Menu JTA Search

Senate Authorizes U.S. to Provide Aid to Israel, Egypt

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The Senate yesterday adopted the $4.8 billion bill authorizing the U.S. to provide $3 billion for Israel and $1.8 billion for Egypt to implement their peace treaty.

The vote was 73-11. Liberals and conservatives were involved on both sides of the vote. Voting against the bill were Sens. Adlai Stevenson (D. III) and William Proxmire (D. Wisc). They were joined by Sens. Jesse Helms (R. NC), Barry Goldwater (R.Ariz.) and Russell Long (D.La.), among others.

Stevenson, who is not seeking re-election next year, argued that “despite all the wishful thinking the United States cannot threaten, intimidate or coerce the Arabs, the Europeans or anyone else into accepting a step-by-step approach to peace in the Middle East.”

The Arabs, he added, “think this approach allows Israel to pick and choose between those issues it wants to settle and those it wants to Ignore. Joi### now by Iran, they are in a position of considerable influence in a world that depends heavily on the Middle East for fuel and capital. And it can not be said that there is no basis for their concern.”

Stevenson said U.S. “influence in the Mideast is diminished. If this process (Egyptian-Israeli negotiations) fails to produce some evidence of progress on the West Bank issue in the near future the Arab perception of Israeli intentions and the prospects for a settlement will appear vindicated the world over.”

Earlier in the debate, Sen. Paul Laxalt (R. Nev.). a conservative leader, pointed out that he has not supported “a single foreign assistance measure since coming to the Senate” five years ago. But on this issue he was making on exception because it “contributes to a prudent attempt at solving an extraordinarily difficult and dangerous problem. Although no one can be overly sanguine about the prospects for finally achieving peace in the Middle East, I believe it imperative that the glimmer of hope for peace raised by the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty be sustained.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee reported out the measure today but no date has yet been set for a vote in the House. It is expected to be approved there.

INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS ASKED TO HELP

Meanwhile, the Senate by a voice vote yesterday adopted a sense of Congress resolution urging President Carter to seek the cooperation of other industrialized nations to help implement the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty by economic assistance to both countries.

Sen. Larry Pressler (R. SD) urged the establishment of an international “peace development fund” to underwrite the costs of supporting peace in the Middle East. He tacked the measure on to the $4.8 billion bill. Sen. Frank Church (D. ldaho) and Sen. Jacob Javits (R. NY), the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, respectively, sponsored the measure.

The House has already adopted a similar measure. On April 9. by a voice vote and no dissent, the House adopted the resolution offered by Rep. Don Ritter (R. Pa.) as a rider on the International Development Cooperation Act.

NEXT STORY