32 Friday, August 9, 1985
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In The Hostage Cii*
BY TRUDE B. FELDMAN
The Jewish News House Correspondent
The Jewish News White House Correspondent
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Washington — Israel's Am-
bassador to the United States
said the recent hijacking of the
TWA airplane from Athens, and
the subsequent crisis involving
American hostages, has not
weakened relations — as was
the intention of the terrorists —
between Israel and the United
He described the tragedy as
"proof' that Israel and the U.S.
share common enemies — coun-
tries supporting terrorists: Iran,
Libya, Syria, South Yemon and
Meir Rosenne — in an inter-
view — also said he remains
disturbed and perplexed by the
"unjust unfair and incorrect"
statements by a senior White
House officials 72 hours before
the release of the 39 hostages.
The official was quoted in the
Washington Post as saying ...
"Certainly, there are enough
people over here of the Jewish
faith who can read ... who must .
be telling people over there (in
Israel) ... 'For God's sake, look
what you're doing to public
opinion' in the U.S."
The official — later disclosed
to be Donald Regan, White
House Chief of Staff — implied
that Israel, without•being asked
directly by the U.S., should
begin releasing Lebanese Shiite
prisoners, as demanded by the
hijackers. Earlier, Israel had
said it planned to release the
prisoners as soon as practical.
The White House attempted
to minimize the statements
when another official described
them as "unfortunate remarks"
in a second article. That pro-
voked additional attention to
the remarks, which, sub-
sequently were more widely
While Donald Regan said his
remarks were "misinterpreted,"
Ambassador Rosenne told me: "I
was surprised, even shocked by
his damaging and undeserving
statements. They were unwar-
ranted because they did not re-
flect reality nor were they fac-
tual. The truth is that there was
continual dialogue between the
U.S. I know, because I was in-
tensely involved with every as-
pect of the crisis.
"Furthermore, as was often
publicly stated, it was not Is-
rael's responsibility that the
'hostages weren't earlier re-
leased. Israel was certainly no
obstacle to their release."
As for Syria's role in the
hijacking, Ambassador Rosenne
said the fact that Syrian
President Hafez Assad assisted
in the release of the 39 hostages
is evidence to the probable in- .
volvement of Syria in the plan-
ning and implementation of the
hijacking \ "President
Assad could have
innocent passengers two weeks
earlier, saving them 15 days of
trauma, beating and suffering,"
Rosenne said. "And since Syria
controls Lebanon, I think
Presiderit Assad is able to
ensure the release of the seven
huger , iri different loditions
Surprised by Don Regan's
either in Bekka Valley or
elsewhere in Lebanon.
"It is Syria's responsibility to
help release them. If Syria
doesn't, I think the world should
consider economic and diploma-
tic sanctions against Syria."
He said the fact that Syria
played a major role in the hos-
tage release is due to the occu-
pation of Lebanon by Syria, and
to the presence of 40,000 Syrian
soldiers in that country.
National Security Adviser
Robert C. McFarlane said that
Syria acted "constructively" dur-
ing the captivity of the hostages.
"In doing so, Syria was moti-
vated by her view of self inter-
est," he said. "Syria has an
interest in stability in Lebanon,
for stability makes it easier to
exercise a prevailing influence
over Lebanon affairs. Syria also
has an interest in elevating the
standing of Nahbi Berri (Minis-
ter of Justice in Lebanon). Both
of these interests were served by
gaining the release of the
American hostages. In gaining
their release, Syria demon-
strated that she is in a position
to gain the release of the re-
maining seven, and we're hope-
ful Syria will do so."
During Ambassador Rosenne's
interview, he emphasized that
the aim of the hijackers, as with
most terrorists in the Mideast,
is to try and impose on the U.S.
government a different policy
towards Israel "During the re-
cent crisis, such a ploy was used
by pro-Arab and pro-terrorists to
impose a so-called more even-
handed policy," he said. "By
doing so, they implicitly condone
the acts of terrorism. At stake is
who determines U.S. policy in
the Mideast — the terrorists or
the U.S. government."
Rosenne remarked that the
war waged between terrorists
and democratic societies is not
waged for territory, but for the
right of every democratic state
to have its own policy.
He noted that until the TWA
hijacking episode, there was a
general tendency to think of
only Israel and the U.S. as
potential victims of terrorism
. . .