U.S. Says No Change in Status of Israeli Bid for Purchase of Phantom Aircraft

Official United States Government sources said today that the decision to sell Israel additional Hawk anti-aircraft missiles indicated no change in the status of Israel’s application to purchase 50 F-4 Phantom jet fighter-bombers. The Israeli request made officially by Prime Minister Eshkol last January, “remains under active study,” one official said. The comment on the Hawk sale, which the Pentagon announced on Saturday, came as speculation emerged in Congressional and other quarters that the Administration considred the Hawks a substitute for the supersonic Phantoms. A State Department source said today that the Hawk sale was justifiable because it involved “purely defensive arms” while a Phantom transaction would be “controversial in that this is an attack aircraft that has an aggressive potential.”

Representative William Broomfield, Rep. of Michigan, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, declared today that Congress must continue to press for action on Israel’s request for the supersonic Phantoms. He said that the additional Hawk missiles which will be sold to Israel would “do nothing to enhance Israel’s strike capacity, the key to her ability to deter aggression” Advocates of the long-pending Phantom application “must not be confused into a misguided conclusion that Israel’s defense requirements have been met,” he said.

Rep. Broomfield, pointed o it that “Arab airfields are jammed with the latest Soviet jet fighters and bombers” but “not a single supersonic jet lost by Israel in the Six-Day War or subsequently has been replaced.” He warned that continued failure to act on Israel’s application for the Phantoms “encourages the Russians to continue their Middle East build-up and contributes to Arab intransigence.”

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