WASHINGTON (Jun. 13)
“Talks with Israeli leaders gave us a feeling of cautious optimism on Israel’s future, notwithstanding the many problems which plague the only democracy in the Middle East,” Sen. Arlen Specter (R. Pa.), said here.
Sen. Specter, with his wife, Joan, made a trip to the Middle East with a number of Congressmen from Pennsylvania. Specter said last week that “we are reassured to find that Israel was stronger than ever… (Premier Menachem) Begin expressed appreciation that President Reagan had asked the United States Senate for approval on the sale of F-16s to Israel.”
Specter observed “it was obvious that Israel’s position with world public opinion was much improved by the signing of the withdrawal agreement with Lebanon, especially considering Israel’s key concession not to insist on a formal peace treaty it had sought with Lebanon. The next move belongs to Syria and no one can blame Israel for standing pat in the absence of joint withdrawals of all foreign troops, including Syrian and PLO, as well as those from Israel.”
Specter stated “Israel’s agreement with Lebanon is probably most significant because it doubles Israel’s written contracts with Arab countries and substantially improves relations with Egypt in furtherance of the Camp David accords. “
TALKS WITH MUBARAK
The Congressmen also visited Cairo where they met with President Hosni Mubarak. Specter said “the break-through on Israel-Egyptian relations in the Camp David accord had been jeopardized by the withdrawal of the Egyptian Ambassador from Tel Aviv. There is good reason to believe that matter will soon be rectified.”
Specter said “one comment by President Mubarak provided real insight into Arab mentality when he said that Arab nations have a historic propensity to reject opportunities only to accept them when it is too late.” Specter said “leadership and pressure from the United States must now be exerted to bring other Arab nations, like Saudi Arabia into the Mideast peace process before it is too late for everyone.”