NEW YORK (Sep. 4)
Ramsey Clark, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate from New York, urged continued American commitment to provide Israel with the weapons needed to defend herself and called upon the U.S. to lead the way in creating an internationally-financed “Mideast Development Authority” to help Israel and its Arab neighbors meet their social and economic problems. Clark’s statements were made in a position paper, “Toward Peace in the Middle East,” released today at a press conference at his campaign headquarters.
“To fend off war, the United States must make a complete and unequivocal commitment to provide Israel the invincible armament that will deter any attack,” Clark said. “This first step must be signalled loud and clear–Israel shall survive.”
Clark, a former U.S. Attorney General, added at the news conference, “I don’t see how any decent people anywhere on earth could stand it if anything happened to Israel.” But Clark stressed the defense of Israel is only the first step toward peace which could only come “not by drawing lines in the sand” but by all nations in the area cooperating for their economic improvement. He said the U.S. should urge creation of the development authority when the Geneva peace conference resumes.
ASKS FOR $2 B ANNUAL COMMITMENT
“I believe that the United States, working ideally through a multi-national organization like the United Nations, should devote itself to creating and implementing a Mideast Development Authority– a kind of TVA to attack regional problems of irrigation, housing, health, education,” Clark said.
“I believe we should commit ourselves to contributing at least $2 billion annually for a decade if others–rich nations. Western Europe, oil-rich Arab states, the Soviet Union, and international monetary organizations–will do the same. International oil corporations profiteering from petroleum production in the Middle East should be taxed heavily by the United States and other nations to aid the funding.”
Clark added that the oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia which have not done anything to help the people in the area, might be persuaded to do so by the international example. He also urged a Middle East economic union, like the European Common Market, which would include Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.
Asked if he was being overly optimistic in the face of the Arab-Israel conflict, Clark said. “You have to have hope.” He said cooperation for development is the only way to prevent a continuing cycle of wars every five years.
3-DAY HUNGER STRIKE LAUNCHED
After the press conference, Clark went to the New York Stock Exchange to attend a rally protesting the treatment of Soviet Jews and Jews in Arab lands. The rally launched a three-day hunger strike by young Jews to tell American corporations dealing with the Soviet Union that the emigration of Soviet Jews must come before increased trade with the USSR. The demonstration will also appeal to the financial community to make no deals with the Arab nations until Syrian and Iraqi Jews are treed.
The hunger strike is being sponsored by the Jewish Athletic Club of Brooklyn, Betar, Committee for the Rescue of Syrian Jews, Long Island Committee for Soviet Jewry, National Council of Young Israel, the Rabbinical Board of Seashore Front, and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. Other groups cooperating in this venture are the American Jewish Committee, the American Sephardic Federation and the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry.