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Muskie Calls on Administration to Replace Rhetoric with Concrete Support of Israel

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Sen. Edmund S. Muskie, Democrat of Maine, has issued his first major statement on the Middle East calling on the Nixon administration to replace its “intensified rhetoric” on the Middle East situation with “visible and concrete support of Israel’s defense in the form of urgently needed jet aircraft.” Sen. Muskie was one of the 76 Senators who last month made a similar written appeal to Secretary of State William P. Rogers. In his latest statement the 1968 Vice Presidential nominee said: “We must recognize that the long-term interest of the United States in the Middle East are far greater than in Indochina…For months, American friends and critics have been uncertain as to our intentions and our commitment…This deteriorating situation requires more from the administration than intensified rhetoric.” Mr. Muskie called for “a significant, credible response to the Soviet escalation in Middle East tension” as “the best security against the outbreak of major hostilities while we explore other initiatives for peace.”

The Democratic leader endorsed “an enduring Mideast peace on the basis of the November 22 (1967) resolution” of the United Nations. He said he opposed a solution imposed on the parties by other nations, declaring that “Israel and its neighbors must work out together the details of their future relationships.” He called on Israel to “express its willingness to make withdrawals from the occupied territories,” and on the Arabs to “express their willingness to guarantee the right of Israel to live in peace.” Sen. Jacob K. Javits told a news conference today that the USSR’s Mideast buildup constitutes “a direct challenge to Western Europe’s security.” He said he found general agreement on this during his tour of European capitals, but that concern there was largely of a “theoretical nature.”

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