NEW YORK (Sep. 13)
Sen. John Glenn, (D, Ohio), who is seeking the Democratic nomination for President, said today that the United States “should neither recognize nor negotiate” with the Palestine Liberation Organization and expressed firm support for an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Addressing a luncheon gathering of the Foreign Policy Association at the Hilton Hotel here, Glenn delivered a strong pro-Israeli speech, vowing continued support for the Jewish State and its security.
“The PLO has proven itself to be little more than a gang of international thugs,” the former astronaut declared. “And until they abandon the use of terror and renounce forever their oath to destroy Israel, the United States should neither recognize nor negotiate with them. That has been my position in the past–and it will remain my position in the future,” Glenn pledged.
He added: “Instead of pandering to terrorists, let us begin the search for other elements on the West Bank–or elsewhere — who are willing to speak for the Palestinians.”
U.S. SHOULD MOVE EMBASSY TO JERUSALEM
The Arabs must realize that the United States will not deliver Israeli concessions to them, Glenn said. “But on one point let there be no uncertainty; Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And when the Comp David negotiations are completed –or if the Comp David process irretrievably breaks down –I believe the United States should be prepared to move its Embassy there. And let me say that I hope we never see that city divided again.”
The Senator said that he also is in favor of improved U.S.- Arab relations. “But I will always oppose any concession (to the Arabs) that would endanger Israel’s security.” He declared: “Our Arab friends must also recognize that we may well limit the size and scope of our military assistance to them so long as they remain outside the peace process, We withheld large-scale arms sales to Egypt until it actually entered into negotiations — and that is why I recently opposed a major arms sale to Jordan.”
ATTACKS PRESENT U.S. MIDEAST POLICY
Glenn sharply attacked the present Mideast policy of the Reagan Administration, Charging that the Reagan September, 1982 initiative “now seems dead in the water” and that the Camp David peace process has reached a dead end, the Senator said. that America’s policy in the region is “lost and adrift, with no clear idea even where we want to go, let alone how to get there.”
Turning to the explosive situation in Lebanon, Glenn noted that the U.S. marines are caught in the cross-fire there. “For their sake– and for the sake of our friends in Lebanon–I say it is time to end the drift in American policy. It is time we develop a strategy, and it is time we clearly stated what we hope to accomplish.”
He said, however, that it would be a mistake to withdraw U.S. troops from Lebanon, He warned that in case of American troop withdrawal from Lebanon. the Soviets “will surely rush to fill the vacuum” and Syria will follow them. “And we dare not forget what all of this could mean for the smooth flow of Middle Eastern oil–oil that continues to fuel the economies of America, Europe and Japan.”
But Glenn said that he opposes and rejects “those voices which urge us to greatly enlarge our military presence in that country (Lebanon).”
URGES APPLICATION OF CAMP DAVID ACCORDS
Glenn stated that the Administration’s efforts should be directed now “to break the impasse in Arab-Israeli relations,” He said he believes this should be done in the framework of the Camp David accords, which call for direct negotiations among the parties.
“Unfortunately, many in the Arab world continue to reject this approach, They demand a comprehensive agreement on their own terms immediately — and they continue to treat Israel’s right to exist as if it were some kind of bargaining chip, instead of an essential precondition for serious negotiations,” Glenn said.
“The Arabs’ refusal to accept the legitimacy and permanent existence of Israel remains the greatest stumbling block to peace in the Mideast.”
Israel, Glenn continued, is one of America’s “strongest friends and surest allies. Our morality and our national security alike demand that we protect and defend her. So let us say it clearly and let us say it frankly; America’s commitment to a free and independent Israel will never fail and never falter. Not for an hour. Not for a minute, Not for an instant.”