Shamir Says U.S. Vote Shows Israel Still Has Friends

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir expressed satisfaction today with the U.S. Senate’s overwhelming defeat last night of an amendment which would have reduced U.S. economic aid to Israel by $150 million as a gesture of disapproval of its settlements policy.

The Senate vote proves that Israel still has friends, “that the whole world is not against us and that it is worth Fighting for our cause and for our rights,” Shamir said in an address to the Knesset. He spoke in reply to several motions on the declaration by the Prime Ministers of the nine European Economic Community (EEC-) countries in Venice last Friday which, among other things, said the Palestine Liberation Organization and other Palestinian groups have to “be associated” with the Middle East peace process.

Shamir was strongly critical of the declaration but his remarks were for from the Cabinet’s emotional outcry Sunday, read to reporters by Premier Menachem Begin, which called the Venice declaration a “second Munich surrender.” Shamir said European interests were understandable for a variety of reasons and that if the Europeans were to seek a way to encourage the Camp David process, Israel would be the first to welcome their activity.

However, he charged, the Venice document undermined Camp David and thereby encouraged the intransigent elements in the Arab world. “I know full well the difficulty of a confrontation with the states of Europe, some of which are truly our friends,” Shamir said. But, he added, Israel could not negotiate with the Arabs on the basis of the Venice document. He urged the opposition to unite with the government in opposing the Venice declaration because it took positions on Jerusalem and the PLO which both the government and the opposition parties find unacceptable.

There was no indication from Shamir’s remarks whether Israel would cooperate with a “fact-finding mission” that may be sent to the Middle East by the, EEC countries. Tomorrow, Yosef Ciechanover, Director General of the Foreign Ministry, will meet with Israel’s ambassadors to the EEC countries. They will be instructed to convey to their respective host countries Israel’s reasons for rejecting the Venice declaration.

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