MIAMI BEACH (Jul. 29)
The Republican platform committee was asked here Monday to adopt a plank for the Republican Party platform which would “make it clear to all nations that the people of the United States want a negotiated Arab-Israel peace, that we are prepared to take the action necessary to prevent another disastrous war and that we will not falter or waver in these commitments.”
The plank was proposed to the committee by Irving J. Kane, co-chairman of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, who told the platform committee that the proposals he was submitting had been endorsed by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and by the American Jewish Committee. He told the platform-makers that “strong platform planks will have an impact on the Arabs and the Russians, They will be listening to what is said at the political conventions.”
The proposed plank, which Mr. Kane said was supported by the “overwhelming majority” of the American Jewish community, stressed two issues: promotion of peace through direct Arab-Israel negotiations which could settle all collateral issues, and prevention of another was by providing Israel with supersonic aircraft and other military equipment essential to deter renewed aggression. The proposals made in support of these two objectives, Mr. Kane said, were consistent with the views expressed by the major Presidential candidates and the Republican Congressional leadership.
“All of us would prefer disarmament to an arms race,” Mr. Kane declared, but he pointed out that “there can be no disarmament unless there is a peace treaty in the area and unless the Soviet Union is ready to stop using weapons as currency to buy the favor of the Arab states.” He warned that “in some respects, the Soviet Union has provided the Arabs with more sophisticated and powerful weapons than in the past.” He said that “the Arabs now have a five-to-one preponderance in the category of supersonic planes.”
He pointed out that “for almost a year, the Israel Government has appealed to the United States for F-4 Phantom Jets. The United States has been hesitant to respond to Israel’s appeal, although Israel has no other source of supply.” He said that “in view of the overwhelming national consensus on this issue, one finds it difficult to understand the hesitation of the Administration to act on Israel’s request.”
The spokesman for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee stressed that “the real hope for disarmament in the Near East lies in convincing the Russians that we will not permit them to win the arms race there.” He told the Republican committee that “if we permit Israel to be weakened and to become vulnerable to new attack, other nations in the Near East, Asia and Africa must conclude that when they are subjected to Soviet pressure they cannot count on the United States for the support which is indispensable for their self-defense.”
Mr. Kane devoted most of his time before the platform committee to a discussion of the Israel security situation and Israel’s defense needs.
He told the committee however that most of the other issues between Arabs and Israelis in the Middle East could be solved within the framework of peace agreements including disarmament, refugee resettlement and freedom of access for all faiths to their shrines in Jerusalem, as well as the basic issues of peace, independence and sovereignty of all states in the area, permanent, secure boundaries and freedom of navigation for all nations through the Suez Canal and the Strait of Tiran.
The American Jewish spokesman also spoke at length to the committee on the status of Jerusalem, pointing out that “for the first time since 1948, the entire city is open to all; all faiths enjoy access and Jews and Moslems are mixing and trading in Jerusalem — a situation which must lead to a better understanding between the two peoples.
“We are confident,” he asserted, “that Israel can be trusted to reach agreements with religious leaders to ensure respect for the Holy Places and free access to them.” He stressed that “the issue of Jerusalem, as in the case of the Arab refugees, must be viewed within the total perspective of the problems of the Near East and the need for a permanent settlement of all the issues involved.”
The platform committee listened to Mr. Kane’s testimony without raising questions or commenting on the substance of it.