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Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 20, 1982, Page 6
Facts for Your Files
A Chronology of U.S.-Middle East Relations
Following the Israeli cabinet's rejection of President Reagan's Middle East peace initiative, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz said on an American television program that "It's hard for me to believe that Israel would reject the idea of peace." He added: "It's hard for me to believe that they (the Israelis) would reject the pledges of support for their security that the President gave. There are lots of things in that speech that are extremely important. And so total rejection is a word that I don't think is appropriate."
U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger said in Cairo that Egypt will receive sophisticated Hawkeye E2C reconnaissance planes.
In reaction to the Israeli Government's announcement that ten new settlements had been approved for the West Bank, the Reagan Administration released a statement saying: "The United States regards the Israeli announcement as most unwelcome. We cannot understand why at a time when broader participation in the peace process is both critical and possible Israel has elected to extend a pattern of activity which erodes the confidence of all and most particularly the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza...The United States position set forth by President Reagan on Sept. 1 (calling for a freeze on new settlements) remains and shall remain unchanged."
When asked on an American television program if the U.S. would use its aid to Israel as leverage on the Begin Government for greater cooperation on President Reagan's peace proposal, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz said: "We don't have any plans to try to maneuver people in a peace negotiation by talking about withholding aid." Mr. Shultz also said that "appropriate security" for Israel "must include the notion of a totally demilitarized area throughout the West Bank in terms of any possible offensive capabilities."
Commenting on statements by senior Israeli officials on Sept. 6 that the situation in Lebanon should be settled before the talks on Palestinian autonomy are resumed, a State Department spokesman said that "the talks should go forward without direct relationship to the events in Lebanon."
U.S. State Department spokesman John Hughes said of President Reagan and his plan for Mideast peace: "The President is very serious and very determined. The determination is not diluted by the initial Israeli response. The reaction of a number of other governments has been very supportive. The President is very serious about this and will pursue this."
The U.S. Department of Commerce issued an export license for the sale of six small jets to the Government of Iraq. Two of the jets will be equipped for towing gunnery targets, two for aerial mapping, and two will be outfitted for executives. The name of the company negotiating the sale—worth approximately $25 million—was not disclosed.
The U.S. marines who helped supervise, as part of a multinational force, the evacuation of PLO forces from Beirut, left Lebanon after declaring that their mission had been accomplished. They had been authorized to spend up to 30 days in Lebanon if necessary, but left after only 16 days.
U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "key elements" of the Arab League peace plan announced September 9 in Fez, Morocco were "at considerable variance" with President Reagan's peace initiative. He also said that the Arab plan may implicitly recognize Israel, adding that: "I hope that is so. If that's what it is, then it's a step forward. It may not sound like much, but it would be a genuine breakthrough...and very, very important."
After Israel's drive into West Beirut, which followed the assassination of Lebanon's president-elect Bashir Gemayel, a White House spokesman said: "We fully support the Lebanese government's call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces, which are in clear violation of the cease-fire understanding to which Israel is party. There is no justification, in our view, for Israel's continued military presence in West Beirut and we call for an immediate pullback."