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March 04, 1983 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-03-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 Friday, March 4, 1983




Reagan: Israel Armed Camp

(Continued from Page 1)
would guarantee the se-
curity of Israel's north-
ern borders after Israel
withdraws its army from
Lebanon. He made that
offer Feb. 21 in a speech
to the American Legion
convention during which
he emphasized that it was
urgent for "Syria, the
PLO and Israel to with-
draw their forces from
Lebanon in the shortest
possible time."
Asked at the breakfast to
amplify on his offer to
guarantee Israel's security,
Reagan stressed, "This is
not anything different than
has been said before by me
and by several Presidents
before me, that this country


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has always maintained that
it has an obligation to the
security of Israel."
But, he added, "In this
particular instance I was
answering the question.
And I thought I made it
plain that I was talking
about the withdrawal —
that in the aftermath of that
withdrawal, we are pre-
pared to guarantee their
(Israel's) safety on their
northern border."
The President declined to
offer any specifics as to how
the U.S. would act to
guarantee the security of
northern Israel. He as-
serted, however, that "We,
in consultation with our al-
lies in the multinational
force, would be prepared —
until Lebanon was actually
stabilized and able to
guarantee this safety — we
would be willing to enlarge
the multinational force.
This is of course, in consul-
tation with our allies . . ."
Considerable attention
was focussed on the
President's use of the
word "homeland" with
reference to a solution of
the Palestinian problem.
White House officials
said it was consistent
with the Middle East
peace initiative Reagan
proposed last Sept. 1
which called for Palesti-
nian self-government on
the West Bank and Gaza
Strip in association with
Jordan. Israel rejected
the Reagan proposals
Last week, the Palestine
National Council meeting
in Algiers declared the Re-
agan plan "unacceptable"
because it failed to recog-
nize Palestinian self-
determination and opposed
a Palestinian state.
But the President seemed
unfazed by those reactions.
He told the reporters at the
White House breakfast, "I
don't take too seriously the
statement of positions in
advance of negotiations.
Everyone wants to preserve
their position at their high-
est price before negotia-
He added, however, "The
Palestinian problem has to
be a factor in the solution.
We cannot go on. That's
been the biggest problem
now for a number of years.

We cannot go on with these
people in not providing
them something in the na-
ture of a homeland. On the
other hand, no one has ever
advocated creating a na-
tion. And so I just believe
that, as I say, that you wait
until you get to the
(negotiating) table."
The President asked
rhetorically, "What is at
stake for Israel? The
stake is security. Can
they go on forever living
as an armed camp? Their
economy's suffering.
They have 130 percent in-
flation rate. And they're
having to maintain a mili-
tary presence that is out
of all proportion to their
size as a nation.
"And so the great security
for Israel, and this is what's
back of our plan, is to create
new Egypts, more nations,
more neighbors that are
willing to sign peace
treaties with them."
He added: "Now, Israel
proved its willingness to
negotiate and to comply
with things that weren't,
certainly, appetizing to
them in the giving up of the
Sinai to Egypt. Well, what
we're looking to is the same
kind of relationship with
most of their neighbors.
"Maybe not all the Arab
states will be moderate.
Maybe some of them will
still continue to be holdouts.
But I believe there's real
evidence that the more
moderate Arab states do
want peace and this would
involve recognition of Is-
rael's right to exist."
Israel's outgoing Am-
bassador to the U.S.,
Moshe Arens, termed
Reagan's remarks a "re-
peat maybe in somewhat
different verbiage" of his
earlier position. Arens,
who returned to
Jerusalem last weekend
to take office as Defense
Minister, reiterated Is-
rael's contention that the
Palestinians already
have a state, "Jordan."
Arens paid a farewell
visit to the President Feb.
23. He told reporters after-
wards that Reagan had con-
veyed to him "a sense of
urgency" over the with-
drawal of foreign forces
from Lebanon and repeated
his offer to guarantee the
security of northern Israel.

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Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef of Israel,
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the White House in February. At left is Moshe Arens,
Israel Ambassador to the U.S. at the time who is now
Israel's defense minister. Rabbi Yosef urged the
President to continue his efforts on behalf of Soviet
Jews, Jews in Arab lands, and for the release of Is-
raelis captured by' Syria during the war in Lebanon.

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