Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron said today that the Israeli government would support “the presence of the United States” in the Middle East “in a positive way.” Evron also said that the “coming years may witness a deterioration of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s political influence in the region but that will not stop them from stepping up active terrorism.”
Evron added that “the PLO is the central instrument of Soviet policy in the Mideast.” Evron was a speaker at the United Jewish Appeal’s “Critical Issues Conference” which is being attended by 350 rabbis and scholars from all parts of the United States. The three-day meeting, sponsored by the UJA’s rabbinic and faculty cabinets, was designed “to explore issues of concern to American and world Jewry, and to propose an action agenda now for the 80s.”
Saying that he has been assured by Secretary of State Alexander Haig that the Camp David process will continue, Evron said that “when we look at the Middle East, the principal external challenge comes from the Soviet Union which has traditionally aspired to become the dominant power there.”
Evron said the Soviet aim is “to remove any American or western presence” in the Middle East and that the Soviets would, to accomplish that aim, “create obstacles to the peace process itself and would encourage extremists in the Arab world.”
Last night, at the conference opening, Michael Novak, chief of the U.S. delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission, said he found it “dismaying” that the “language of human rights as we know it is being used to attack nations which have historically been strongest in support of human rights.” He cited, as an example, the 43-member commission resolution which condemned Zionism last month. He said the resolution is “the most virulent form of anti-Semitism.”
Shlomo Avineri, former director general of the Israel Foreign Ministry and currently professor of political science at Hebrew University, told the conference that the United States should tell Saudi Arabia “if you want to become part of U.S. global policy, you need to join in the Camp David accords.”
Avineri added that Israel understands the Reagan Administration’s “broader concerns in the Middle East but Israel must protest American moves which would strengthen Saudi Arabian military power.” He referred to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan as having essential roles in resolving the Palestinian question.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.