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Shamir Says Senator’s Proposal on Aid ‘augurs Ill for Israel,’

January 19, 1990
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Thursday that Sen. Robert Dole’s proposal to cut U.S. foreign aid to Israel and four other countries to provide assistance to emerging democracies in Eastern Europe “augurs ill for Israel.”

He expressed hope that “the administration and the Congress will not adopt such proposals.”

Shamir’s remarks in an Israel Radio interview were his first public comment on the controversial proposal by the Senate minority leader. Dole, a Republican from Kansas, floated the idea in an article Tuesday on the op-ed page of The New York Times.

Dole suggested more U.S. aid should be made available to the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe and Panama by cutting 5 percent from the amounts earmarked for the five largest recipients of U.S. aid, including Israel and Egypt.

Israel gets $3 billion a year in the form of military and economic assistance grants from the United States; Egypt receives $2.3 billion.

“The proposal augurs ill for Israel, especially when we find ourselves in the very midst of a great human endeavor — the absorption of large numbers of Jews coming to us from Eastern Europe, the same Eastern Europe which the proponent of that proposal is so exercised about,” Shamir said.

He dismissed the idea that Dole’s proposal was a “gentle hint to him” to be more flexible with respect to the peace process and talks with the Palestinians. “I don’t think that’s the intention,” Shamir said.


The prime minister also referred to the strong reaction abroad to his comments last Sunday night linking the influx of Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel’s need to retain the administered territories.

He said the reaction in the United States was exaggerated and he would try to explain Israel’s position to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), who is visiting Israel.

Moynihan, who criticized the juxtaposition of immigration and the territories, was to meet with Shamir late Thursday.

Shamir said he would tell the senator his criticism was grounded in an “incorrect apprehension of our position and what we say.”

The prime minister stressed, however, that his Likud party’s position is that “Eretz Yisrael” should not be redivided in a peace settlement.

“The country is very small, and no partition of it can solve problems. Partition would only create problems,” Shamir said. He added that his position is well known to everyone.

As for the Arabs, he said, they “oppose any immigration, regardless of my comments. For them, the immigration of Jews is a disaster, losing their war.”

Shamir indicated he was not concerned by the lack of movement in the peace process, for which he blamed the Arabs. He said there is no deadline for peace.

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