Jewish Congress Backs Israel’s Retention of Occupied Territories Pending Peace Talks

The American Jewish Congress today voiced strong support for Israel’s retention of occupied territories pending the negotiation of a permanent peace agreement with the Arab states.

“Until this final peace settlement has been achieved, Israel cannot be expected to return the territories occupied during the course of a war it did not want and which it sought strenuously to avoid,” the Congress declared in a resolution by its national executive committee.

The resolution urged that the United States “take the initiative” in bringing Israel and the Arab states together “for the purpose of negotiating a permanent peace agreement.” and warned against anything short of this objective. “We call for rejection of any proposal for a truce, armistice or other temporary arrangement,” the Congress resolution stated. The final peace agreement must include the recognition of Israel by the Arab governments as a state entitled to all the privileges and rights of sovereignty. It must further include the renunciation by every state in the Middle East of all belligerent and warlike measures or threats against any of its neighbors.”

The resolution asks also 1-U.S, economic aid to Israel in the form of medicine, food, money and whatever else is necessary “to assist in the enormous task of recovery” following the devastation of war; 2- U.S. action either within the UN or outside of it with other nations, or “if necessary, independently, to guarantee Israel’s free and open access to all international waterways including the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Akaba.”

The resolution also urged support for the “emerging moderate voices in the Arab world.” Also the earliest possible lifting by the U.S. of its ban on travel to Israel. In the latter connection, the American Jewish Congress noted that” prolongation of the travel ban against Israel can act as an unjustified sanction and deprive Israel of the services and support many American citizens doubtlessly wish to contribute. “Any unnecessary delay can work severe hardship and endanger Israel’s early recovery and reconstruction.”

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