WASHINGTON (Jul. 19)
Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin reiterated today his government’s opposition to a temporary cease-fire in the Middle East, declaring it would “legitimize” a new round of attacks after its conclusion. Interviewed on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press,” Gen. Rabin asserted that “we are ready any time, any moment” to agree to an “unconditional and unlimited cease-fire.” But the Soviet-Egyptian “partnership,” he said, demands that Israel agree to withdraw totally from the occupied Arab territories and to “dismember” Israel for the benefit of the Palestinian refugees. All peace negotiations must be predicated on the recognition of a Jewish state in the Mideast, he asserted, Gen. Rabin, who was Israel’s Chief of Staff during the Six-Day War, contended he was “not acquainted” with nuclear weapons when asked to comment on reports of Israeli nuclear capability. He said there are no nuclear weapons in the Mideast “in the context of the small countries In the area,” and insisted that “Israel is not a nuclear country” and will not be the first to use such weapons in the area. Questioned as to why, then, Israel has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Gen. Rabin replied that while “we have not yet signed it,” still “we haven’t yet rejected it.” Israel continues, he said, to “study” It.
Gen. Rabin contended that Israel can hold onto its cease-fire lines, but that she “cannot withstand” a massive Soviet military offensive. He stated that the Soviet Union “will not hesitate” to use “force” to “gain hegemony and a predominant role” in the Mideast. Asked whether United States aid was sufficient, he replied: “I can’t discuss the details of the military assistance…I prefer not to say anything about the details.” He also appeared to skirt a question as to how there could be secure and recognized borders in the nuclear age, referring to attacks on Tel Aviv in June, 1967, by saying that “there is a big difference between a missile and what happened in the Six-Day War.” The Israeli ambassador said the Soviet presence in the Mideast, which he described as offensive, comprised 3,000-4,000 advisors and 5,000-8,000 persons “operating weapons systems.” He said there would not be another full-scale Mideast war if Russians “will not intervene.” He showed that it was “very difficult” to distinguish between “offensive and defensive” weapons, observing: “It depends how the user uses it.”