JERUSALEM (Dec. 10)
Sen. George McGovern (D.SD), one of the first American leaders to favor U.S. contacts with the Palestinians, declared here that “for the moment” he supports the Administration’s policy of no talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization because it could jeopardize the current peace negotiations. McGovern also expressed support for a united Jerusalem under Israeli administration.
In an interview published yesterday in the Jerusalem Post, the 1972 Presidential candidate said the holding of American hostages in Iran “has given Americans a better appreciation of the fear of terrorism that Israel has had for 30 years …. This situation is something new for us …. Now we know how Israel feels about terrorism.” McGovern said in a radio interview over the weekend that he would favor U.S. military action against Iran it the hostages were killed.
McGovern met with Premier Menachem Begin for over an hour Saturday night. They are understood to have devoted most of their conversation to the situation in Iran. With respect to the PLO, McGovern told the Jerusalem Post that “it probably comes as close as any group to speaking for the Palestinians, but it is not the only one.”
After touring Jerusalem, escorted by Mayor Teddy Kollek, the U.S. Senator said, “I think Jerusalem must stay united …. The religious shrines have been maintained with almost loving care …. They’ve never been better cared for. I don’t think it can be improved.” He added, “If an air-tight commitment” can be written into an Israeli-Arab peace treaty guaranteeing free access to Jerusalem for all religions, then “we can surely push to keeping Jerusalem united under the Israeli administration.”