WASHINGTON (May. 15)
Israeli Minister of Justice Shmuel Tamir cautioned American Jewish community leaders last night that "the security of Israel, the very existence of Israel" are at stake in the next phase of the Egyptian-Israeli-American regotiations opening in El Arish May 26. He spoke at a dinner meeting of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Alluding to Israel’s determination to maintain its view of autonomy for the West Bank, Tamir said "as highly important" as the Sinai is "Samaria and Judaea are intertwined in the tiny piece of geography" that is Israel. Israel "for the goal of peace, has shown a global viewpoint and understanding of the free world’s needs," he said, in its peace proposals.
Pointing to anti-Israel statements from Syria, the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization and even Egypt in recent days, Tamir said "We in our generation learned to trust the threats of dictators and the noises and voices of totalitarian regimes because they are true. Hitler lived up to fulfillment of every threat."
The more than 1000 men and women at the dinner meeting at the Capital Hilton Hotel broke into applause when Tamir said that Jerusalem is open for Jews, Moslems and Christians for "the first time in 200 years" and "this is the way it will remain." Tamir, who met here yesterday with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Special Ambassador Robert Strauss who is heading the U.S. delegation to the autonomy talks, left here today and will address two United Jewish Appeal functions in Toronto Thursday.
President Carter sent greetings to the AIPAC conference dinner. Among the guests were Presidential political advisor Hamilton Jordan, Presidential consultant Edward Sanders, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs Harold Saunders, White House Congressional liaison Frank Moore and two score of Senators and Representatives.
URGES RETENTION OF J-V AMENDMENT
Senators Alan Cranston (D. Calif.), the second-ranking leader of the Senate’s Democratic majority, and Robert Packwood (R. Ore.) preceded Tamir in the speaking program. Referring to the impending Carter-Brezhnev conference in mid – June in Vienna, Cranston indicated that because of the second SALT agreement, the Soviet Union "won’t actively subvert" the Egyptian-Israeli treaty and that the Soviet Union has shown "restraint" on developments in Iran.
"The promise of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment has been substantially recognized," Cranston said, regarding increased Soviet Jewish emigration. "That does not mean it should be repealed or amended, "he said, but that "Compliance" with the trade low "has been achieved." He expressed hope that "much more comes out" of the summit conference than the SALT agreement.
U.S. MIDEAST POLICY ASSAILED
Packwood aroused storms of applause in his series of attacks on the Carter Administration’s Middle East policy. With Saunders and top White House officials sitting nearby, he pointed out that "at a time when we should be strengthening Israel, Harold Sounders was telling the Arabs on the West Bank ‘hold on’ — we will get Israel out of the West Bank like we did in Sinai." Packwood described as "baloney" Carter’s insistence that the West Bank settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace.
Recalling Carter’s letter to "every Senator" last spring in defense of his proposal to sell F-15 warplanes to Saudi Arabia because the Saudis "work for moderation and peace," Packwood said, "I don’t need to remind this audience what kind of moderating effect Saudi Arabia has had on the Egyptian-Israeli treaty."
Attacking appeasement of Israel’s foes and pointing to the lesson of Munich 41 years ago when "the Western world cravenly surrendered to Hitler," Packwood said "last year it was just give us the F-15s." This year it is ‘just give us the West Bank.’ For the radical rejectionist Arab states fast year, this year and next year, it’s ‘just give us Israel’."
ISRAEL SEEKS COMPREHENSIVE PEACE
Last night, Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron told the opening session of AIPAC’s annual conference that Israel seeks "a comprehensive peace with which we can live." He observed that "friends forget we, too, have rights no less than the others." This was seen as a thinly veiled reference to the claims continually set forth for Israel’s enemies.
Evron, saying that Israel is "now in the most sensitive phase of peace negotiations" for a Middle East settlement, stressed that "what we seek is coexistence with open borders, the right of movement, of living and working together." Whatever happens now he said, "will have a vital affect on our security. No one expects us, with regard for our security, to depend only on the good-will of the Mayor of Ramallah." The Israeli envoy expressed hope that "the inhabitants of Judaea and Samaria will reconsider their present attitude, their present position for the future of their children as well as ours and participate in discussions and find solutions that all of us can live with."
Morris Amitay, AIPAC’s executive secretary, noted that the 600 delegates from 37 states who registered for the conference constituted an unprecedented attendance for on AIPAC opening session.