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Mrs. Meir Denies Israel’s ‘love’ of Territories is Obstacle to Mideast Peace

Former Premier Golda Meir said today that most Israelis will be prepared to compromise on the West Bank in return for peace with Jordan. But, she said, the Israeli settlements along the Jordan River are a security line for Israel in case of a Jordanian attack. Addressing an enthusiastic gathering of about 1000 United Jewish Appeal community leaders at a luncheon at the Pierre Hotel, Mrs. Meir declared “the greatest lie in the world is that there is no peace in the Middle East because we fell in love with the territories.”

She reiterated the Israeli contention that the Arabs were not willing to reconcile themselves to Israel’s existence even before the June 1967 war when Israel did not control the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or parts of the Golan Heights and Sinai. The former Premier, whose speech today marked the end of her current American speaking tour, said that the Palestinian problem should be resolved through negotiations between Israel and Jordan. She noted that most Palestinians are Jordanian citizens and that there is no room for a third state between Israel and Jordan.

Mrs. Meir castigated the United Nations for treating Israel “as a culprit of the world.” She noted that while a “terrible tragedy” is taking place in Lebanon, nobody is concerned about it. “Pretty soon they will blame Israel for the Lebanese tragedy,” she remarked with obvious sarcasm. Mrs. Meir reiterated that the future of Israel and the Jewish people is in the hands of the Jewish people themselves and that therefore Israel will never be destroyed.

Frank Lautenberg, general chairman of the UJA, announced that the 1976 campaign has reached a total of $500 million to date. He said that pledges have come from 800 Jewish communities across the country. A check for $12 million raised by 92 communities for Israel was presented to Ambassador Chaim Herzog, Israel’s envoy to the United Nations.

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