Carter Administration Rapped for the Technique of Its Approach to Solving the Middle East Conflict

Rep. John Rhodes, the House Minority leader, criticized the Carter Administration yesterday for the “technique” of its approach to solving the Middle East conflict. He said that while President Carter was continuing the Ford-Kissinger policy of “even-handedness” in dealing with the parties, “the main difference between the two. . . is that under the Ford-Kissinger plan we were on honest broker. We weren’t telling anybody what we thought the settlement should be.”

The Arizona Republican made his remarks on the ABC “Issues and Answers” television program. “I think possibly the technique which the Carter Administration uses is in my opinion not the technique that I would follow to get the best results,” he said. He explained: “I can’t imagine it was wise of the President to indicate that Israel was going to have to give back the whole West Bank or that they should give up the Golan Heights. . . .As soon as we take a position then the other parties have to take positions too and the first thing you know you end up before you ever get to the bargaining table with everything concrete.”

Rhodes said he agreed with what Carter “now says he is going to do and that is to sort of cool it until the parties actually sit down.” He added, “I don’t think we can operate effectively if we are in the arena. We are not parties” to the conflict and “we should not be parties.”

SADAT, HUSSEIN DISCUSS PALESTINIANS

Meanwhile, in another Middle East development, it was reported from Cairo today that President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan agreed over the weekend to forge an “explicit link” between Jordan and the Palestinians in order to ensure a role for the latter in future peace talks.

Egyptian sources did not spell out details of the agreement but said it could circumvent Israeli opposition to Palestinian participation in the Geneva conference by unifying the Palestinians and the Jordanians in advance. Sadat has said he favored a Palestinian state linked to Jordan. Carter has referred several times to a Palestinian homeland which he stressed should be joined in some form to Jordan.

NEXT STORY