JERUSALEM (May. 20)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol expressed his regret today over Soviet Premier Khrushehev’s offer to provide more arms to Egypt, and declared Israel is ready now, as always, to “join in any endeavor for regional disarmament” in the Middle East, provided such an effort were coupled with “mutual inspection.”
Mr. Eshkol made his statement in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. He did not mention Mr. Khrushchev by name, but referred to the offers of more arms to Nasser, voiced by the Soviet leader the last two days during his current visit to Egypt.
The Israel Government regrets, Mr. Eshkol told Parliament, that, “despite Nasser’s aggressive declarations with regard to Israel, he benefits from political support and arms supply from sources usually propagating peace and co-existence. Those aspiring to world peace must support also regional peace.
“Arms in the hands of Egypt today bear neither an anti-imperialist nor a national liberation mission, but are directed in accordance with Egypt’s declared policy toward an anti-Israel war-serving also Nasser’s aim’s to dominate neighboring Arab countries. ” Mr. Eshkol continued. “All this negates fundamentally the peaceful co-existence idea accepted by Russia and the West alike.” Israel, he said, rejects an arms race as a development endangering peace, and hampering development.
Reiterating Israel’s readiness to join a regional disarmament move coupled with mutual inspection, he noted that Israel never introduced new weapons into this area. “But,” he said, “as long as Israel’s enemies are not ready for disarmament, Israel must and will fortify her deterrent strength, which is needed for the preservation of the peace.”
While discussing the general arms race in the region, Mr. Eshkol also reiterated the fact that Israel’s sole objective in nuclear development is aimed at research for peaceful purposes. In that context, he was replying to recent press reports abroad that stated that not only Egypt but Israel as well is engaged in the development of nuclear weapons.