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May 25, 1984 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-05-25

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Friday, May 25, 1984



Five key Senate races are important to Israel

Special to The Jewish News

Washington — With the
major media focus on the
Presidential elections less
than six months away, it is
important to remember that
there are a number of key
- Senate races that will have
I significant impact on
U.S.-Israel relations no
matter who the next
President will be.
There is an outside
chance that the Senate
could exchange its current
Republican majority for a
Democratic one with a
switch of five or six seats —
depending on who is the
Vice President, the presid-
ing officer of the Senate.
This would mean that all
committee chairmanships
would change, including the
vital Foreign Relations and
Appropriations Commit-
tees, whose current chair-
men are not known for their
fervent support of closer
U.S.-Israel ties — Senator
Charles Percy of Illinois and
Senator Mark Hatfield of
With the retirement of
Majority Leader Howard
Baker there will also be a
new Majority (or Minority)
leader in 1985, with the
leading contenders now
considered to be Bob Dole of
Kansas, Richard Lugar of
indiana and Jim McClure of
Idaho. Given McClure's
poor record of support on is-

Rudy Boschwitz

sues of concern to friends of
Israel, both Lugar and Dole,
who have demonstrated
support at times, would
have to be considered better
As for returning friends
to the Senate, the outlook is
promising. Such strong
supporters as Howell Heflin
of Alabama, Joe Biden of
Delaware, Mat Baucus of
Montana, Bill Bradley of
New Jersey and Clairborne
Pell of Rhode Island (who
would become chairman of
the Senate Foreign Rela-
tions Committee if the
Democrats regain control of
the Senate) are considered
Two outstanding Jewish
Senators, however, could

face difficult re-election
fights in November. They
are Senator Rudy Bos-
chwitz, Republican of Min-
nesota and chairman of the
Near East Subcommittee of
the Foreign Relations
Committee, and Democrat
Carl Levin of Michigan, a
highly-regarded member of
the Senate Armed Services
Even if a challenger to
Boschwitz is agreed upon at
the Minnesota Democratic
Convention, no Democratic
candidate has yet been able
to capture a clear frontrun-
ner position. In the mean-
time, Boschwitz continues
to raise a much-needed war
chest, notwithstanding late
April polls indicating he
would defeat any of the
major Democratic nomi-
However, Minnesota's
well-organized Democratic
Party and strong labor base
could still pose serious diffi-
culties for Boschwitz. The
Berlin-born Boschwitz (his
family escaped Nazi Ger-
many) is very popular with
his colleagues, and is a
former head of the UJA-
Federation drive in his
hometown of Minneapolis.
Senator Levin's outstand-
ing Israel-related record
makes this a second key
race. Although early polling
shows Levin leading either

potential Republican oppo-
nent, ex-astronaut Jack
Lousma or ex-
Representative Jim Dunn,
about half of the electorate
is undecided, indicating
Levin has some vul-
nerabilities he must ad-
dress. With adequate finan-
cial support and continued
hard campaigning, the
Harvard-educated Levin
should be re-elected, but it
could be close.
There are two very tight
Senate races where there
are real opportunities to re-
place long-standing critics
of Israel with firm friends.
In Illinois, Republican Sen-
ator Charles Percy has
emerged as one of the more
vulnerable incumbent Sen-
ators this fall. Although
spending over $2 million in
his primary fight against
conservative Rep. Tom Cor-
coran, Percy gained less
than 60 percent of the vote.
Rep. Paul Simon, on the
other hand, easily defeated
his three Democratic rivals
and is expected to gain their
unified support in his race
agaisnt Percy. Although
Simon was running behind
Percy in pre-primary polls,
Simon's convincing victory
is expected to close that gap.
Some of Percy's more mod-
erate supporters in 1978
have already defected to
Simon's campaign, and

bare-knuckles media cam-
paign has already begun,
illustrating the fact that
Helms has raised $6.5 mil-
lion to date and will spend
$15-$20 million — a record
amount for a Senate elec-

Carl Levin

Percy, who has often been
critical of Israel's policies in
the past, has refused to sup-
port the Moynihan bill to
move the U.S. Embassy
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
and has not signed a round-
robin letter questioning the
sale of sophisticated arms to
Jordan. Simon has sup-
ported both and has main-
tained a consistent record of
Attention is also focused
on North Carolina where
recent statewide polls con-
tinue to confirm this could
be the closest Senate race of
the year, with Gov. Jim
Hunt and incumbent Sen.
Jesse Helms in a statisti-
cally dead-even race.
Helm's well-financed and

Hunt will need major fi-
nancial support to defeat
one of the Senate's worst
critics of Israel, who, among
other things, has called for
the United States to break
diplomatic relations with
Israel. Hunt has expressed
strong support for close
U.S.-Israel ties and has the
backing of virtually the
entire North Carolina
Jewish community.
Equal in importance to
friends of Israel is the re-
election of the 11-ter-in
chairman of the House
Foreign Operations Sub-
committee, Clarence Long.
Long narrowly won in 1982
following re-districting and
a close contest is expected
again. Long's outspoken
support for higher levels of
aid to Israel has made him a
pudlic target of Arab-
American groups, but Long
has remained a stalwart in
his key position.
As in past elections, in-
creased political activity by
American Jews could spell
the difference in all five of
these crucial races.

Water is a major threat to Middle East peace

Special to The Jewish News


Miami— Water, not oil or
boundaries, may be the
cause of the next Arab-
Israeli conflict, according to
a veteran Middle East
correspondent who faults
the Reagan Plan for settle-
ment of the Arab-Israeli
conflict for its failure to
make provision for alloca-
tion of this vital resource
among Israel and its
"Long after oil runs out,
water is likely to cause
wars, cement peace and
make and break empires
and alliances as it has for
thousands of years," warns
--.,John K. Cooley, writing in
Foreign Policy, the quar-
terly review of world affairs
published by the Carnegie
Endowment for Interna-
tional Peace.
"The constant struggle
for the Waters of the Jor-
dan, Litani, Orontes, Yar-
muk and other life-giving
Middle East rivers, little
understood outside the
region, was a principal
cause of the 1967 Arab-
Israeli wars," he says, "and
could help spark a new all-
out conflict. It is also a
major aspect of the Palesti-

nian question and of the
struggle over the future of
the West Bank."
Cooley, whose dispatches
from the Middle East to the
Christian Science Monitor
over many years reflected a
strong anti-Israel view-
point, accuses Israel of de-
priving the West Bank
Arabs of water and of il-
licitly diverting water from
southern Lebanon to Israel.
Israel intends to hold the
Golan Heights not merely
for security reasons, he as-
serts, but because its
presence there ensures Is-
rael's access to the upper
Jordan basin's freshwater
supplies and protects an in-
take system and pumping
works embedded in the rock
cliffs just south of Kfar
Israel went to war in
1967, Cooley says, partly
because the Arabs had tried
to divert into Arab rivers
Jordan River headwaters
that feed Israel. In that war,
Israel captured control of
the Baniyas River, the last
of the important Jordan
headwaters not under its
Today, Cooley declares,

"the threat of a war stems
primarily from Israel's oc-
cupation of southern Leba-
non." The 1982 invasion, he
says, gave Israel control of
the lower reaches of the Li-
tani River.
"The Litani has never
flowed into Israel and the
invasion strengthened
long-held Arab convictions
that capturing its waters
and diverting them into Is-
rael has been a long-term
Israeli goal," Cooley says.
The Arabs are so con-
cerned about Israel's water
policies, he claims, that as
early as May 1983, the Sy-
rians informed President
Gemayel of Lebanon that
Syrian troops would not
leave Lebanon "until
Damascus had obtained, as
part of an overall accord
protecting Syrian interests
in Lebanon, an ironbound
water agreement. Syria
wanted absolute guaran-
tees that headwaters of the
Orontes River, which rise in
Lebanon's fertile Bekaa
Valley, would never be
seized by hostile forces.
Water has been the
stumbling block in many at-
tempts since 1967 to write

peace agreements or cease-
fire arrangements between
Israel and its neighbors,
Cooley recounts. "Each time
the water question has
helped to block agreement.
"While the need for a ra-
tional, overall water-
sharing scheme steadily

Agreement on
Mideast water
resources must be
part of an overall
peace settlement.

grows more apparent, it
seems less attainable as
water issues are aggravated
by political tensions and by
the fact that, while its
neighbors' consumptions
are rapidly rising, Israel
still consumes roughly five
times as much water per
capita as each of its less
industrialized and less in-
tensively farmed
The water problem is not
solely an Arab-Israeli issue,
Cooley points out, noting


that the Arab states have
quarreled among them-
selves about water. But the
Arab-Israeli dimension of
the problem, he says, is vit-
ally important and is rooted
in Israel's original diversion
of Jordan River waters after
1948. The new state came to
rely for most of its water on
the diversion of between 50
and 75 percent of the Jordan
River's flow. By 1980,
Cooley asserts, Israel's total
water consumption was es-
timated at 64 billion cubic
feet a year — 42 billion of
which were used in agricul-
The West Bank is a key
source of water for Israel,
Cooley declares, noting that
most of the water for Israel's
coastal areas comes from
the West Bank aquifers
flowing toward the
Mediterranean. The hyd-
rological balance "could
easily be upset by interfer-
ing with the Hasbani, the
Baniyas, the Dan or the
"Yarmuk." Keeping Tel
Aviv, Haifa and the other
cities of the Israeli coastal
plain from running dry de-
pends on blocking Arab
water development in the

West Bank that could stop
the aquifers' flow westward,
hence the ban on Arab
Military government
regulations, he reports,
"now forbid West Bank
Arabs from drilling new
wells without special
authorization which is al-
most impossible to obtain.
Many existing wells have
been blocked or sealed by
the occupation authorities,
in some cases to prevent
their use from draining
nearby Jewish wells.
Further, Arabs' access to
water is determined by a
rather restrictive consump-
tion quota."

The Israeli project for a
canal linking the Mediter-
ranean and the Dead Sea,
Cooley reports, has alarmed
Jordan which fears the ef-
fects of the ensuing rise in
the level of the Dead Sea
and pollution of the Jordan
Valley's streams and - aquif-
A major part of Cooley's
essay is devoted to a history
of attempts to reach an
understanding for a

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