Carter Pledges Mideast Peace Must Be Based on Assurance of Israel’s Survival

Former Gov. Jimmy Carter of Georgia declared today that “a real peace (in the Middle East) must be based on the absolute assurance of Israel’s survival and security” and “as President, I would never yield on that point.” Carter made that pledge before an overflow crowd of more than 2,000 persons at the Jewish Educational Center here. “Our constant and unwavering goal must be the survival of Israel as a Jewish State and the achievement of a just and lasting peace.” he said.

Carter, the current front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination who faces a crucial primary test in New Jersey this Tuesday, stated what he considered to be the heart of the matter in the Middle East. “Peace in the Middle East depends more than anything else on a basic change in attitudes.” he said. “To be specific, on Arab recognition of the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. This change must be reflected in tangible and concrete actions by the Arab countries including: Recognition of Israel, diplomatic relations with Israel, a peace treaty with Israel; open frontiers by Israel’s neighbors; an end to embargoes and official hostile propaganda against Israel,” Carter declared. He stressed that he favors face-to-face negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, not a settlement imposed by the major powers. He added that “the guide to a general settlement is to be found in United Nations Resolution 242 which has been accepted by Israel.” He said that “Arab leaders will have to acknowledge that the Arab-Israel war is over, once and for all, that this is not just another armed truce.”

PROMISES CONTINUED AID

Carter said as President he would be committed to continuing aid to Israel, both economic and military, and to maintaining a strong American military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and a “capacity to re-enforce that presence, forcefully if need be, in order to deter outside intervention in any local conflict.” He observed that “We want no clash with the Soviets, but we could not accept the intervention of its combat forces into any Arab-Israeli conflict.” He said he still holds to his view, stated several months ago, that the U.S. should not provide offensive weapons to Egypt. But to help Egypt toward its economic development would be a step on the road to peace, he said.

Carter drew prolonged applause when he said, “This is a difficult time for Israel in the international arena. I deplore actions taken recently in the UN. I reject utterly the charge that Zionism is a form of racism. Indeed, Zionism has been, in part, a response to racism against the Jewish people.”

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