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State Department Says U.S. Not out to Impose Will on Israel or Egypt

An expression of concern that the Carter Administration was exerting pressure on Israel in the peace negotiations with Egypt elicited a response from the State Department that the U.S. has “no intention of imposing our own suggestions on either of the parties.” That assurance was contained in a letter written by David A. Kom, director of the Office of Israeli and Arab/Israeli Affairs of the State Department, to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, president of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada.

Kom said he was responding at the request of the White House to a telegram Feinstein sent to President Carter protesting alleged U.S. pressure on Israel. He wrote, “Our policy, as stated by President Carter, remains ‘not to try to impose our will on anyone but to act as a trusted intermediary’ in the peace negotiations. The United States is not undertaking its efforts in the belief that it can impose a settlement upon the nations involved.”

Kom explained: “Our involvement in the negotiations between the parties stems from the unique confidence that both sides to the conflict place in the United States as a mediator and partner to the peace process. We interpret our role as intermediary in the broadest sense. And while we are prepared to bring U.S. influence into play to help both sides on issues we consider crucial, and to introduce ideas and suggestions of our own when we believe this will advance the negotiations, we certainly have no intention of imposing our own suggestions on either of the parties.”

The letter reaffirmed that “America’s commitment to Israel is based on a unique and profound relationship, which includes a common cultural tradition and shared democratic values. This commitment to the security, strength, and well being of Israel has been reaffirmed by every American Administration since the modem State of Israel was established thirty years ago. It is the cornerstone of our peace efforts.”