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Goldberg Fears Possible Soviet – U.S. Confrontation if New Mideast War Erupts

Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg, former chief United States delegate to the United Nations, warned here today of a possible United States-Soviet confrontation in the Middle East and declared that the United States must “make it clear to the Soviets that we will not stand by and commit a ‘Czechoslovakia’ in the Middle East.” The former Supreme Court associate justice, who is now president of the American Jewish Committee, spoke at the opening session of the 54th annual convention of Hadassah, the women’s Zionist Organization of America, which presented him with its Henrietta Szold citation, Hadassah’s highest honor.

Mr. Goldberg told the 2,000 convention delegates and guests that if the UN peace mission of Ambassador Gunnar Jarring ended in failure, it might set off another Arab-Israel war and that if that happened, “no one can guarantee that a direct Soviet-United States confrontation would not take place.” He said the United States must continue to seek to end the arms race in the Middle East “while recognizing that Israel cannot disarm alone” and that the Soviet Union had “already gone too far in arming its Arab clients.” He added that Israel’s fear that an arms imbalance, particularly in supersonic warplanes, already exists “would seem to be justified” and that the United States had “no choice but to prevent such an imbalance” and that “an essential measure here and now is to sell Israel Phantom jet fighter aircraft.”

Reiterating that only a negotiated peace could settle the Arab-Israel conflict, Mr. Goldberg said the United States must continue to try to persuade the Arab states against falling into the “dubiously protective embrace of the Russian bear” and must also seek to “compel Israel to pursue a path of flexibility, moderation and magnanimity,” attitudes in which he added Israel “would not be found wanting.” Above all, he declared, the United States must use its influence with Israel, the Arab states and Russia “in support of a genuine peace agreement” achieved by direct negotiations.

The convention also was told of Hadassah plans to re-establish a general hospital on Mt. Scopus to provide medical care for 100,000 Arabs and Jews in East Jerusalem and part of the West Bank. The original Hadassah hospital on Mt. Scopus was isolated from Israel during 19 years of Jordanian occupation. The decision to re-habilitate and re-open it was made by the Hadassah national board on the basis of a report from Dr. Kalman J. Mann, director general of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel. He estimated the cost of rehabilitating the buildings and other facilities at $5 million with another $2 million annually for maintenance. Hadassah raises some $12 million yearly for its health, youth and education projects in Israel.

“The hospital on Mt. Scopus, in the decade it was functioning before access was denied to us by the Arabs in 1948-49, formed the center of hospital care in the entire Middle East, especially for key people in government, royalty and so on,” Dr. Mann said. “The re-building and re-opening of the hospital is a must,” he added. Dr. Mann reported also that the issue for the Hadassah Medical Organization of treatment of wounded Arab soldiers and, particularly, of wounded members of the El Fatah terrorist group was resolved by a decision to treat them in accordance with “the high motives of our own upbringing,” in exactly “the same way as we treated our own.”

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