Washington (Dec. 15)
Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights was sharply attacked today by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger who said that the move “is, I think, clearly a violation of the United Nations resolutions and therefore of the Camp David agreement.”
Weinberger, interviewed on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” program also termed Israel’s move on the Golan “necessarily very provocative and what I would characterize as destabilizing in that very volatile area.” He noted that President Reagan feels “very strongly” that the Mideast peace process “should not be interfered with in any way. Any event of this kind … casts some question about the whole process and therefore is something we have to be very unhappy about and very concerned about.”
Asked if the Reagan Administration was considering any move against Israel, such as withholding military equipment as it did last June after Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor, Weinberger replied: “I don’t think there has been any full-scale consideration, certainly no decision as to what should be done.”
Israel was also criticized yesterday by Secretary of State Alexander Haig. Speaking to reporters at Andrews Air Force Base after having returned from Brussels, he echoed the White House criticism, saying that the Israeli action “is not consistent with (UN Security Council Resolution) 242 which is the fundamental UN resolution underlying the peace process. We regret this very surprising announcement, which we learned about today (Monday).”
STATE DEPARTMENT MAINTAINS SILENCE
Meanwhile, the State Department refused today to make any comment on Israel’s Golan move until the United States completes consultations with Israel and other countries on the issue. Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron is scheduled to meet with Haig at the State Department this evening.
Department spokesman Dean Fischer would not comment on whether Haig agreed with the strong criticism of Israel by Weinberger. Fischer said the State Department will not go beyond the statement it made yesterday when it warned that Israel’s annexation of the Golan would. “violate international law” and “would be contrary” to Resolutions242 and 338. Fischer also would not comment on whether the U.S. favors a UN Security Council meeting on the Israeli action as called for by Syria.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meanwhile, at the request of the Reagan Administration, called off a hearing scheduled for this morning on the recently concluded U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation agreement. The Administration gave no reason for this move.