Presidents Conference, Aj Committee Hope Pact Will Lead to Lasting Peace

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the American Jewish Committee expressed hope today that the new Israeli-Egyptian interim agreement initialed in Jerusalem and Alexandria today would lead to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, acting chairman of the Presidents Conference, declared in a statement issued late today: “Israel has taken the risks for peace that President Ford and Secretary Kissinger have said were essential to progress toward ending the conflict in the Middle East. We can afford no illusions about this or any other agreement; no arrangement is better than the intentions and performance of the parties.

“If it is to work, the agreement requires that the Administration and the Congress comply wholeheartedly with the assurances of continued support offered by our representatives and relied upon by the government of Israel. Above all, if there is to be continued peace in the area, there can be no retreat from the recognition that Israel must be demonstrably able to resist aggression by its neighbors. If this agreement is faithfully carried out by all the parties, there is the hope that it may become the preamble toward a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Elmer L. Winter, President of AJ Committee, said today the AJCommittee welcomes the Israel-Egypt pact “for the promise it holds for the complete and lasting peace that has eluded the area these many years. We are gratified that our country under the leadership of President Ford and Secretary Kissinger and with the overwhelming backing of the American people and Congress has played such an active role in the pursuit of Middle East peace. Certainly it will continue to be in America’s national interest to provide the necessary underpinnings — economic and political — to ensure peace in the area and the viability of the democratic State of Israel.”

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