WASHINGTON (Dec. 19)
King Hussein of Jordan, in an exclusive interview published here today by the U.S. News and World Report, said that the Arab sabotage raids into Israel are contrary to agreements at Arab summit conferences and “almost of a help to the Israelis in attaining their objectives, by providing them with a pretext which they can use to further their own ends.”
He said Arab strategy demanded crossings into Israel be stopped at this time “because this might give Israel a pretext to wage a war at a time when the build-up of defensive capabilities of the bordering Arab states have not been completed.” He made clear that he opposed the so-called Palestine Liberation Army. He termed it a subversive influence, following “an extreme-Left ideology,” and armed by the Communist bloc, mainly China.
At the same time, the king said that Israel is expansionist-minded and he called for removal of United Nations forces from Sinai and Gaza to force Israel to divert her military strength from the Jordanian frontier.
Commenting on a question involving alleged Israeli expansionist tendencies, Hussein said: “I believe more than ever that, in regard to Western Jordan, it certainly has got some ambitions — if not to take over and control territory, at least to get into a bargaining position by hitting us before we are ready to defend ourselves.” Withdrawal of UNEF, he said, “would make less serious the threat of Israeli attack, because the Israelis would have to divert their forces and reckon with the Egyptians.”
While denouncing the Soviet Union for plotting to seize power in the Arab world, King Hussein nevertheless maintained that arms shipments from Russia to some Arab states were not really upsetting the Arab-Israel military balance. He said that “nothing has been done with the arms to meet the real threat the Israelis pose.”