U.S. Hoping Israel Will Mute Its Criticism over Project for Jordan

The United States is not expecting Israel’s support for its rapid deployment force project in Jordan. It is, however, asking Israel to mute its criticism, if there must be criticism at all.

This, according to well-placed sources here, was the impression garnered by Premier Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Moshe Arens from their talks in Washington last week. The U.S. side referred often to its determination to extend American aid and support to “moderate Arab states,” and plainly the rapid deployment force project for Jordan is high on this list of priorities.

(The projected force — of two Jordanian brigades — would be intended for fast action against insurgency in the pro-Western Persian Gulf states. Israel has said it opposes the creation and arming of such a force because it could be used against her.)

The Israeli sources said Shamir reiterated Israel’s objections to the force’s creation. It was apparent, however, that both sides understood this issue was open and that the future would show whether indeed Israel and pro-Israeli groups in the U.S. would lower the level of their protests. The sources indicated that Israel’s attitude would be shaped by the broader complex of U.S.-Israeli relations and by other regional strategic considerations.

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