ZOA Leader Assails Administration

Ivan J. Novick, president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), sharply criticized today the Carter Administration’s statement this week expressing concern over new Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He also denounced the Administration for defining in advance “how (President Anwar) Sadat should react.”

Novick told a press conference, “It is my impression that Mr. Sadat is not bashful. If it (the Israeli new settlement) is harmful to the peace effort let it come from him and not through the over-anxious statement by the State Department.”

The White House and the State Department both said a few days ago that Israel’s announcement of new settlement in the West Bank is “harmful to the peace process.” Novick termed the statement “puzzling and disturbing.”

He added: “We of the ZOA dispute the State Department claim that the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza are illegal. Historically, and in accord with international low — since Great Britain was entrusted with the mandate of Palestine — this land has been recognized as belonging to the Jewish people.”

Novick called on the Carter Administration “to let Egypt and Israel negotiate and not interfere” in the peace process. He accused President Carter of placing the “weight of the American Administration on the side of Egypt and in effect (of) serving as its advisor and counsel before the bar of world public opinion.”

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