NEW YORK (Dec. 6)
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, said today that if the United States, after exhausting all diplomatic means to free its hostages in Iran, decides to resort to military action, Israel will be willing to make the Haifa port and military airfields — “but not Israeli soldiers” — available to the Americans.
But Dayan, speaking at a press conference at the Hilton Hotel here, sponsored by the United Jewish Appeal, made it clear he is not advising the United States as to whether to use the military option in order to resolve the current Iranian crisis.
Dayan, who is on a speaking tour in the U.S. on behalf of the UJA, said that Americans should realize that the Iranian situation is part of a general feeling of unrest throughout the Mideast and the Moslem world. The events of recent weeks, in which American embassies were attacked in Iran, Pakistan, Libya and other countries, might have a severe effect on American prestige Dayan warned.
“It will be very bad for the Mideast, the West and America if you (Americans) will lose your prestige,” Dayan said, adding: “It’s not exactly adding to the prestige of the U.S. when diplomats escaped through the back door (as in Libya) or were rescued from the top of the roof (as in Pakistan).”
Dayan said he thinks the U.S. “did not read correctly the situation in the Mideast …. You don’t and correctly the mood of the people in the Mideast,” and as a result, the U.S. “made some mistakes” in handling the anti-American developments in the area. Dayan disclosed that Israel advised the U.S. a year in advance that the Shah might be toppled and that the Iranian army is weak. But he refused to disclose what the American response to the Israeli warning was. In response to a question, Dayan said the hostages in the American Embassy in Teheran cannot be rescued in a way the Israelis rescued their hostages in Entebbe, Uganda. “It is not the same situation,” he said. Following his press conference Dayan addressed a luncheon meeting of the UJA. Dayan’s appearance here was part of the UJA 1980 National Conference which opened today and concludes Saturday.