WASHINGTON (Jun. 30)
Israel lags for behind the Arab countries as a recipient of military and economic aid from the United States, according to figures published in the current issue of Near East Report, publication of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee here. The periodical asserts that while Arab countries have received U.S. military grants of $230 million. Israel received none. In addition, according to Near East Report, Israel has gotten only about one-third the total U.S. economic aid to the Arab countries and only one-seventh the non-military grants. This year’s proposed Foreign Military Assistance Act authorizes military materiel and training grants to Saudi Arabia and Jordan among other Mideast states, but none to Israel, the report says. Israel has received $500 million in economic and aid credits for the purchase of military equipment in the U.S. this past year and is presently urgently seeking additional credits of about $300 million. Near East Report’s citation of the low ratio of U.S. assistance to Israel compared to the Arab countries is believed intended to counter efforts by some Senators to repeal the Jackson Amendment to the 1971 Foreign Military Sales Act. The Jackson Amendment, sponsored by Sen. Henry M. Jackson, Washington Democrat, gives the President open-ended authority to authorize military credits to Israel.
The Amendment has been criticized by Sen. J. William Fulbright, Arkansas Democrat, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and, most recently by Sen. Mark Hatfield, Republican of Oregon. Near East Report takes exception to what it calls recent “invidious utterances” by Sen. Hatfield comparing U.S. per capita aid to Israel with aid to South Vietnam. The publication charged that Hatfield “distorts the figures to fabricate an analogy between Vietnam and Israel which is designed to prejudice Israel’s cause in the eyes of the American people.” The Nixon Administration’s delay in responding to current Israeli requests for more arms aid, including more Phantom jet aircraft, and the Congressional analysis and markup of the military sales and foreign appropriations bills are believed to have prompted the response by Near East Report. But while Israel received only a fractional proportion of the U.S. non military grants to the Arab countries, on a nation-to-nation basis she did not suffer by comparison, American grants to the Arabs were spread between 9-12 states. Sen. Hatfield’s position on the Middle East has been hailed in a recent edition of Action, a newspaper “dedicated to the liberation of Palestine.” The paper called his stand “courageous.” An earlier issue of Action described the tribute the Federated Organization on Arab-American Relations paid to Hatfield and his staff for their efforts on behalf of “the people of Palestine.” The Action articles and other documentation of Sen. Hatfield’s Mideast position have come to the attention of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. They include a statement inserted into the Congressional Record in which Hatfield expressed agreement with the proposition that “Zionism today is a form of aggressive nationalism.”