Washington (Dec. 16)
Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Evron maintained last night that there has been “no hint” from the Reagan Administration of a possibility that the United States might delay arms shipments to Israel because of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. He said he hoped that the current situation would not be a setback in United States-Israel relations but would instead “strengthen” those relations.
Evron, who spoke to reporters after meeting for 90 minutes with Secretary of State Alexander Haig at the State Department, would not reveal what position the United States will take at the United Nations Security Council debate today on the issue, as outlined to him by Haig. However, it has been reported that the United States will support a resolution condemning the Israeli action as illegal but that it does not call for any sanctions.
Evron insisted that “the Syrians cannot have it both ways.” He said that, on one hand, the Syrians have never accepted Resolution 242 and have called for war against Israel. On the other hand, they are now accusing Israel of violating 242, he said.
Evron maintained that the Israeli action “couldn’t have been too much of a surprise.” He pointed out that every Israeli government since 1967 had declared its determination to retain the Golan Heights. Asked why it was done now, he said because it was felt that this was the “proper” time, and he noted that whenever Israel would have taken the action, it would have been criticized.
However, when asked if the Israeli action was annexation of the Golan Heights, or an extension of Israeli law to the area, Evron advised reporters to read the law. The Knesset Monday approved that “the law, jurisdiction and administration of the State shall apply to the Golan Heights.” But another Israel Embassy official said the Knesset action could not be considered annexation because Israel already occupied the area.
STATE DEPARTMENT REFUSES TO COMMENT
At the State Department today, spokesman Dean Fischer continued to refuse to comment on whether the U.S. considered the Israeli action an annexation or an extension of Israeli law to the Golan Heights.
Fischer said that Haig, in his talks to Evron last night and with Egyptian Ambassador Ashraf Ghorbal earlier in the day, expressed “our deep concern over this development.” He refused to comment any further on the situation, noting that the U.S. was engaged in consultations on the issue at the UN in New York at the present time.
Fischer said that he had not heard any suggestions that Britain, France, Italy and The Netherlands will now refuse to serve in the Sinai peacekeeping force because of Israel’s actions. He said that the statement yesterday by the European Economic Community Foreign Ministers condemning Israeli action on the Golan “speaks for itself.”