No settlements, or no aid

September 09, 1991

It is entirely right and proper for the United States to guarantee $10 billion in loans -- in effect to become a collateral signer of the note -- to enable Israel to resettle the expected influx of hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews to the Middle East.

But it is no less entirely right and proper to expect Israel, in return for those guarantees, to immediately stop the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Every president going back to Gerald Ford has regarded these settlements as "obstacles to peace" -- for the indisputable reason that these settlements amount to the incremental annexation of the very territory which is supposed to be under negotiation if any meaningful peace conference is to be convened in the Middle East.

Every party's interest, including Israel's in the final analysis, will best be served if Congress stands behind the president in insisting that Israel agree to halt all settlement expansion before any loan guarantees are made.

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