Rabin: Israel Will Not Be First to Break Disengagement Treaties, but Will Not Permit Arabs to Act

Premier Yitzhak Rabin warned last night that while Israel will not be the first to breach the disengagement treaties, “neither shall we sit idly by should our enemies do so.” Speaking at a rally of paratroopers at the Mann Auditorium, Rabin said that Syria was leading the Arab states into preparing for another war. “We always used to regard our main enemy as from the south, Egypt, “Rabin said. “But it is not impossible that Syria, Iraq or even Jordan may amass a military strength greater than Egypt’s.”

Rabin noted the unprecedented increase in military strength by the Arab states, especially Syria.Experience has taught us, “he said, “that preparing for war before it starts is half the victory. We do not want war but we do not fear war.” The Premier said that Israel has created a people that “will both build and fight.” Rabin added that while he believed Israel had never faced graver problems, he was convinced that Israel had the strength and ability to overcome these obstacles.

Today Rabin, accompanied by Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur, visited the Golan Heights. While stressing that there was no special significance in the visit, Rabin again emphasized that Israel will maintain the cease-fire and disengagement agreements but will not sit by idly if Syria violates them. He said he has learned that Syria has no intentions of rebuilding Kuneitra although one of their main arguments during the disengagement negotiations was that she wanted the return of Kuneitra to enable its former inhabitants to return home.

(Diplomatic sources in Cairo have reported that Egypt is calling up some of its reserves. However, the government is keeping quiet about the moves and a hint of such action by Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy in Paris was omitted from the three Arabic-language newspapers in Cairo although it was reported in the French and English language dallies.)

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