TEL AVIV (Dec. 18)
Premier Yitzhak Rabin today warned Israelis and Israel’s leaders not to regard American friendship as “in our pocket,” Addressing the monthly meeting of the Israel-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Rabin said that American friendship for Israel is qualified by its own interests in the area. The U.S., he stated, will not support Israel if there is a danger of superpower confrontation.
America’s interest in the Middle East is to achieve peace, the Premier said, but until that is achieved the U.S. wants the area to remain calm. In its relations with the U.S., Israel has to take into account both America’s friendship and her interests in the area, Rabin observed, “The phrase used by many Israelis, including some of our leaders, that America is in our pocket, is harmful to our friendship.” Rabin said. “We have to calculate our actions in ways that will avoid a confrontation with the United States.”
The continued friendship with the U.S. is important for Israel, he said, and it depends on Israel to see to it that the friendship continues. He warned that Israel must avoid placing itself in a position where Americans begin to feel “that they have had enough of us.” He added that unless Israel decreases its economic aid demands from the U.S. “our friendship may be damaged.” But, he pointed out, if the U.S. wants peace and tranquility in the area a strong Israel is a prerequisite.