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White House Says It Would ‘welcome’ Knesset Delegation to Explain Israel’s Objections to Fahd Peace

The White House said today that it would “welcome” a delegation from the Israeli Knesset that is being sent here to oppose the Saudi Crown Prince Fahd’s eight point Middle East peace plan.

But a White House communication director, David Gergen, rejected the contention that the delegation being sent by Premier Menachem Begin would be lobbying. “We would welcome the visit” by the Knesset members to explain the Israeli government’s view as well as their own view on the Saudi plan, he said. He noted that members of his government “sit down” and talk with members of other governments all the time whether they agree or disagree with each other’s view.

When a reporter asked how this would square with President Reagan’s press conference statement last month telling foreign governments not to interfere in U.S. foreign policy, Gergen referred them to an interview with President Reagan published in the Washington Post Sunday. In the interview, Reagan denied his remarks were aimed at Israel or any other country. “All I wanted was an end to the kinds of talk that says we’re being dictated to by one country or the other,” he told the Post. He added that his real target was the media “which have been carrying stories of this kind.”

Begin has denounced what he sees as a U.S. move toward the Fahd plan. The Reagan Administration has maintained that it still supports the Camp David process as a means for achieving a Mideast peace.

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