Shamir Charges That Saudi Arabia is a Major Obstacle to the Camp David Peace Process

Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir attacked Saudi Arabia today, charging that the oil-rich desert kingdom is “one of the major obstacles to the Camp David process for peace in the Middle East.”

In a sharply worded speech to some 300 guests attending a Foreign Policy Association luncheon at the Hilton Hotel, Shamir stated: “The Saudi government has placed itself at the head of the Arab rejectionist camp in its relentless opposition to Israel and to the Egyptian-Israeli peace, and in its all-out support of all the factors that are striving to undermine that peace, especially the PLO. The Saudis’ destructive effort is backed by immense financial resources and the political clout that accompanies them.”

Shamir’s speech conspicuously avoided the controversial issue of the proposed sale of AWACS radar planes to Saudi Arabia by the Reagan Administration. But the Israeli Foreign Minister referred to it briefly in the question and answer period that followed his speech.

“We are sure that AWACS in the hands of the Saudis will constitute a danger to Israel’s security,” Shamir said. Asked to respond to President Reagan’s statement in his press conference last Thursday that “it is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy decisions,” Shamir replied that the decision on the sale is an American one, but, Shamir added, “Israel has the right and obligation to express its views when its security is concerned.”

In his speech, Shamir charged that without Saudi support “the PLO would have remained an insignificant terrorist organization with meagre resources.” He said that the Saudis provide the PLO with several hundred million dollars a year, large quantities of arms and unlimited political support.

DISCLOSES WARNING BY SAUDIS

The Israel Foreign Minister disclosed that Saudi Arabia had warned several countries not to resume diplomatic relations with Israel and promised them material support if they refrained from contact with Israel.

“The Saudi extremism against Israel and the peace process stems from two, deeply-rooted, motives,” Shamir said. “The first is a fanatic hatred of Jews and Israel that is an integral part of the Wahabi fundamentalist tradition, since the days of Kings Ibn-Saud and Faisal. The second motive is that by paying ransom to the PLO they protect themselves from PLO subversion against the Saudi regime,” he said. “The result is a dangerous blend of motivations that poses as a formidable threat to peace and stability in the Middle East.”

Shamir also accused the Saudis of being responsible for the Lebanese situation, because, he said, they support the sources of the Lebanese tragedy, namely “the Syrian occupation and the PLO hold on Lebanon.”

Shamir said that Israel believes that “every Arab government that is seeking friendly relations with the

Western world led by the U.S. must be convinced that this goal can be achieved by joining the peace process and supporting it.”

ISRAEL AND ARAB COUNTRIES

In an indirect reference to charges that Israel stands between the U.S. and its efforts to foster friendly relations with the Arabs, Shamir declared:

“We have always maintained that friendship with Israel does not contradict friendly relations with the Arab states in our area. However, in order to prevent frequent clashes between the two friendships, we believe that the search for peace between Israel and the Arab countries must go on. In this context, the Camp David process is not just a plan for peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors but a framework for a logical and sound, global strategy for the Middle East.”

Shamir left for Washington this afternoon to meet with Secretary of State Alexander Haig. The meeting reportedly was requested by Haig.

NEXT STORY