NEW YORK (Mar. 27)
Ehud Avriel, deputy director of the Foreign Ministry of Israel, said that he considered the meetings in Washington between Premier Menachem Begin and President Carter to have been “a futile attempt” by Carter “to tell Israel what its best interests are and to tell Israel what it should do in pursuit of those interests.”
Addressing the Zionist Organization of America’s National Executive Committee (NEC). Avriel also commented on American media speculation that Begin’s days as Premier are numbered. “There is absolutely no chance of a change in the majority with which Begin is running the affairs of the State of Israel.” he said. “It is also quite apparent that the campaign against Begin is having the opposite affect and is strengthening public support for him in Israel.”
Avriel noted that it is a politically naive illusion to think that Begin’s position is unique to him. “There is no man who could be Prime Minister of Israel who could make peace on (Egyptian President Anwar) Sadat’s terms.” he said. “The important thing is that Israel is not willing to yield for something that might look good on paper but which might well be equal to the destruction of Israel.”
Rabbi Joseph P. Sternstein. ZOA president. also told the NEC, which over the weekend met in New York, that there was now an “open rift” between Israel and the United States and that the U.S. was clearly supporting Arab demands with regard to the territories. “The truth is.” Sternstein said, “that the United States is obstructing a separate peace between Israel and Egypt. It is not justice the Administration seeks but the profit of Arab petro-dollars.” He expressed confidence that the American people would not support the policy of appeasement of the Arabs.
The NEC unanimously passed a resolution promising full support for Begin and committing the ZOA to a nationwide educational campaign on the issues of the Middle East. Ivan Novick, execu tive committee chairman, termed the U.S. move in the United Nations Security Council last weekend calling for Israel’s immediate withdrawal from south Lebanon “an act of appeasement of the Arab states and of the Soviet Union, the godfathers of the PLO terrorists.”