WASHINGTON (Mar. 23)
The White House emphatically denied today widely circulated reports that President Carter and his National Security Advisor. Zbigniew Brzezinski, had privately expressed the view that Israel’s final borders should include parts of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai peninsula.
“The story is inaccurate. There has been an official denial. We have taken no position on any of those matters,” Presidential Press Secretary Jody Powell told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency this morning.
The denial followed reports of unknown origin that Carter had told foreign diplomats in private conversations that he believes Israel’s 1967 borders are indefensible and that adjustments of up to 32 miles in Israel’s favor may be required in any formal settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict.
The President was also reported to have expressed the view that the Jordan River is a natural defense line for Israel in the east, implying that in the U.S. view Israel could maintain patrols along the river after a final settlement. In addition, Carter was reported to have said that his recent assertion that the Palestinian refugees should have a homeland meant a homeland within Jordan’s orbit, not an independent state but one linked to Jordan in a definite way.
Another report said that Brzezinski had conveyed to the Israeli Embassy here assurances that Israel would not have to return to its 1967 borders in a final peace settlement and that Carter believes that total withdrawal to the 1967 lines is a dead issue. A” White House source said today that Brzezinski has denied that he made any such remarks and called the account “a complete fiction.” According to the sources, Brzezinski made no statements outlining any specific borders.
A delegation of the American Jewish Committee’s Board of Governors, headed by AJ Committee President Elmer Winter, met with Brzezinski for 45 minutes on Monday. But Hyman Bookbinder, the AJ Committee’s Washington representative who was present at the meeting, said today that the matter of Israel’s borders did not arise. “Absolutely not,” he told the JTA.