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Britain, Israel at Odds over Israeli Arms Supplies to Argentina

Israel’s Energy Minister, Yitzhak Berman addressed an Israel Bonds Independence Day dinner here. But his remarks, at what was intended to be a festive occasion, reflected growing bitterness between Israel and Britain over reported Israeli arms supplies to Argentina and the British government’s perceived tilt toward the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Berman rebuked Britain and Western European countries for what he called their double standards over the Falkland Islands and Middle Eastern conflicts. He said that while Britain felt free to give advice to other countries, “I am not sure they can solve their own problems at the other side of the world or in nearby Northern Ireland.”

He said that Britain was accusing Israel of intransigence, but the same charge was being leveled against Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for invoking the same articles of the United Nations Charter as those cited by Israel in defense of its policies. Berman also indicated Israel’s chagrin for not being given sufficient credit in the West for the sacrifices it made in returning Sinai to Egypt.

He quoted American oil experts as saying that if Israel had not given up the Sinai and Red Sea oil fields, it would have become on oil-exporting country by the middle of this year instead of remaining dependent almost entirely on costly oil imports.

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