NEW YORK (Aug. 2)
The British Government is watching “apprehensively” the recent developments in Israel and Egypt because it believes that “the increase in the aggressive nationalism in these two countries could lead to a situation that would endanger peace in the Middle East,” the New York Times reports today from London.
The Times correspondent, Drew Middleton, says that the rise to political influence in Israel of the Herut Party in last week’s general elections worries British diplomats. “They have feared that Israel, prompted by aggressive nationalist leaders, might choose a ‘dynamic’ solution of her territorial problems,” he reports.
“These developments” the Times correspondent cables, would not Loom so important were it not for the high standard of the Israeli Army and Air Force and the influence of its leaders on policy. This standard is being steadily raised. Authoritative sources here report that Israel has ordered a number of Mark IV Mystere fighters from France. These jet fighters are superior to any in the Egyptian or Arab air forces and when they are delivered they will assure Israel of air superiority throughout the Middle East.”
The situation was summed up by a senior British official as follows: “The proud, efficient and ambitious Israeli people are being subjected by the Arab states to an economic blockade, which in time could nullify much of the pioneering Israel is doing. Under the circumstances it is not surprising that the general election returns appear to favor those politicians who favor a more active and aggressive policy.”
It is also noted that the Israeli Government may believe the country’s military position will worsen as supplies of arms from the United States are received by the Arab states. These arms are shipped on the undertaking that they are to be used for defense, but the Israelis are frankly suspicious. This is understandable, it is said, in view of some of the recent statements by Egyptian leaders,” the Times correspondent states.
“The British think that the presence side by side of two ambitious, restless nations with foreign policies affected by internal economic and social pressures creates a potentially dangerous situation,” the correspondent concludes.