NEW YORK (Feb. 21)
Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott declared in a speech scheduled for delivery tonight that the United States must continue “to play a key role” in achieving peace in the Middle East, and declared that “it is clear that the Jarring mission will not succeed if the Soviet Union and Egypt regard it as an instrument to force Israel’s surrender on the issue of territories and to deny Israel genuine peace.” Scott, a Pennsylvania Republican and an Episcopalian, was scheduled to speak here to Bnai Zion, the American Fraternal Zionist Organization, which has awarded him its 1971 Israel Friendship Gold Medal. Some 1600 Zionist leaders are expected to attend the dinner, the organization’s 63rd annual fete. In his prepared text, Scott stated that “as long as the Arabs and Israelis do not talk to each other there is not the slightest chance of a genuine settlement.” He observed: “There is no doubt in the minds of fair-minded observers that the primary responsibility for the (Middle East) deadlock today rests on the Soviet Union, which uses the Arab-Israel conflict to further its own imperialistic ambitions in the Middle East.”
Scott also observed: “We would like to think that many Egyptians are tired of war and that many Egyptians recognize that there would be great benefits to all the people of the Middle East if Egypt and Israel could begin to cooperate in genuine understanding and peace.” But that, he said, requires a changed attitude by the USSR and the United Arab Republic. Otherwise, the current situation, in which “the Jewish people are made the pawns in a political war,” will continue. The Senator stressed that the U.S. should not be “satisfied” with peace negotiations unless the Arab states recognize Israel “and obligate themselves to work for the attainment and maintenance of a genuine peace.” Scott stated that the Congress has “fully supported” Arab-Israel talks and warned against any attempt by the Big Powers to impose a settlement. He recalled that a Congressional declaration last year was signed by 70 Senators including himself and 283 members of the House. The main thrust of this declaration, issued last May, called for a just and lasting peace to be achieved by direct negotiations between the Arabs and Israel, and that the deterrent strength of Israel should not be impaired.
“Our commitment to Israel is a vital commitment because the survival and growth of Israel means a positive contribution to the welfare of people in many parts of the world,” Scott declared. “And here is where American and Israeli interests really converge. We share a common commitment – the commitment to freedom, to liberty and to the welfare of humanity.” In a message to the meeting, President Nixon praised the role of Bnai Zion and commended its “benevolent activities.” He added that “I fully share your admiration for his (Sen. Scott) dedicated efforts to strengthen the friendly relations between the United States and Israel.” Israel’s Premier Golda Meir stated in a message that the award to Sen. Scott is “a most fitting tribute to one of America’s great citizens and legislators whom we in Israel recognize and salute as a veteran champion of human liberty and democracy.” Mrs. Meir added that Scott “has long served as a dynamic bridge of friendship and understanding between our two countries contributing much to the bonds of fraternity that unite our democratic peoples.” Israel’s President Zalman Shazar stated in a cable to the meeting that Bnai Zion is “dedicated (in its) endeavors for Israel’s children and Israel’s ties of friendship with America.”