JERUSALEM (Jun. 23)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said today that if the Soviet Union should actively join in a war against Israel, “then there is only one power that is capable of checking them–the United States.” Addressing a press luncheon, Gen. Dayan said Israel had definite evidence that Soviet pilots were flying operative missions over Egypt but thus far they have avoided intervening in dogfights with Israeli planes over the Suez Canal zone. Gen. Dayan evaded a question on whether he considered an American physical presence in Israel necessary or desirable. He said It was to be hoped that “the two great powers will come to an agreement along the lines of ‘we keep out, you keep out.’” Gen. Dayan indicated that Israel would invade and occupy Jordan if changes in the rule of that country threatened Israel’s security. “We don’t care who is in control” in Jordan, he said, “but we do care whether or not we are shot at from Jordanian territory. A situation might arise in which the interests of our defense make it necessary for us to march in. I would much rather march out again, but if necessary we would stay,” he said.
Gen. Dayan expressed the view that Israel has not specifically accepted the United Nations Security Council’s resolution of Nov. 22, 1967. He said the statement made at the time by Israel’s UN envoy. Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, amounted to less than an acceptance. Premier Golda Meir’s reference to Mr. Tekoah’s statement on the resolution in a Knesset speech earlier this month was widely interpreted abroad as an avowal of Israel’s acceptance of the resolution. It calls for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories in return for peace undertakings by the Arabs. Gen. Dayan hinted in his talk today at the extent to which Israel would be willing to withdraw. “In exchange for peace we are prepared to give back a lot of territory,” he said. “We have historic links with Nablus, Hebron and Shiloh (all West Bank towns) but these are not title deeds. On the other hand, there are such places as Sharm el-Sheikh (in southern Sinai) which Israel is not prepared to give up although she has no historic links. But we do have an historical duty with regard to our future,” the Defense Minister said. (In Washington today State Department spokesman Carl Bartch said “no comment” when asked about Gen. Dayan’s statement that Israel would need U.S. intervention if the Soviet Union actively joins a war against it.)