Jerusalem (Aug. 24)
Israel is determined to campaign against the Reagan Administration’s plan to sell AWACS reconnaissance planes to Saudi Arabia, despite American efforts to convince Israel to give up its opposition, it was learned here today.
Secretary of State Alexander Haig’s statement yesterday on ABC-TV’s “Issues and Answers” program that the Administration intends to “proceed” with its proposal and “win” the Congressional battle was interpreted here as part of the ongoing effort by the United States to tone down Israel’s opposition to the sale. President Reagan’s special advisor on Jewish affairs, Jacob Stein, is reported to have told Premier Menachem Begin during their talks here last week not to press his luck with Reagan by continuing to oppose the sale. Stein said continued opposition would be considered a personal affront to Reagan himself. (See late story P.3.)
However, Begin is reportedly determined to go ahead with the anti-AWACS campaign because he regards the issue as a matter of principle. In Begin’s view, Israel should continue with its campaign even if its chances of success are not great. His view is that Israel should not give up such campaigns because of the argument that they may aggravate Reagan.