NEW YORK (Jan. 24)
Sen. Carl Levin (D. Mich.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the Administration, guided by President Reagan’s Middle East peace initiative, is not acting as a mediator in that region to get the parties to come to the peace table but is undermining the chances of peace in the Mideast.
The solon, addressing the national executive committee of the Zionist Organization of America, asserted that the Administration continues to “coddle” the Saudi Arabians and is also “offering a big fat carrot” to King Hussein of Jordan in the way of airplanes and missiles as an enticement to get the Jordanians to the peace table. “These excesses will make peace impossible,” Levin declared, adding that he was afraid “the stick, instead of the carrot,” is being levelled against the Israelis.
The Senator also charged that the State Department has never disclosed publicly that armed PLO members remained in west Beirut after all of them were supposed to have been evacuated under a plan worked out by U.S. special envoy Philip Habib last fall and before the Israelis entered that part of the city to help oversee their evacuation. He said he would continue to prod the State Department to disclose the fact that U.S. intelligence officials did tell the Department that armed PLO fighters had remained in west Beirut.
Ivan Novick, ZOA president, who was recently elected to the presidium of the World Zionist Organization, told the meeting that the Administration should grasp the reality that the real obstacle to peace in the Mideast is “Arab intransigence, Arab hostility, Arab inability and failure to be flexible, and Arab refusal to accept and recognize Israel.”
Warning that the issue of West Bank settlements is being used to divide the American Jewish community, Novick declared that “Jewish settlement within the territories is valid based on its rights to security and self-defense, its historical connection to the heartland of Eretz Yisrael and the fact that, in accordance with International law, Israel holds better, if not the best title to the lands in question. Others may disagree, but we exercise the right to hold to our point of view.”