Presidents Conference Urges Administration to Understand Need for Israel’s Action

The Conference of Presidents of Major. American Jewish Organizations today called on the Reagan Administration to “express understanding” of the danger posed by Palestinian terrorists in southern Lebanon to Israel and thus to reject any proposal to impose sanctions on the Jewish State for its military operation inside Lebanon.

According to Howard Squadron, chairman of the Presidents Conference, this would include any direct or unilateral actions which may include on international effort at the United Nations to impose sanctions on Israel. He said the U.S. should also reject any attempt to “punish or penalize” Israel, adding that this is not the way to deal with Israel. Lebanon today asked for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.

Squadron told reporters at a press conference here today that “the battle Israel is conducting is the battle that all democracies” should engage in, that of international terrorism. He stressed that as Israel has indicated in the past, it has no intention of occupying Lebanon but just to rid the Palestine Liberation Organization from the southern area of Lebanon to prevent any further shelling of Israeli settlements in northern Israel.

URGE DIPLOMATIC OFFENSIVE’ AGAINST TERRORISM

A statement released by the Presidents Conference today at the press conference called upon the Reagan Administration to also join Israel “in a diplomatic offensive” around the world aimed at “outlawing and quarantining the PLO, of expelling the PLO from international agencies in which it is now participating, and of punishing any state that furnishes financial, military or political support to the PLO.”

“In so doing,” the statement continued, “in joining with Israel against the PLO our country will demonstrate there is common concern that requires democracies to stand together, a common interest that refuses to countenance terrorism, a common commitment to the values of human liberty and human dignity.”

The concern expressed today by the Presidents Conference over the possibility of the Reagan Administration imposing sanctions on Israel stemmed from last summer when following the Israeli attack on the Iraqi nuclear facility, the U.S. withheld delivery on jet-fighter aircraft. The delivery was withheld further when Israel, just one month later, launched an attack on Palestinian terrorist bases in Beirut, killing scores of people.

The Presidents Conference said that Israel “asks only that a Lebanese government or international peacekeeping force guarantee that the regime will not serve as a launching ground for renewed violence against Israel. All Americans who love peace and cherish democracy, and who recognized that our own country’s security depends on the ability of democratic societies to defend their citizens, will understand and support Israel’s action.”

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