NEW YORK (Apr. 1)
The current discussions in the United Nations Security Council of the Israel-Arab problem, in connection with the recent Syrian-Israeli border clashes, present an opportunity for the United States “to take a firm position in favor of direct Arab-Israeli negotiations,” Republican Senator Kenneth Keating of New York declared here today. Failure to do so, he added, will only heighten emotions on both sides.
Senator Keating characterized State Department reluctance to push more vigorously for direct Arab-Israeli peace talks as an attempt “to appraise Nasser and the Arabs”–a policy, he said, that is designed “to woo their support against the Russians.”
“Don’t rock the boat seems to be the most conspicuous element in our Middle Eastern policy,” the Senator charged. He added that “even though the boat is leaking to such an extent that it is barely afloat, we still sit motionless within it. We refuse all efforts to bail or patch, which admittedly would be difficult.”
But, said the New York lawmaker, who has frequently advocated stronger United States action in efforts to get the Arabs and Israel to sit down around the conference table, “the result of our inactivity is even worse, for it denies us–along with Israel and the Middle East–any opportunity to repair the situation while there may yet be a chance.”
He complained that his repeated prodding of the State Department urging U. S. attempts at direct Arab-Israel negotiations, has brought replies, “in diplomatic double-talk, which, if it says anything, implies simultaneously that, on the one hand we are doing what we can and on the other that we cannot interfere.”