NEW YORK (Dec. 6)
The military and political agreements concluded between the United States and Israel last week are the result of shared values and concerns in the Middle East and will not result in Israel acting as a “sword for hire,” according to Benjamin Netanyahu, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israel Embassy in Washington.
In a brief 15-minute address to the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of the United Israel Appeal last night, Netanyahu indicated that the agreements reached at meetings Israeli Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Moshe Arens held in Washington with President Reagan and senior Administration officials are directed to thwart Syrian and Soviet aggression in the region.
According to Netanyahu, the “conception of alliances” between nations is a central element of the foreign policy of any nation caught in the midst of conflict. While he indicated that Israel “can handle” the Syrians, the continued Soviet armaments and sophisticated weaponry funneled into Syria is of serious concern.
“They are preparing for war and the Syrian economy is placed on a war footing,” Netanyahu told some 150 persons at the dinner in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. He said that a Soviet supported program to arm the Syrians will be completed in six to eight months.
“Tonight we say to the enemies of the Jewish people …. for 2,000 years our people fought and triumphed before our would-be oppressors and we shall not be cowed by you,” the Israeli official declared.
CITES REMAINING DIFFERENCES
In answering questions from the UIA members, Netanyahu said the United States’ air attack on Syrian military emplacements in Lebanon Sunday marked the first time that the U.S. has reacted to the killing of U.S. personnel by Arabs.
On other matters, the Israeli official said the Reagan Administration and the Israeli leaders with whom they met with last week still disagree on several outstanding issues, including the Israeli policy of expanded Jewish settlements on the West Bank, the U.S. desire to sell arms to the moderate Arab states, and the U.S. position on the more than three year old Iran-Iraq war.
Netanyahu said the United States seeks a tilt toward supporting Iraq, but he said Israeli intelligence indicates the war continues to remain at a standstill with each side advancing and then being pushed back. He described Iran and Iraq as “two wild crazy dogs.”