WASHINGTON (Nov. 19)
Vice President Walter Mondale, speaking for President Carter, said last night that “We stand for an undivided Jerusalem with free access to all holy places” and opposition to an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza.
Mondale addressed 1000 prominent Jewish personalities from the U.S. and Canada and several Latin American and European countries attending a Stare of Israel Bonds “International Dinner of Tribute” to Sam Rothberg, a principal founder and presently chairman of the Israel Bond Organization.
The gathering launched the Israel Bond Organization’s 1980 campaign with a goal of $1 billion. More than $35 million was raised in Bonds and notes at the dinner, much of it in Rothberg’s name. He was also presented with the first Golda Meir Leadership Award, a bust of the late Israeli Premier by the noted Baltimore sculptor, Paul Goodman.
Mondale shared the platform with Israel’s Interior Minister Yosef Burg representing Premier Menachem Begin who could not attend the dinner because of “urgent affairs of state.” (See separate story.)
The Vice President’s extemporaneous speech while breaking no new ground in the Administration’s outlook toward the Middle East, was frequently punctuated by applause. Mondale recalled Meir’s dream that some day “Arab farmers will cross Israel’s borders not with guns but with tractors and outstretched hands, farmer to farmer.” In that connection, he said, “slowly, steadily, tenaciously-we are working our way to normalcy.” He added that after 30 years of conflict, “today there is no reason to despair.”
‘WE WILL STAND BY ISRAEL, ALWAYS’
Mondale declared, “Israel is no longer tentative. The State of Israel is forever.” Speaking for himself and President Carter, he said “We will stand by Israel, always….Israel is our friend, our partner, our conscience. Its well being is in our strategic interest.”
He said the Carter Administration stands for a “comprehensive peace” in the Middle East but “We don’t favor an independent Palestinian state. We will not negotiate with the PLO and we will not recognize the PLO unless it first recognizes Israel and Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It is past time for the PLO to recognize Israel. It is past time for an end to terrorism.”
Mondale cautioned that “there will be problems” and “emotion-laden” situations and “contentions.” But, he said, “Never, never, never will the security of Israel be compromised in that process toward peace.”
In an apparent reference to former Texas Gov. John Connally’s nine-point peace plan for the Middle East linking oil with a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Mondale warned that “To opt for a quick fix, a cookie-cutter set of ready-made solutions, would be a threat to everything that has been accomplished” in the peace process now underway.
In a reference to the U.S. Iranian crisis, Mondale declared, “We will not succumb to blackmail over Israel or over oil — nor will we succumb to it in Iran.”