JERUSALEM (Jan. 4)
Israel Galili, Labor Minister-Without-Portfolio who is close to Premier Golda Meir, said last night that the resumption of American deliveries of Phantom jets to Israel is in no way linked to political concessions by Israel. Galili is one of a number of high level Israeli figures who regard President Nixon’s remarks on a US television interview Sunday night as a statement of his decision to supply the supersonic fighter-bombers to Israel.
Speaking on a radio interview here, Galili said the Israeli government rejected any link between arms deliveries and political concessions. He expressed hope that Nixon’s statement would be put into practice soon and said it would have the effect of deterring the Arabs rather than provoking them into new hostilities.
Nixon, interviewed by CBS White House correspondent Dan Rather said, when asked if the US has agreed in principle to sell more Phantoms to Israel, “We have made a decision of implementing a decision that I have long announced: that we will not allow the military balance the Middle East to be shifted…we have had to consider the requests of Israel for planes in order to see that the balance does not shift. We have made a commitment in principle.”
Galili said the Israel government was open to discussion on both an interim agreement to reopen the Suez Canal and an overall agreement, the sole condition being that these discussions are held without prior conditions. Regarding the return of UN mediator Gunnar V. Jarring to an active role in Mideast peace efforts, Galili said: “The Egyptians have decided on war but for the present refrain from opening fire and have declared their willingness to try the political course. Israel must therefore be ready for a new beginning.” He added that Israel must remain on the alert for a possible renewal of hostilities which “makes it vital not to miss any political opportunities.”