JERUSALEM (Feb. 11)
The decision of the West German Government to halt deliveries of arms to Israel, under an Egyptian threat to recognize Communist East Germany, evoked sharp criticism from the Israeli press and responsible Israeli sources today, although the Government maintained an official silence on the subject.
(A late dispatch from Bonn to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Israel’s Ambassador Felix Shinnar, head of his Government’s purchasing mission in Cologne and Israel’s chief envoy in the Federal Republic, held a two-hour conference today with Chancellor Ludwig Erhard. No details of the subjects discussed were revealed, but the principal topic was believed to be Dr. Erhard’s decision to halt arms shipments to Israel. An informed Bonn source said that, in any event, most of the arms earmarked by Germany for Israel had already been delivered.)
Shortly before the announcement from Cairo that West Germany had yielded to Egyptian President Nasser’s pressure, Premier Levi Eshkol denounced “Arab arrogance” in trying to undermine Israel’s relations with “some of the powers.” Early today, the Premier summoned high officials for consultations on Israel’s reaction to the development. Fears were expressed that, in addition to the dangers inherent in yielding to “Nasserist blackmail,” this was the first time Nasser, using recognition of East Germany as a weapon, had succeeded in influencing Western attitudes toward Israel. Observers here said this was a precedent which could boomerang against the West.
Maariv, the evening daily, declared editorially that the manner of West Germany’s “total surrender” evoked the suspicion that its wish to surrender was even stronger than Nasser’s “blackmail.” The editorial added that the action revealed the “true face” of the “New Germany.”
Eeen if West Germany made the “gesture” of enacting legislation to extend the effective date of the statute of limitations on Nazi war criminals, or to recall German scientists working on advanced weapons systems in Egypt for Nasser’s regime, these would be “empty gestures,” Maariv stated. Asserting that, by the arms aid suspension, Bonn had forfeited Israel’s trust, the editorial said there should be no more “under the counter” arrangements in such matters. In relation to Bonn’s strength and its policy of “sabotaging Israel, “we have only one weapon: the moral weapon and a forceful voice,” the newspaper stated.