NEW YORK (Aug. 12)
Two Republican Senators vowed here to continue to oppose the Reagan Administration’s proposed sale of AWACS reconnaissance planes to Saudi Arabia, claiming that the sale will not only endanger Israel’s security but would harm U.S. interests as well.
Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (NY), addressing some 3,000 delegates and guests at the 67th National Convention of Hadassah at the Hilton Hotel here, said that although he is a firm supporter of the Reagan Administration he is convinced nontheless that the Administration is following “an erroneous and dangerous path” with regard to the AWACS sale.
Citing the example of lran, to which the U.S., under the rule of the late Shah, supplied the most advanced weapons in the world, D’Amato said if the Saudis need protection for their oil fields the U.S. can provide it with U.S.-manned aircraft. “But we should never sell the AWACS to the Saudis or to any-one else,” he said.
The Senator from New York also said that Israel served “world peace” by destroying the Iraqi nuclear reactor last June. “It was a courageous act by Israel, ” he declared, adding: “They did what they had to do.”
DANGERS INVOLVED IN AWACS SALE
Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon, who addressed a banquet dinner of Hadassah last night warned that if Saudi Arabia will receive the AWACS and other advanced U.S. weapons, there is a possibility that these advanced weapons, in case of another Mideast war, will be used against Israel even if Saudi Arabia will not be directly involved. He also warned that the AWACS sale does not mean an end to the ever growing price of oil.
“We have traded our integrity for energy, and what was our reward? The Saudis have opposed the Camp David peace process, increased oil prices and support the PLO. If this is our reward for cooperation, thank heavens we did not irritate them,” Packwood declared.
Continuing, he said: “Today, my party, my Administration wants to send AWACS and enhanced F-15s (aircraft) to Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that in war these planes could wind up in the hands of the enemies of the U.S.”
Declaring that his commitment to a secure Israel “is irrevocable,” the Senator from Oregon stated: “There are now 55 signatures in the Senate on a statement opposing the sale. We have the votes– at the moment. And until I see real evidence that Saudi Arabia wants peace, I see no reason to add to the instability in the Mideast by supplying them with more weapons.”
Finally, Packwood concluded, “to jeopardize Israel is not in the U.S. national interest. We must pledge not to impose our systems on Saudi Arabia or Jordan or other countries, but we shall keep it for ourselves – the U.S. and Israel. And if it’s necessary for our survival, we will fight, and we will win.”
TERMS ISRAEL’S ACTIONS PREVENTIVE
Addressing the opening session of the Hadassah convention here a few days ago Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D. Md.) said that Israel, by its preventive actions against the PLO in Lebanon and the Iraqi nuclear reactor protected its people. He said that the AWACS sale to Saudi Arabia “serves no real purpose and endangers Israel’s security. “He declared: “Keeping Israel strong and viable–not only as a strategic ally of the United States in the Middle East, but as a parnter who shares the same ideals and interests –is a cardinal principle of U.S. foreign policy. Therefore, those who refer in a pejorative sense to a ‘Jewish’ or ‘Israel Lobby’ should know that this is an American Lobby which includes Christians like myself, and it is based on what is good for America!” Mayor Edward Koch, who last night proclaimed August as “Hadassah Month” in
Governor Hugh Carey said he would do all he could to promote the security, prosperity and territorial integrity of Israel. He then announced that he and his wife, Evengeline, would “honeymoon” in Israel.
Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem compared Israel to a human body: “You can amputate a limb and the body survives. Israel gave up for peace the Sinai, with her only oil well, and she survived. But remove the heart and it dies. Jerusalem is the heart and soul of Israel.”
HADASSAH RAISED OVER $37 MILLION THIS YEAR
Beatrice Feldman, national treasurer of Hadassah, told the convention’s closing session today that Hodassah raised over $37 million this year. She reported that even though the members responsible for fundraising achieved a remarkable feat, they must anticipate even higher quotas for 1981-82, because they will have to make up for higher costs and fewer grants from government and from the large foundations which are besieged by applications as federal funds are being slashed.
Frieda Lewis, national president of Hadassah, announced that the convention, also, voted to provide 10,000 trees for the areas of Kiryat Shemona, whose forests have been devastated by PLO rockets, and to give the municipality $15,000 for programs for children.
Mrs. Lewis also announced that the building housing the new computer center at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem will be named for Dr. Kalman Mann, who officialy took leave as director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization at this convention. Mann, a specialist in the delivery of health services, headed the organization for 30 years.