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Javits Suggests Ford Visit the Mideast As an Indication That Area Has No Appetite for War

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Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) suggested today that President Ford visit the Middle East because his presence “would symbolize that the area has no appetite for war” and that “a relatively new” and “more normal situation” prevails there “notwithstanding the tragedy in Lebanon.”

Javits, the second-ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just completed a 10-day fact-finding mission for the Committee in the Middle East and will submit oral and written reports of his meetings with the leaders of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Israel and with Arab leaders on the West Bank.

PEACE POSSIBLE IN 10-15 YEARS

Javits told a press conference at the Capital “that it would take 10-15 years “of living together” in a state of renunciation of war and non-belligerence before peace could be “phased in” between the countries of the Middle East. He said that the differences between the U.S. and Israel over foreign aid funding for the transitional quarter between fiscal 1976 and fiscal 1977 should not be “a disturbing cloud” between the two countries.

Javits said military aid to Israel is not provided on the basis of competition with its neighbors but to meet its needs. He made that comment with reference to reports that China is prepared to provide Egypt with spare parts for its Soviet military equipment. Javits said that funding for Israel for the two fiscal years plus the transitional quarter would meet its requirements considering that country’s present cash outflow.

OPPOSES WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS

Javits said that the West Bank “in the wrong hands” would “be a dagger at the heart of Israel.” But he firmly opposed new Israeli settlements there. “New settlements cannot be permitted no matter what ultimately may be their disposition,” he declared, adding that “the fact of settlement won’t make any difference in our ultimate position” and that they “certainly cannot be given an advantage to Israel.”

He said the Arab disorders in response to the recent march by Israeli nationalists through the West Bank was “not good for Israel.” Javits said that while “we won’t say cut off aid for Israel, we certainly can express our views as to the result” of aid.

Asked by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency whether any Arab leader he had met told him his government would recognize Israel as a sovereign Jewish State under certain conditions, Javits replied that he did not get “such a commitment from any Arab leader.” But, he added, “Every Arab leader offered support of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 that accept Israel.” He said, however, that there is “no hope” for a Geneva conference and that it is “not right to admit the PLO” into the political process.

CONTRIBUTION TO PEACE OUTLINED

Javits contended that it is “not possible under existing conditions” to establish psychological conditions for peace” in the Middle East. He said “the most important contribution to peace” there at present was the rebuilding of cities such as he witnessed along the Suez Canal. He said he hoped “that could also be done in Kuneitra” on the Golan Heights. “Progress, country-by-country” to “better living conditions on the ground” would give both sides “mutual hostages for peace.” Javits said.

His proposal that Ford visit the Middle East was made in connection with reports from Israel that the President and Syrian President Hafez Assad may meet soon, “I hope they will and it is desirable that they do,” Javits said. But he did not think their meeting should be occasioned by the expiration May 31 of the United Nations mandate to keep a buffer force on the Golan Heights. He said he was confident that the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) would be renewed for six months, although he would prefer a one-year extension “to fortify the appetite for peace.” (See related story P. 4.)

JAVITS MUM ON WHETHER HE MET ARAFAT

Javits said he made no effort to meet with PLO chief Yasir Arafat and refused to answer a reporter’s question on whether Arafat bad asked to meet with him. Noting that some of his Senate colleagues had met with Arafat, Javits said it was in the “highest interest” of the U.S. that he not answer the question.

The Arafat matter arose when he was asked why he, a Jew, visited the Arab countries. Javits replied that the ambassadors of “various Arab countries” had asked him “to go to their countries and hear their points of view” from their leaders. “I’m glad I went.” Javits said.

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