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Rabin: No More Israeli Withdrawals Without Significant Peace Progress

Premier Yitzhak Rabin has declared on the eve of his trip to Washington that there will be no more Israeli territorial withdrawals without significant progress toward peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors. Addressing a meeting of new immigrants from the Soviet Union at Beit Berl, Rabin said it was possible to reach a quick settlement with the Arabs by giving in to all of their demands–withdrawal to Israel’s pre-1967 borders and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Arabs are willing to give in return “something resembling peace, but for us such a solution constitutes the beginning of the end of the Jewish State,” Rabin said. He told his audience Saturday that Israel’s position was never to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines and no Palestinian state, but to confront the Arabs from a position of strength in the quest for peace. This can be achieved through negotiations with each of the Arab states for either a sharp transition from the situation of war to one of peace or a gradual transition carried out in stages, Rabin said.

Meanwhile, the Premier stressed, Israel must be prepared for any contingency and should listen carefully to the new threats of war emanating from Arab capitals, particularly Damascus. “One should not be frightened by those threats but one should be well prepared so that we are not caught by surprise,” he said.

Rabin said the Yom Kippur War had proven in a brutal manner how isolated Israel was. “It demonstrated how fast the world has forgotten the holocaust that eliminated half the Jewish people. We saw how peoples, with rich cultures who were known for their humanitarian traditions, preferred oil to morality and truth,” he said in an apparent reference to the countries of Western Europe. “We saw how people to whom we extended help deserted us when we were in need,” he said, a reference to African countries that severed diplomatic relations with Israel. “On the other hand,” Rabin added, “we saw one friend–the United States–and above all, the one true friend in time of war, the Jewish people.”

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