WASHINGTON (May. 24)
Israel’s Ambasador to the U.S., Meir Rosenne, warned that the threat of terrorism and blackmail should not have any indirect or direct role in whether any country moves its Embassy to Jerusalem.
“We would like to see all embassies in Jerusalem, he told the 42nd annual meeting of the American Jewish Press Association (AJPA) at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel yesterday. He stressed that nothing he said should be interpreted as trying to “interfere in the internal politics” of the U.S. where Congress is considering legislation requiring the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
But his remarks were obviously aimed at threats that have come from Arab and Moslem countries as well as American opponents of the move, including State Department officials, that moving the Embassy could harm U.S. interests in the Middle East.
WHAT IS AT STAKE
“What is at stake now is not whether a certain Embassy should be in Jerusalem or not,” Rosenne said. “What is at stake here is to know to what extent blackmail and threats of terrorist acts should be an element in the determination of foreign policy. When I see the number of letters and threats and statements made by different governments and the pressure being applied against any sovereign decision of an independent organ, this is what concerns us most.”
The Israeli envoy also warned that it would be “extemely detrimental” for the U.S. and Israel to engage in either a public or private debate whether one of the two countries is responsible for the situation in Lebanon. “We should never forget who is the bad guy,” he said.
Rosenne explained that the situation in Lebanon is due to Syria occupying 60 percent of the country and “refusing to withdraw,” to the Soviet Union supplying arms to the Syrians and stationing 6,000 advisors in Syria and to the USSR supporting terrorists and others opposed to a peaceful settlement.
Nothing would “please” the Arabs more than to have the U.S. and Israel negotiate about the Middle East while the Arabs sit on the sidelines, Rosenne said. He said peace will only come if there are negotiations without pre-conditions. He said this is why Israel opposed the Rogers plan in the 1970s and the 1982 Reagan peace initiative.
The AJPA received a cable from Israeli Premier Yitzhak Shamir in which he praised the Jewish newspapers as an “important factor in the battle for the truth and education and inspiration of the large and important Jewish community of North America. It is now necessary for you to address yourselves to the younger generation, to strengthen their Jewish consciousness and their bonds with their ancient re-born people.”