Democratic Platform Calls for U.S. Provision of ‘advanced’ Combat Aircraft to Israel

The Democratic National Platform Committee has approved a Middle East plank urging the United States to assist Israel “with essential military equipment needed for her defense, including the most advanced types of combat aircraft…as long as Israel is threatened by hostile and well-armed neighbors.” The plank has been incorporated into the 1968 Democratic platform which will be submitted to the national convention tonight. The convention is expected to adopt the Middle East plank without difficulty as well as a plank expressing “profound concern about the continued repression of Jews and other minorities in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.”

The Middle East plank referred to the region as a “powder keg” and declared that the U.S. must do all in its power to prevent the recurrence of war in the area. It charged the Soviet Union with preferring “short term political advantages to long range stability and peace” in the Middle East as evidenced by the deployment of a large Soviet fleet in the Mediterranean and its shipment of “arms to certain Arab states to replace those lost in the Arab-Israel war of 1967.”

The Middle East plank paralleled the strong pro-Israel plank in the platform adopted by the Republican national convention at Miami Beach earlier this month and declared that “lasting peace in the Middle East depends upon agreed and secured frontiers, respect for the territorial integrity of all states, the guaranteed right of innocent passage through all international waterways, a humane settlement of the Arab refugees and the establishment of a non-provocative military balance. To achieve those objectives, we support negotiations among the concerned parties,” the plank stated. “We strongly support efforts to achieve an agreement among states in the area and those states supplying arms to limit the flow of military equipment to the Middle East. We support efforts to raise the living standards throughout the area, including desalination and regional irrigation projects which cut across state frontiers.”

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