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American Arab Delegation Visits White House to Urge PLO Recognition

A delegation from American Arab organizations visited the White House this morning to urge President Carter to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization, invite its chief, Yasir Arafat to the White House and to stop “pressing the Arab states to make peace with Israel.”

The delegation, headed by Dr. William Small, president of the Federation of American Arab Organizations, and Dr. M. T. Mehdi, president of the American-Arab Relations Committee and executive director of the Federation, was received by William B. Quandt, a staff member of the National Security Council in charge of Middle East affairs.

They called on the President “to terminate discrimination against American Arabs.” The group charged that by receiving only Jewish leaders, the President discriminated against Arab Americans in favor of American Jews. They asked for a meeting with the President.

The Federation submitted a letter addressed to Carter charging that he was pressuring the Arab states to recognize Menachem Begin, “a dangerous fascist and an outlaw.” It accused the Administration of “blackmailing the Arabs” and demanding “too much for too little.” In urging recognition of the PLO, Mehdi said that such a move “will encourage the Israelis to recognize the rights of the Palestinians and to learn to live with them.” He claimed that recognition of the PLO would “be the first step toward real peace” in the Middle East.

The letter urged the President to press for “unconditional” Israeli withdrawal from Arab territories and to suspend all U.S. military aid and sales to Israel and the Arab states. There was no immediate comment on this from the White House.

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