NEW YORK (Dec. 18)
Simcha Dinitz, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, charged today that the criticism by the Carter Administration of Israel’s position in the stalled peace negotiations with Egypt is “unjust and unwarranted.”
Addressing a farewell luncheon given by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Dinitz, who is ending his tenure after five years in Washington and is returning to Israel, said that the current criticism by the Administration is weakening Israel “spiritually” and warned that this “is no less harmful” than economic and military sanctions.
Recalling the recent warning by Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D.W.Va.) that Congress will not increase Israeli aid while Israel continues building settlements in the occupied territories, Dinitz declared “we are not a vassal country. We can not be talked to like that.” He added, “no one should talk to Israel in threatening terms. This is intimidating the spirit of Israel.”
Dinitz described the present strain between the U.S. and Israel as a “dispute.” He said the special relationship between the two countries does not rest solely on moral values. He stressed the strategic interests of Israel to the U.S., noting that Israel fights along with the U.S. “tyranny and dark forces.” Israel is the only stable Middle East ally of the U.S., he declared, adding, “we must be recognized as partners.”
The Israeli envoy said he believed that peace “is going to be signed soon” between Israel and Egypt because the stakes are too great. But he insisted that Israel will not agree to a peace treaty that will leave it with only a few years of quiet. He also said that the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel “will outlast” the present difficulties.
Dinitz also said “it is quite clear that the implementation of a peace treaty between the two countries (Israel and Egypt) demands a firm commitment by both sides to see to it that the relationship to be established between them is to be stable for many years to come. In this connection, it is regrettable that the inclusion in the new Egyptian suggestions of a demand of the mandatory review of the military provisions of the treaty after five years tends to lend the treaty a connotation of being temporary.”
KISSINGER: ISRAEL MADE ‘TREMENDOUS’ CONCESSIONS
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who paid tribute to Dinitz, also criticized the Carter Administration for its criticism of Israel. He said that Israel made concessions that could not be envisioned while he was in office. He stated that Israel gave tangible concessions in exchange for commitments by Egypt that can be changed. Kissinger said that “no people are more dedicated to the achievement of peace than the Israeli people.” He said he believes that the government of Israel committed itself to the achievement of peace by making “tremendous” concessions.
Kissinger stated that it is important to the U.S. and Israel that any settlement in the Middle East be the result of the free spirit of the parties involved. He warned that if Israel will appear to be acting on U.S. orders, Israel’s spirit will be broken and the situation will escalate.
But the former Secretary of State was optimistic that peace will be reached in the Mideast and said that there is “no reason for despair” since “the logic of events” in the Mideast will take its course. He predicted that the future negotiations on the fate of the West Bank will be much more difficult and complicated.
The farewell luncheon for Dinitz was attended by more than 100 Jewish leaders. Theodore Mann, chairman of the Presidents Conference; former Conference chairmen Jack Stein, Rabbi Israel Miller and Rabbi Alexander Schindler, and Yehuda Hellman, executive director of the Presidents Conference, also paid tribute to Dinitz.