point for Arab opposition to Israel."
Yerushalmi said a negotiated settlement is now "vastly more difficult" because the Israelis will hesitate to negotiate with Arafat over West Jordan.
He said, "The United States should not negotiate with Arafat because he represents a vociferous minority, not the opinion of Palestine as a whole."
Isadore Twersky '51, professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy, said, "The repercussions of Arafat's rise will not be good."
Twersky predicted the Rabat declaration would lead to "a complete stalemate in peace negotiations."