TEL AVIV (Jul. 29)
Chief of Staff Gen Mordechai Gur added his voice today to those warning that a new Middle East war is a real possibility by the end of the year. Speaking to the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce, Gur said a situation could develop which could lure the Arab states into launching a new war.
But Gur said the Israel Defense Force is preparing for the eventuality by initiating new programs to increase the work day in the army, intensifying training courses, and improving the system of calling up the reserves. He stressed that the Israeli army is both a defensive and an offensive fighting force and there is the possibility that Israel might attack first.
As examples of situations which would lead to a new war, Our cited such developments as the United Nations troops being forced to leave the buffer zones, a feeling by the Arabs that they can gain their political advantages through a military campaign coupled with the use of oil pressure, and a decision by Syria to launch a war on its own because of its present heavy stockpile of arms.
Our said that if war breaks out it will be conducted along the lines of the Yom Kippur War since no new weapons have been introduced into the Mideast. He said be did not believe that missiles would be used against population centers if both sides were interested in preventing it. This weekend Defense Minister Simon Peers also warned of the possibility of a new war in six months to a year, particularly from Syria.