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Kennedy: U.S. May Be Slipping into a New Policy of Accommodation with Syria

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.) expressed “strong concern” here last night that the Reagan Administration may be “slipping into a new policy of political accommodation” with Syria as it seeks to negotiate a political settlement among Lebanon’s warring factions.

At the same time, Kennedy announced that a resolution he, along with Sen. John Heinz (R. Pa.), introduced in the Senate last February opposing the sale of sophisticated military equipment to Jordan and calling on Jordan to enter Middle East peace negotiations under the framework of the Camp David accords, is now sponsored by 58 Senators.

While acknowledging that Jordan “has its security needs, ” Kennedy said that what is needed from the Administration “is not more sophisticated arms to send to Jordan, but more sophisticated diplomacy to bring Jordan to the conference table and into the Camp David process.”

Kennedy made his remarks to more than 600 persons who attended the annual dinner of the American Associates of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev at the Pierre Hotel. He was presented with the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa in recognition of his friendship to Israel and in appreciation of his interest and support for the university.

It marked the first time that an honorary degree from the university was presented outside of Israel. Kennedy has been a frequent visitor to the campus and, along with Golda Meir, was a guest of honor at the dedication ceremony in 1974 of the Medical School of Ben Gurion University.

The Massachusetts Senator, in criticizing the Administration’s ongoing efforts in Lebanon, said that the U.S. is no longer insisting that Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization leave Lebanon. “Now the President’s emissaries tell the Lebanese government that it must be sensitive to Syrian interests and those of its allies,” Kennedy said.

“In effect, the Administration is ignoring the insidious Soviet instigation of Syria,” said Kennedy. “You and I both know that a clear military pipeline extends from Moscow to Damascus to the Syrian troops and surrogates in Lebanon itself.”

Declaring that the policies of the Administration raise questions “about what price they are ready to pay for the Syrian agreement to a permanent cease-fire and a political settlement,” Kennedy continued, “The United States must never abandon the goal of Lebanon for the Lebanese.

“We must never accept the de facto or de jure partition of Lebanon and we must never participate in any Soviet or Syria scheme to carve out a PLO state from the ancient land of Lebanon — or from any other land in the Middle East.”

Special tribute was paid last night to Yaakov Avnon, a former Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines and currently vice president of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. It was announced that the university has established the Yaakov Avnon Chair of Holocaust Studies to “combine teaching and the application of research to various aspects of the subject.”

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