PHILADELPHIA (Jan. 14)
A top aide to President Carter praised Israel for returning the Sinai oilfields to Egypt, calling it “an act of statesmanship that has been given too little recognition in an oil-starved world.”
David Aaron, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, told the annual assembly of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) here yesterday that as a result of the revolution in Iron and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Israel and Egypt have become “important new partners to America’s efforts to stabilize the Middle East.”
Aaron noted that “Israel is now–and long will be–a close friend and partner in the Middle East it is politically; strategically and morally important to us and that will continue to be true.” The White House official, who is a key aide to National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, cautioned, however, that Israel faced “especially difficult” choices in the West Bank-Gaza negotiations with Egypt.
But, he said, he was confident that the autonomy talks between Cairo and Jerusalem would succeed. He disclosed that Sol Linowitz, President Carter’s special Ambassador to the Middle East, would fly to the region later this month to follow up on the Begin Sadat summit and urge the negotiations on to new progress.”
U.S. WILL NOT NEGOTIATE WITH PLO
Aaron deplored the fact that the Camp David process was “rejected by virtually all Arab countries in the Middle East” and that the “threat to Israel continues.” He said the U.S. would “neither negotiate with or recognize the PLO until and unless it takes two specific steps: it must recognize the right of Israel to exist and it must accept UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the basis for all Middle East peace efforts.”
Moreover, the Presidential aide said, “acceptance by the PLO of 242 and 338 should be regarded as only a stepping-off point with respect to negotiations. It should not be regarded as the ultimate PLO concession.” He added, “It is time-past time–for the PLO to cease all acts of terrorism against Israel.”
Aaron said “We also believe that the creation of an independent Palestinian state would not contribute to peace in the Middle East.” With respect to military support for “moderate” Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, he said U.S. arms sales should continue “because we don’t want them turning to the Soviet Union.” However, he added, “we will not in any way jeopardize Israel’s security with our arms policy.
FUTURE OF ISRAEL’S SECURITY
At another session yesterday, Theodore Mann, president of the NJCRAC, discussed the status of the Jewish community in America and abroad in the context of events in the Middle East. Mann observed, in his presidential address to the 400 delegates, that “Israel’s security and future depend as much on what occurs in Iran and the rest of the Islamic world in the years ahead as on the outcome of the current peace negotiations. Soviet Jewry’s future depends as much or more on the nature of the relationship between the two great superpowers than on what we or Israel can do for them or they can do for themselves.”
Mann said “Our own future as an American. Jewish community depends as much an America’s future and its ability to influence the course of events in Islam and in that entire chaotic section of the globe as on our ability to transmit successfully our heritage.
The American Jewish leader praised the Administration’s policies in the current crises in Iran and Afghanistan. “If our nation’s friends and adversaries alike conclude that there are virtually no circumstances in which America will use its might, we will have moved a step backward, not forward, in our efforts to bring peace and freedom to this battered world,” he said. “That is why the two-track approach of or government–uncommon restraint on the use of power in Iran and the escalating use of power in the Afghanistan crisis–is an approach that commends itself to Americans.”