TEL AVIV (Oct. 5)
Chief of Staff Gen. Mordechai Gur says Israel needs the American long-range Pershing ground-to-ground missile as a deterrent factor and in order to allow Israel strategic options in case of a new war with its neighbors.
Stating his views in the weekend edition of Yediot Achronot, Gur said any modern army must be able to maintain a balance and possess the option to chooses between the use of aircraft or missiles. If Israel receives the Pershing missiles from the U.S. the Arabs would be forced to reevaluate their military position because they would know that Israel could reach targets on their soil without endangering Israeli targets, he stated. In such an event, the existence of Pershing missiles in Israel’s arsenal could shift the balance away from the war option toward peace, Gur said.
He warned that Saudi Arabia is looming as a potential new front for Israel in the event of another Arab Israeli war. The Saudians have not participated directly in any of the past Arab-Israeli wars. Saudi Arabia has no contiguous border with Israel but faces it across the Gulf of Aqaba. It is there, Gur said, that the Saudians are intensifying their observation posts and building sizable fortifications along the eastern shores of the Gulf and the Straits of Tiran region.