WASHINGTON (Jun. 19)
The Democratic Party has issued a draft of its platform to be presented at its National Convention in San Francisco next month which is strongly pro-Israel and includes a call for official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The draft, which will be subject to further review within the next few days by the 184-member platform committee, also includes a blistering attack on the Middle East policies of the Reagan Administration. The draft assails the current Administration’s sale of advanced weapons to “avowed enemies of Israel,” and points specifically to the recent sale of Stinger surface to air missiles to Saudi Arabia.
While the platform can conceivably be challenged at the convention, it is unlikely that the section on the Middle East will be changed. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, one of the three Democratic Presidential hopefuls, has suggested in the past that he would seek what he termed a more balanced positon toward the Middle East conflict, particularly on the issue of the Palestinian question.
NO NEGOTIATIONS WITH PLO
The draft called for “a resolution of the Palestinian issue” but does not go into specifics. It rules out any negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization “unless the PLO abandons terrorism, recognizes the State of Israel” and adheres to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
“The Democratic Party believes that the security of Israel and the pursuit of peace in the Middle East are fundamental priorities for American foreign policy,” the draft states. “Israel remains more than a trusted friend; a steady ally and a sister democracy. Israel is strategically important to the United States, and we must enter into meaningful strategic cooperation.”
The draft faults the Reagan Administration for agreeing to strategic cooperation with Israel and for having later taken “it away to punish Israel as if it were not an ally.” The Administration cancelled its strategic cooperation agreement with Israel after Israel annexed the Golan Heights in December, 1981. Furthermore, among other criticisms of the current Administration, the Democratic Party said Reagan “undercut American credibility” throughout the Middle East when he at first said Lebanon was a “vital interest” to the U.S. and then soon afterwards withdrew the U.S. Marines who were participating in the four nation peacekeeping force in Beirut.
Continuing the draft states, “The Democratic Party opposes this Administration’s sales of highly advanced weaponry to avowed enemies of Israel, such as AWACS aircraft and Stinger missiles to Saudi Arabia. While helping to meet the legitimate defensive needs of states aligned with our nation, we must ensure Israel’s military edge over any combination of Middle East confrontation states.”
CONDEMNS LACK OF MIDEAST NEGOTIATOR
It added, “Jerusalem should remain forever undivided with free access to the holy places for people of all faiths. As stated in the 1976 and 1980 platforms, the Democratic Party recognizes and supports the established status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As a symbol of this stand, the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The Democratic Party condemns this Administration’s failure to maintain a high level special negotiator for the Middle East and believes that the Camp David peace process must be taken up again with urgency,” the draft said. “No nation in the Middle East can afford to wait until a new war brings even worse destruction. Once again, we applaud and support the example of both Israel and Egypt in taking bold steps for peace.
“We believe,” the draft continued, “that the United States should press for negotiations among Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. We re-emphasize the fundamental principle that the pre-requisite for a lasting peace in the Middle East remains an Israel with secure and defensible borders, strong beyond a shadow of doubt that the basis for peace is the unequivocal recognition of Israel’s right to exist by all other states, and that there should be a resolution of the Palestinian issue.”