LONDON (Dec. 15)
President Chaim Herzog of Israel charged here Tuesday that the wave of violence in the Gaza Strip is due to the spread of Moslem fundamentalism, financed by Saudi Arabia and other countries.
It is a comparatively new situation with strong overtones of the conflict between the Islamic Jihad (holy war) and the left-wing Arab nationalists, Herzog told a news conference on the sixth day of his week-long visit to Britain.
He maintained that in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the current unrest is a series of isolated, mostly unconnected events reflecting an internecine struggle between rival Arab elements.
Herzog, a former Israel Defense Force chief of intelligence and one-time military governor of the West Bank, said the troubles there stem basically from the conflict between supporters of Jordan’s King Hussein and supporters of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
He said the British news media were giving a simplistic view of events in the territories by failing to mention these distinctions and ignoring the fact that about 100,000 Arab workers from the territories commute to jobs in Israel every day.
Herzog declined to comment on the issue of an international conference for Middle East peace, which has divided Israel’s coalition government. But he was hopeful there would be some movement toward peace in the region next year.
The Israeli chief of state, accompanied by his wife, Aura, came to Britain to inaugurate the Jewish community’s festivities marking the 40th year of Israel’s independence.
He and his wife were to have tea with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace Tuesday afternoon. They are to lunch with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at No. 10 Downing Street Wednesday before returning to Israel.