TEL AVIV (Jan. 1)
The Western Powers, by supplying arms to the Arab states, are “inevitably” forcing Israel into a ruinous arms race which is a threat to peace, an Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman declared here yesterday. This charge was made in reply to a British Foreign Office statement insisting on Britain’s right to supply the Arab states and Israel with jet planes and other armaments.
The Israeli spokesman, who pointed out that the Western Powers are specifically pledged to prevent an arms race, in the tripartite declaration of May 1951, demanded set these powers suspend arms deliveries to the Arab states until the latter change their hostile attitude toward the Jewish State. If arms must be supplied to states in the Middle East, he added, they should be provided on the realistic basis that the Arab states are all allied against Israel. He also questioned whether the delivery of arms to the Arabs was a “safe investment.”
Since the Western Powers deny Egypt’s claims to belligerency against Israel, they must either prevail upon Egypt to give up that status or must “draw the logical conclusions” from the situation and hold back arms, the Israeli spokesman continued. The present situation is “paradoxical,” he asserted, since the Arabs refuse to make peace with Israel or to shoulder responsibility for regional defense and yet the West is supplying them with weapons. These arms are intended for use against Israel, not for regional defense, the spokesman charged, and they represent a threat to her security and to world peace.
Turning to the specific British statement on arms for the Arabs, the spokesman rejected the British explanation that weapons were being supplied to Egypt under an Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1935. Firstly, the Israeli spokesman stressed, the Egyptians have denounced the treaty; secondly, the British themselves cut off the supply of arms to Egypt last year during the Anglo-Egyptian crisis, when delivery was not to Britain’s interests. This proved that Britain feels that it need not supply arms under treaties where considerations of peace and stability make such deliveries inadvisable, he said.
The spokesman also pointed out that while Britain has agreements to supply arms with Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, it has no such pacts with Syria and Lebanon, but the latter states are reported to have received jet planes from Britain.