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Reagan Advisor Blasts Begin’s Settlement Policy

Rita Houser, currently a member of Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy advisory group, believes that the Carter Administration has muffed the Camp David peace process. She also characterizes Premier Menachem Begin’s settlement policy “a disaster.”

Houser, who has been prominent in Republican politics for a number of years, expressed her views in an interview with Al Erlick, associate editor of the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia this week. She stressed that she was speaking as an individual and not as a representative of any organization. Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the American Jewish Committee and a member of its Board of Governors, she was in Philadelphia to address an AJ Committee dinner.

She served as U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission during the Nixon Administration. In her present capacity she assists in formulating positions for Reagan, the apparent Republican Presidential nominee, on such issues as the UN, the Middle East and human rights.

U.S. VACILLATES ON PLO

“Mrs. Houser is convinced that the ‘foreign policy drift’ on the part of the U.S. is dangerous to the State of Israel and to the entire Western world,” the Exponent reported. “She considers the Camp David accords and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt as the one area of success in the Carter Administration’s foreign policy, but believes that this achievement has been dampened by an inability to follow it up.

“A consistent U.S. position on such issues as the Palestine Liberation Organization might have brought forward a more moderate Palestinian entity, she believes, ” the Exponent said. “Instead of clearly stating opposition to the PLO until it changed its covenant and terror tactics, the U.S., according to Mrs. Houser, has sent conflicting signals, convincing the most extreme elements in the Mideast that there is no reason to change their position.”

The Exponent quoted Houser as saying that “The current settlement policy, (of Israel) is a disaster. It is provocative. You just can’t establish Jewish settlements in places like Nablus and Hebron. The sooner Begin is replaced the better His policies are not accepted by Israelis; they are dangerous policies.”

She was quoted as saying further, “Israel is a relatively insignificant issue in the problems of the Western world. Where is Israel if the West goes down?”

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