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Moynihan Warns Administra Tion Not to Sacrifice Israel for Oil

August 9, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Sen. Daniel Moynihan (D. NY) warned the Carter Administration last night against any Middle East policy change which would sacrifice Israel’s vital interests to Arab oil blackmail. “American foreign policy is not for sale — not one million barrels of oil a day, nor one hundred million barrels will buy the honor of this republic,” he declared. He made his statement in an address to 250 members of the American Friends of the Hebrew University at a meeting here and amplified his views at a press conference following his formal address.

Ephraim Evron, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, rejected Carter Administration warnings that Israel may have violated U.S. law by its use of American-made warplanes in raids against terrorist bases in Lebanon.

Moynihan said “the Camp David agreements are solemn and must be kept. You cannot simply change them because the Saudi king, prince or whatever, has said ‘Well, we’ll let you have another million barrels of oil a day as a Fourth of July present. “He declared that “we are not going to let this Administration buy oil at the expense of the freedom of Israel. The thing I am trying to make clear to the Administration is that the U.S. Congress, much less the American people, will not accept this.”

“If we have come this far into the 20th Century that we have not understood the nature of a totalitarian society, then God have mercy on us all,” Moynihan added. “To repeat, the American foreign policy is not for sale.”


He said the Camp David agreements were based on Security Council Resolution 242 “that says if any so-called Palestine Liberation Organization wishes to be recognized in bargaining with and made part of any future agreement, it must first recognize the right of the State of Israel to exist as a free and independent democracy barring nothing else — no change to it, no amendment to it, no compromise.”

The Senator’s comments were in response to speculation that the Carter Administration position toward the PLO has softened because of a Saudi promise to provide more crude oil to the United States. He was thunderously applauded during his speech. At his press conference, Moynihan said he felt Americans would “walk to work before we sell out another democratic power for oil.” He also told the reporters he thought Carter’s Administration was “collapsing on him.”


Evron told the dinner guests that Israel was taking “grave risks” in implementing the treaty with Egypt, adding that Israel had received “written commitments from Egypt and the United States.” He did not specify what commitments he meant but apparently he was referring to Israel’s insistence on a multinational substitute for the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) which ended its peacekeeping in the buffer zone between Egyptian and Israeli positions in Sinai when the Security Council, under a Soviet threat of veto, failed to renew the UNEF mandate.

The Carter Administration has said that a beefed-up contingent of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (UNTSO) could do the job and, in fact, UNTSO troops are now manning checkpoints in the buffer zone, though without Israeli cooperation.

Evron said the commitments “are not a one-way street but if the agreements are not adhered to by the other parties, Israel has the legal, moral and practical right to reevaluate its own obligations.” In rejecting Carter Administration complaints about the use of American warplanes, Evron said “as long as terrorists are based in and use Lebanon to launch murderous attacks on our women and children, Israel must and will use these arms in self-defense to destroy these bases and frustrate their efforts.

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