WASHINGTON (Oct. 14)
Vice President George Bush suggested last Thursday night that international terrorism could be ended by solving the Palestinian problem. His remarks came during the nationally-televised debate from Philadelphia between Bush and his Democratic opponent, Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, when Bush was asked about ways of stopping terrorism.
The Vice President stressed that President Reagan has been “wonderful” about taking responsibility for the security failures in the bombings against the United States Marine barracks and the Embassy annex.
“But I think fair-minded people that really understand international terror, know that it is very hard to guard against,” Bush added. “And the answer, then, really lies in the Middle East–and terror is happening all over the world–is a solution to the Palestine question.” He said that Reagan’s September 1, 1982 peace initiative “will reduce terror. It won’t eliminate it.”
ISSUE OF RESPONSIBILITY
Asked why the Reagan Administration has not done anything against Arab countries responsible for terrorism, Bush replied that the Administration’s answer has been “to support Arab states that want to stand up against international terror …. We believe in supporting, without jeopardizing the security of Israel in any way, because they are our one strategically in the area. They are the one democracy in the area, and our relations have never been better.”
Bush added that the Administration believes “in reaching out” to moderate Arab states “and helping them with defensive weapons to guard against international terroro radical Islam perpetuated by Khomeini.”
Ferraro said that while President Reagan takes responsibility she did not know what it meant since he has not taken the necessary security precautions.
The plight of Soviet Jewry came up briefly during a discussion of arms control. “The suppression of Soviet Jews is absolutely intolerable, and so we have to keep pushing forward on the moral grounds as well as the arms reduction grounds,” Bush said.
Ferraro noted that “the Soviet Union, in 1979, allowed 51,000 people to emigrate. Because, in large measure to this Administration’s policies over the past four years, 1,313 people got out of the Soviet Union in 1983 and 1984.”
As, in the debate between Reagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale last Sunday night, the issue of the separation of church and state was raised. Ferraro charged that, starting with the involvement of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, head of the Moral Majority, in Reagan’s 1980 campaign, there has been “a real fudging of that line with the separation of church and state” during the last four years.
“We favor–and I speak confidently for the President– we favor separation of church and state,” Bush said. “We favor pluralism.” But he stressed “we don’t think that’s amerger of church and state to have non-mandatory, voluntary,non-government ordered prayer.”
Ferraro said she had “no problem” with clergymen speaking up on issues of concern to them, including the Catholic Archbishops who have been critical of her.
But she said she does have a problem with Reagan’s remarks in Dallas, during the Republican national convention, where he told a prayer breakfast that “anybody who does not support his constitutional amendment for prayer in the schools is intolerant of religion. Now there are numerous groups who don’t support that prayer in school, numerous religious groups. Are they intolerant of religion? Is that what the President is saying?”