TEL AVIV (Jan. 10)
Chief of Staff Gen. Rafael Eitan said in a weekend press interview that Syria was taking steps which could lead to a war with Israel. He told Yediot Ahronot that he did not think Syria wanted a war, but its activities could lead to warfare.
President Hafez Assad of Syria yesterday endorsed resolutions by the Arab League’s Labor Organization calling for actions against American diplomatic missions and interests in the Mid-east and the use of oil as a political weapon. The Arab labor unions ended a three-day conference in Damascus, which met to discuss possible responses to Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, with resolutions calling for “a popular Arab action” against the U.S. in the Mideast.
At the same time, the Saudi newspaper, Al Medina, warned the U.S. and its European allied that they face “the gravest consequences” if they continue to block punitive measures against Israel in the United Nations Security Council which is debating a Syrian resolution for mandatory sanctions against Israel. The paper said yesterday:
“There is now a modern revival of the ancient Christian crusades against Islam, this time under the aegis of the United States in an unholy alliance with Zionism. This attitude should prompt the Palestine Liberation Organization to reassess its military strategy.”
“This U.S. attitude, which puts a shameful brand on America’s foreign policy, is neither in Western nor American interests,” the paper said. “Europe should realize very well that it will be opening itself to the gravest of consequences by falling in with the U.S. Zionist wave.”
ISRAEL WILL FIGHT TO THE END
Eitan said that if war were forced on Israel, Israel would this time “fight it to the end.” He thought that if war were to break out, the entire eastern front might be involved. Eitan also said he thought it was possible that Iraq and Iran might yet come to terms in order to form a front against Israel, but added he saw no present signs of that happening because the two sides were so stubborn. “It is a pleasure to see them killing each other,” he said.
The Chief of Staff said there was nothing urgent about the continued presence of Syrian missiles in Lebanon. The problem could be solved politically, but Israel could not wait forever for that to happen, he said.