Senator Blames U.S. for Israel’s Diplomatic and Economic Troubles

American policy is responsible for many of Israel’s diplomatic and economic problems, an influential U.S. senator charged here Tuesday.

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said the United States had broken its promise to consult closely with Israel and take a neutral stance on the current Middle East peace talks.

“It appears that the United States is not just an honest broker but is projecting the image of a participant,” Inouye told some 900 supporters of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at a dinner here.

“I hope that we will see the errors of our ways and ask the Arabs to deal directly with Israel as a sovereign nation, not through the United States,” he said.

The veteran senator pointed out that America has largely reneged on promises implicit in the Camp David accords that Israel would be compensated for the loss of oil fields and two major air bases after its return of Sinai.

Inouye, who chairs the influential defense appropriations subcommittee, also declared that the United States is “a major cause of Israel’s economic ills.”

He lashed out at President Bush’s delay in granting guarantees covering $10 billion in loans Israel is seeking for the absorption of Soviet immigrants.

Inouye compared Israel’s request to someone with an excellent credit rating asking a friend to co-sign a loan from a bank. “All we are asked to do is extend the hand of friendship,” he said.

The senator announced that he will fly to Israel on Sunday for three days of meetings with senior officials. “When I come back, I will share (the officials’) concerns with the U.S. administration and my colleagues,” he said.

Another speaker at the dinner, U.S. Rep. Lawrence Smith (D-Fla.), urged American Jews to redouble their political efforts, because “we are now less than 2 percent of the country’s population, and our voice is becoming smaller.”

Despite demographics, the Jewish community still retains considerable clout, as was attested by the presence and vigorous handshaking of no fewer than six Republican and Democratic candidates vying for California’s two U.S. Senate seats in the 1992 elections.

Also notable was the increasing role played by resident Israelis in Jewish fund-raising causes. They made up almost 10 percent of the audience.

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