JERUSALEM (May. 26)
Premier Golda Meir delivered an urgent, almost desperate appeal to the United States today to sell Israel more Phantoms and other jet planes that Israel has requested. In a lengthy political report to the Knesset, Mrs. Meir declared. “I find it inconceivable that the United States will not carry out its declared undertaking” of maintaining the balance of power in the Middle East. She warned however that “any delay in granting our request is liable to injure our interests and be interpreted by our enemies as an encouragement of their aggression and by the Soviet Union as condoning its intensified involvement” in the Mideast conflict. A large part of Mrs. Meir’s 6000 word report was devoted to detailing the steady escalation of Soviet aid to the Arabs, principally to Egypt. “At a time when in New York and Washington Soviet representatives were participating with representatives of the Western powers in discussions on the renewal of the Jarring mission and on a peace settlement, Soviet cargo ships were sailing to Egypt laden with cargoes of SAM-3 ground-to-air missiles and thousands of Soviet experts were arriving in Egypt to install and operate them.” Mrs. Meir said.
She said the “gravest step so far” in Soviet involvement was the introduction of Soviet pilots into Egypt who have Egyptian air bases at their disposal and fly operational missions in Egyptian jets. Mrs. Meir insisted that the military victories Israel has achieved “have never intoxicated us to such an extent that we might give up our yearning for peace.” She rejected Arab claims that Israel has refused to accept the United Nations Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 Mideast resolution. Mrs. Meir did not say Israel accepted it but quoted a statement to that effect by the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations on May 1, 1968.
Addressing herself to the United States, she pointedly reminded the Nixon administration of statements it has made in the recent past. “I paid attention to what the President of the United States said at his press conference on May 8 about the ominous situation in the region as reports had been received that Soviet pilots had been integrated into the Egyptian Air Force.” Mrs. Meir said. “He (the President) went on to say that the United States was following the situation and if it became clear that the reports were true and if the escalation continued, this would drastically shift the balance of power and make it necessary for the United States to re-evaluate Its decision with regard to the supply of jets to Israel.” Mrs. Meir recalled. She also cited a March 24 statement by Secretary of State William P. Rogers who said the U.S. would not permit the security of Israel to be jeopardized and that if steps were taken that might upset the present balance of power the President would not hesitate to reconsider the matter. “I need not say that I attach great importance to these statements.” Mrs. Meir declared.