No Basic Differences of Opinion Between Israel and U.S. Golda Meir Says

“There are no basic differences of opinion between Israel and the United States regarding political affairs in the Middle East,” Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister declared today on a coast-to-coast television program.

“Syria and its friends should know that Israel has friends,” Mrs. Meir stated. She added that the world should know that “a strong Israel is able to defend itself.” The Israel Foreign Minister indicated clearly that she hoped the United States would see that Israel was armed and would guarantee Israel’s security as an “important deterrent for an avoidance of a catastrophe in the Middle East.”

Despite serious concern over the arming of the Arab states and over Soviet and Arab propaganda which may delay prospects of Arab-Israel peace talks for at least five to ten years, Israel remains prepared to discuss peace or non-aggression treaties with the Arabs any time at all, Mrs. Meir stressed.

Addressing 150 members of the Overseas Press Club last Friday, Mrs. Meir said Israel was “prepared to meet any Arab representative, individually or in a group, any place, any day, any hour, to talk about peace treaties or about non-aggression agreements or anything else that would make it possible for us all to live in peace.”

“It is extremely necessary that Israel’s neighbors know that first, Israel has friends committed to safeguarding the existence and integrity of Israel, and second, that Israel itself is strong enough to withstand attack. These things must be said openly and Israel must be named by name in this context,” she emphasized.

CHARGES SOVIET RUSSIA WITH INCITING ARABS AGAINST ISRAEL

Avoiding a direct mention of the Soviet Union, Mrs. Meir said that “the country that is arming Syria and Egypt is using the situation to create greater antagonism against Israel and to voice propaganda accusing Israel of readiness to attack Syria.” Emphasizing that Israel “is honestly and sincerely desirous of ending tension and wants peace,” she warned that “the attacks against Israel, being absorbed by a generation of Arab children and youth, makes hopes of peace even more remote perhaps for five years or ten years or even longer.”

Discussing the Arab refugees, she said that “in an overall solution of the refugee problem, Israel is prepared to do its share in regard to reparations and compensation, and to do that gladly and immediately the minute the Arab representatives are willing to sit down and talk.” Despite all the tensions, Mrs. Meir Said, Israel was preparing to celebrate her tenth anniversary next spring, confident it is in its own homeland to stay.

Asked whether Israel would “consider military action” if Syria took overt action or internal subversive action against another Arab state, Mrs. Meir replied that Israel would act only if “its own security or integrity is threatened. It has no intention to rush into any country because an Arab regime is being subverted.” She expressed the hope that the Soviet Union might make it possible for Jews wishing to go to Israel to do so.

NEXT STORY