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Shamir Blasts Proposed U.S. Tank Sales to Jordan

Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir charged today that the Carter Administration’s planned sale of sophisticated weaponry to Jordan would upset the military balance in the Middle East and encourage Jordan in its refusal to enter the Camp David peace process. Shamir’s remarks, in an interview on Radio Luxembourg, were the first public criticism by an Israeli official of the proposed new U.S. arms sales to Jordan.

Shamir was referring to reports that King Hussein received a commitment from President Carter during their meetings in Washington last week to provide Jordan with 100 M-60 tanks equipped with laser range-finders and other advanced devices. “All sale of such arms to Jordan and other rejectionist states upset the strategic balance in the area,” Shamir said. Although Israel had not reacted officially to the reports until today, it is known that the Israeli Embassy in Washington made quiet representations to the Administration in recent days.

Israeli sources claimed, meanwhile, that although Jordan does not permit Palestinian terrorists to operate against Israel from its territory, Jordanian army authorities allow the terrorists to train in the use of American-made anti-tank missiles and provide instructors. A U.S. official said last week that Hussein had promised Carter that terrorists would not be allowed to operate from Jordanian soil but the King himself failed to confirm this.

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