Kissinger Urges Israel to Stand Fast for Suitable Peace Talks Procedures
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Kissinger Urges Israel to Stand Fast for Suitable Peace Talks Procedures

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Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger cautioned Israel today to stand fast for suitable procedures toward reconvening the Geneva conference and to remain unyielding in its opposition to a Palestinian state which, he said, by its very nature would jeopardize the “tranquility” of the Middle East.

In an address to the closing session of the World Jewish Congress General Council meeting, Kissinger, though using veiled terms, implied strong criticism of the Carter Administration’s Middle East policies and those of some European governments.

He did not identify any government or personality by name and told his audience at the outset that he would not discuss tactical situations in the Middle East because of his obligation to refrain from such matters for a full year following his retirement from office. The former Secretary told the gathering, “I wanted to talk to you at a moment of great complexity to the Jewish people” and about the” present situation that must fill all Jews with a sense of responsibility and concern.”

Kissinger said he believed that a Middle East peace “must be achieved in closest cooperation between Israel and the U.S.,” but added, in an apparent reference to the Carter Administration, “It is not enough to give grudging acceptance” and to depend “on a continual need for assurances.” He said that “Jews can ensure their interests best by understanding the interests of the countries in which they live” but “similarly, the U.S. and other countries owe Israel understanding of the insecurity of the people of Israel who have not had peace in their entire history.”


Kissinger stressed, “A just peace cannot be an imposed peace but a peace in which all nations feel they have a stake in maintaining and preserving it.” At each stage “the parties must feel it was their decision and not somebody else’s decision that brought about a final conclusion,” he said.

He noted that “the procedure is sometimes as important as substance. It makes a good deal of difference who participates in negotiations, what the purposes of the countries are and in what sequence issues are discussed. These are not trivial issues, these are central issues.”

Kissinger warned, “A separate Arab state on the West Bank, whatever its declaration, whatever its intentions, must have an objective that cannot have compatibility with the tranquility of the Middle East.” This has nothing to do with assurances and promises but is “inherent in the logic” of the Middle East circumstances, he said. No nation, he added, “can entrust its destiny simply to the good will of another state.”


In that connection, Kissinger contended that “all foreign policy must begin with concern for the balance of power. Therefore, Jews must stand for that in the countries in which they live. They cannot attack a defense program in their own country and defend a strong Israel. This is a necessity that should be beyond discussion,” he said.

Kissinger said, “All Jews must be for peace because no people has suffered so much from its absence” but all Jews know that “peace cannot rest on the profession” of political promises. He said that Jews have seen too much of transitory intentions. “All Jews know they can easily become targets of popular emotions” and “therefore feel they must not be seen as the source of international difficulty. And yet all Jews have seen too much of suffering, too many killed, to abdicate their judgment what is necessary for peace,” Kissinger said.

At the closing session of the WJC conference, Philip Klutznick, chairman of the WJC board of governors, succeeded Nahum Goldmann as WJC president. Goldmann was elected to the special office of Founding President. Lord Fisher of Camden, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was elected chairman of the WJC board of governors.

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