NEW YORK (Aug. 19)
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Moshe Arens, cautioned yesterday that the “major benefits” to the United States and Israel resulting from the Lebanese war could be dissipated unless there was close cooperation between Washington and Jerusalem on future developments in the Middle East.
In a report to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations following his return from Israel earlier this week, Arens said that any effort by the Administration to “distance” itself from Israel in order to persuade the “so-called Arab moderates” of America’s good intentions toward them could prove “destructive” to both American and Israeli interests.
“U.S.-Israeli cooperation is necessary,” Arens told the Presidents Conference, “if the positive results of Operation Peace for Galilee are to endure.” He said “great achievements” had resulted from Israel’s operation in Lebanon — “and not only for Israel.”
OUTLINES THE ACHIEVEMENTS
Among the achievements, Arens said, were:
* “A major change has taken place in the East-West power balance, both in the relative strategic position and the perceived strength of forces of NATO and the Warsaw Pact.”
What had been considered the “Soviet preponderance” in conventional arms is now known — both in Washington and in Moscow — as a mirage, the result of Israel’s stunning success, using American and Israeli-made weapons, against Soviet-supplied aircraft, surface-to-air missiles and tanks, Arens said.
* As a result, “Soviet stock has sunk to zero among the Arab states,” the Israeli envoy said. “None at the Arab countries are going to Moscow to shop for arms,” he observed, adding that this had “immeasurably strengthened the American strategic position in the Middle East.” He added;
“A clear and powerful answer has now been given to the question of whether the Western world could protect the vast pool of oil in the Persian Gulf area. It is now clear that the United States and Israel, working in tandem, can project sufficient power to meet any contingency in the Middle East — but only if the two work closely together.”
* Israel’s primary objective — to end the PLO threat to Israel’s north — has been achieved.
* The preconditions have been set for restoration of Lebanon’s independence, its return to the Western camp and the possibility of signing a peace treaty with Israel.
* International terrorism has been dealt a telling blow. “In Lebanon,” Arens said, “The PLO was able to operate above ground in what had been turned, in effect, into a PLO state. Other terrorist movements such as the Baader-Meinhof gang, the IRA, the Red Brigades and others, benefited significantly from the PLO’s control over so much of Lebanon and from the PLO infrastructure that had been established there. Never again will terrorist groups ever enjoy such a broad range of facilities and such freedom of action.”