Jewish Leader Guardedly Optimistic About Current Situation in Mideast
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Leader Guardedly Optimistic About Current Situation in Mideast

Download PDF for this date

Bertram Gold, executive vice president of the American Jewish Committee, expressed guarded optimism about the current situation in the Middle East for the short run, saying that the Israeli-Egyptian peace process is taken so much for granted that “it is hard to realize the enormity of this development.”

Looking ahead to the 1980s, Gold told the AJCommittee’s National Executive Council meeting here at the Fairmont Hotel for its annual meeting that there was little doubt in his mind “that for the next two years or so it will take for the rest of the Sinai to be returned to Egypt, President (Anwar) Sadat will not find it in his country’s interest to derail the negotiations.”

He added that the United States, “despite its vacillation,” seems to be willing to permit the negotiations between Israel and Egypt to proceed “without pushing either of them beyond where they are prepared to go.”

Turning to the Black community, Gold acknowledged that recent differences between Blacks and Jews following the resignation of Andrew Young as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations has had an impact on the situation in the Middle East. “The most serious consequence of these sad events,” he said , “has been a renewed internationalization of political anti-Semitism, moving it out of the domestic area into the Third World and the Middle East,” But even In this area Gold found some hope for optimism. “In many communities, long-standing Black – Jewish relationships have been maintained and even strengthened in the face of this crisis,” he said.

Addressing another session of the weekend meeting, former Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin said that Israel’s partner for the peacemaking process should be King Hussein of Jordon; that the basis for negotiations should be the Camp David agreements; and that instead of autonomy on the West Bank during the transitional period, the solution should be a Jordanian-Israeli trusteeship for that period.

Rabin stressed his belief in the importance of the transitional five-to-seven-year period, pointing out that it should be utilized for an attempt to cooperate with Jordan concerning governance of the West Bank. He said he was convinced that Hussein would eventually be willing to cooperate in this plan because the Jordanian ruler would not welcome the possible alternative of a Palestinian state on his border.

“The permanent settlement,” Rabin continued, “should be in the context of having a Jordanian Palestinian state east of Israel that will include the densely Arab-populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while Israel retains the security zones along the Jordan Valley, greater Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and the southern part of the Gaza Strip.”


In another development here, Jacobo Timerman, the Argentine publisher and editor who was recently expelled from his country after who was recently expelled from his country after spending a year in prison and a year-and-a-half under house arrest, and who is now a citizen of Israel, urged the American Jewish Committee and other organizations like it to continue their worldwide human rights activities and to expand the activities in that area to those countries it might not yet have reached.

Speaking at a press conference here yesterday afternoon and last night at a gala dinner when he received the mass media award of the A JCommittee’s Institute of Human Relations, Timerman said that organizations like the A JCommittee could “save more lives, establish bases for coexistence better than any of the decisions of the innumerable political organizations that exist and reproduce themselves ad infinitum.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund