Wexler Praises Nixon for Holding Firm on Release of Hijacked Victims

President Nixon was praised by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations for “steadfast leadership” in the successful effort to free hostages aboard airliners hijacked by Arab terrorists last month. Dr. William Wexler, chairman of the group, said in a letter to the White House that President Nixon’s “insistence that all the hostages be released simultaneously, rejecting any individual negotiations for the separate release of the nationals of various countries, brought about positive changes” in the policies of other nations “only too eager to ransom their own citizens without regard to the safety of others.” The last group of freed hostages returned to New York Wednesday afternoon, hours before the start of Rosh Hashana. Dr. Wexler wrote the President: “Your demand that all American citizens and all persons traveling under the protection of the American flag receive equal treatment regardless of race, religion or national origin was a clear and forceful articulation of American democratic principles whose message was clearly heard by the terrorists.” In his letter, Dr. Wexler expressed regret, however, that Great Britain, Switzerland and West Germany had “surrendered to Arab blackmail by agreeing to free Arab terrorists to commit more crimes against international civil aviation.” He added that “if the hijacking epidemic is to be ended and safety of the skies restored, the Arab governments must renounce terrorism and the free world must reject extortion.” Dr. Wexler also observed that “as we condemn all hijackers and all others who seek to terrorize civilian air travel, so must we hold accountable those governments that give haven to such criminals.”

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