TEL AVIV (May. 15)
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin and northern area commander Lt. Gen. Uri Orr said Thursday there was no evidence that Syria intended attacking Israel at present, though both stressed that a potential for an escalation existed.
Rabin told the Labor Party convention in Tel Aviv that Damascus had been implicated in terrorist attacks in London, Vienna, Rome and possibly in the West Berlin nightclub attack as well. The abortive attack on an EI AI plane in London resulted from intelligence planning in Damascus, he said.
Israel has no wish to attack Syria, Rabin said, as Israel knows the terrible cost of war. “Our supreme aim as regards Syria is maximum awareness and preparedness, not to escalate but to prevent a clash,” he stressed.
“Today, Syria represents the only potential and I stress potential and not more than that — of being the only country (that could) make a mistake–I believe and hope it will not happen–of any sort of military confrontation,” Rabin said. he said that since January, Israel had noted increased Syrian preparations in Lebanon, but not more than before June 1982.
Northern area commander Orr told Galilee residents during a visit to the area hit by Katyusha rockets just before Independence Day that there were no signs at present of any immediate Syrian war preparations. He said that tank and gun positions prepared by the Syrians for the defense of Damascus were not manned at present.