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Meir: Israel Wants No War with Egypt but Can’t Permit Egypt to Break Truce

In an interview published today in Hamburg in the German magazine “Der Spiegel,” Israeli Premier Golda Meir said of the chance of a major Middle East war: “We want no big war. We don’t even want war with Egypt. But we are not prepared to allow Egypt to break the truce while we have to keep it.” On the possibility of an Israeli-Russian clash along the Suez Canal. Mrs. Meir commented: “We would not have caused the clash. After all, the Russians have no right to be where they are now.” But she admitted that both developments could occur, although she said she knew of no Russian-Israeli aerial encounters or Russian casualties to date. Mrs. Meir restated the Israeli position that Israeli pilots cannot stop to determine the nationality of a pilot manning an enemy jet. The Premier criticized the U.S. for not acting more swiftly to check Soviet penetration in the Mideast. The situation now is similar to that of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, she said. She contended that the American peace initiative had some good and some less than good points, but that the Soviet proposal is “no peace plan at all.” Concerning reports that Israel has had nuclear capability for more than two years, Mrs. Meir said Israel was not primarily interested in such weapons and voiced the hope that Egypt does not have an atomic bomb.

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