TEL AVIV (Jun. 30)
“Israel must be willing to go to war against countries which aid terrorism — there is no other way to eradicate it,” Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin said here Sunday night. He spoke at a symposium on the war against terrorism at Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.
The symposium marked the 10th anniversary of Israel’s rescue of hijacked airliner hostages at Entebbe airport in Uganda. According to Rabin, had a bomb intended for an EI AI airliner not detonated prematurely at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport last Thursday but exploded in the air, Israel would have had to consider going to war against Syria.
“If, God forbid a hundred times over, an EI AI airliner is blown up and we discover fingerprints leading to another country, Israel will face a moral dilemma of the highest order — do we go to war? We have to be prepared for these kinds of questions,” Rabin said. He has charged that the person who brought the bomb to Madrid airport travelled to Spain on a Syrian passport, indicating that the Syrian authorities knew who he was and possibly knew his mission.
Rabin charged further that weapons used in last year’s terrorist attack at Leonardo Da Vinci Airport in Rome had been sent in the diplomatic pouches of an Arab country. He acknowledged that there is better cooperation with other countries toward preventing terrorist acts. But “We are at the beginning of the beginning regarding cooperation in the international sphere against terrorism,” he said.
Rabin applauded the American air strike against Libya two months ago but noted the unwillingness of other NATO countries to assist the U.S. He said it was too early to judge the results of the American action. “The American attack was a precedent, but I don’t know if there will be any follow-up,” he said. Other speakers at the symposium included Maj. Gen. Ehud Barak, former head of military intelligence, and the director of the Jaffee Center, Maj. Gen. (res.) Aharon Yariv.