TEL AVIV (Aug. 29)
Defense Minister Shimon Peres declared that because of the continuing supply of Soviet arms to the Arab States, Israel has no choice but to obtain new combat aircraft, assault helicopters, artillery, missile boats and missile systems. He said Israel would acquire part abroad and produce the rest.
Peres, addressing graduates of the Command and Staff College Tuesday night, stressed that Israel will not be frightened by threats or pressure. He said Israel will instead persist in the slow movement toward a peace settlement with its Arab neighbors.
“We must take steps to dispel hostility by both actions and negotiations,” Peres said. He said Israel should “signal” Syria that it is prepared to seek another agreement with Damascus and tell Egypt that within the existing agreements, Israel is prepared for an arrangement that would allow for the development of the area.
Peres pledged that Israel would allow Lebanon to restore itself after the present conflict without any interference from Israel. He said that instead of the fence between Israel and Lebanon being a barrier it could develop like the Jordan River bridges into a means for fruitful contact.