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Bush Stresses U.S. Wants Direct Negotiations Between Israel, Arabs

June 7, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Vice President George Bush said last night that the United States is trying to find an “international context” in which Israel and its Arab neighbors can enter into negotiations for a Middle East peace settlement.

“We believe that negotiations must be between the parties themselves, “Bush told an academic convocation of the Bar Ilan University here.”But we recognize the value of proceedings to direct negotiations within a supportive international context, and we’ll work with Israel to find one we, Israel and Jordan can support.”

King Hussein of Jordan, during his meetings in Washington last week with President Reagan and senior Administration officials, made it clear that he needs the “umbrella” of an international conference to enter into talks with Israel in the form of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation. Bush said the U.S. has “real problems” with the concept of an international conference.

Bush’s speech to several hundred persons at the Park East Synagogue last night, where he was presented by the University with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, touched on many aspects of U.S.-Israel relations including the recently concluded Free Trade Agreement and the United States’ commitment to leave the United Nations should Israel have its credentials rejected.


“Let me repeat one last pledge,” Bush declared, “about the most prominent international conference, the United Nations itself. And that’s very simply, if Israel is ever voted out of the United Nations, the United States will go out with it.” This reaffirmation of Administration policy was greeted with applause.

The Vice President said that there had been “a great deal of anxious speculation” about what Hussein discussed in Washington. But he added that various Middle East developments in recent months provide “an opportunity now to take strides towards peace.”

Bush, however, affirmed that the United States, while attempting to “facilitate negotiations … will never attempt to impose a settlement.” He repeated U.S. policy of not negotiating with the Palestine Liberation Organization until it “explicitly” accepts UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and recognizes Israel’s right to exist.


Bush also rejected criticism of the Jewish community “for its vocalness on issues it believes in.” He said, “Let no one tell you that support for Israel and its efforts on behalf of Soviet Jews is ‘special interest politics.’ It is your right and duty as Americans to advocate causes important to you.”

George Klein, chairman of the convocation, announced that a chair in international relations has been named for Bush at Bar Ilan University in Israel. It will be associated with the University’s Yaacov Herzog Faculty of Law.

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