Egyptian Envoy Praises Sharon’s New Measures on the West Bank

Ambassador Ahmed Esmat Abdel Meguid of Egypt praised the “new lenient measures toward Arabs on the West Bank initiated by Defense Minister Ariel Sharon (of Israel), who is a hawk.”

Addressing a leadership mission of Agudath Israel of America at the UN headquarters, in which 125 members of the organization participated yesterday, Meguid said that the new measures would help in the “building of confidence” between Arabs and Jews. The Egyptian envoy said that Israel should have “patience” with the process of normalization of relations with Egypt and urged the Jewish State to “take risks for peace.”

Asked “how Egypt can expect Israel to trust the PLO” Meguid replied that “there are non-radical elements amongst the Palestinians that Israel could talk to.”

Meguid also said that the peace process in the Middle East “would survive (President Anwar) Sadat because it is the genuine desire of the Egyptian people.” He invited the Agudath Israel leaders to visit Egypt as part of the “confidence building” between Arabs and Jews towards strengthening the peace process.

Carl Gershman, Counselor to the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, warned the UN against any action to impose sanctions against Israel or to remove its credentials to participate in the General Assembly.

He said: “If there is an effort to expel Israel from UNESCO, the U.S. will take specific action, including reconsideration of our participation in the UN.” Gershman also pledged that the U.S. would not talk to the PLO as long as “it is bent on the destruction of Israel.”

Gershman also told the Agudath Israel leaders that the Reagan Administration has a new positive attitude toward Israel. He cited Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick’s public display of friendship toward Israel in UN debates, noting that Kirkpatrick referred to Israel as “our ally” from the UN rostrum.

Gershman also touched on the issue of Soviet Jews. “The treatment of Soviet Jews remains high on the U.S. agenda at meetings of the UN Human Rights Commission,” he said. He added that the U.S. would continue to raise the issue of the condition of Jews in other lands at various forums of the world body. Agudath Israel of America is a Non-Governmental Organization at the UN.

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