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Jewish Leaders Focus on Pow Issue

October 30, 1973
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Jewish leaders today urged President Nixon, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to demand that Egypt and Syria admit Red Cross observers into their prisoner of war camps and publish a list of Israeli POWs they are holding. In telegrams to the White House and State Department the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stated:

“Refusal by Egypt and Syria to fulfill their obligations under the Geneva Convention is an ominous portent of their attitude towards negotiations with Israel on reaching a peaceful settlement. Remembering the concern of the American people for our own POWs we are certain you will have the support of every American in insisting that there can be no movement toward a just and durable peace in the Middle East until there is a full and complete exchange of war prisoners taken during the Yom Kippur War.” The telegrams, signed by Jacob Stein, Conference chairman, added that the fate of the prisoners is “an urgent political as well as humanitarian issue.”

In a telegram to Waldheim, Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, chairman, World Zionist Organization-American Section, stated that it is incredible that Syria and Egypt refuse to cooperate with the Red Cross while Israel is aiding the Egyptian Third Army and living up to the Geneva Convention. Information on Israeli POWs “should be a major priority” of the UN cease-fire overseers. She urged immediate steps be taken to facilitate POW exchange.

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