Jerusalem (Oct. 28)
Defense Minister Ariel Sharon enumerated a series of developments today which, he said Israel would never tolerate. They included the manufacture or possession of nuclear weapons by an Arab state, a Syrian invasion of southern Lebanon or the deployment of Iraqi forces in Syria.
He also declared that Israel would not consent to any violation of its peace treaty with Egypt, large or small. He predicted that Egypt would continue the peace process even after Israel completes its withdrawal from Sinai next April. He warned, however, that Israel has taken all precautionary measures “to avoid a disaster” if his forecast does not materialize.
The hawkish minister spoke to a group of Jewish leaders from North and South America, Europe and South Africa. He exhorted them to extend greater political support to Israel in its struggles. “You must raise your voices and put pressure on your governments,” he said.
Sharon deplored the supply of AWACS reconnaissance aircraft to Saudi Arabia, a country he denounced for financing international terrorism in general and terrorism against Israel in particular. According to Sharon, terrorists are now trying to operate against Israel via Jordan and Sinai.
He also charged that in the past few months, the U.S. has been supplying Iraq with arms, not directly but through Saudi Arabia and Jordan. “The fact that they are supplying this very sophisticated weaponry to the Arab world puts us in a very difficult situation,” he said. “We understand that the U.S. must supply weapons to the Arabs. The question is, why must it be the most sophisticated weapons?”
Sharon, who as Agriculture Minister in the first Likud-led government had opposed the Camp David accords and the peace treaty with Egypt, said of that treaty today: “If it lasts 10 years it will be an achievement. If it lasts 40 years it will be a dream.”