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Israel Faces Greater Threats Than Uprising, Rabin Asserts

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Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, reporting on his trip this week to Washington, reminded American Jewish leaders Thursday that the Palestinian uprising is not the only security threat, nor even the largest, facing Israel.

In fact, he listed the uprising last among three choices, after the military build-up being undertaken by surrounding Arab countries and the continued terrorist threat from Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

Rabin spoke at a breakfast meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at the Regency Hotel.

Focusing on the broader military picture is a familiar tack for the defense minister, who since the beginning of the uprising has said it is less a military than a political crisis, demanding political solutions.

“There can be no policy that stands on one foot alone,” he said Thursday. Military and political solutions “have to complement one another.”

To that end, Rabin praised his government for approving a new peace initiative and said it made it “easier to meet” with U.S. officials to discuss Israel’s overall security needs.

As a result of Israel’s coming forward with an “overall policy of how to cope” with the uprising, “I found that when it comes to Israel’s military needs, there is great understanding,” he said.

The defense minister said he foresees “no problems” when it comes to the United States maintaining its economic and military assistance of Israel through the next fiscal year and the following one, beginning in October 1990.

But Rabin warned that neighboring Arab countries, except Egypt, have spent some $40 billion to $60 billion on sophisticated weapons and deployment of troops. Iraq and Syria have advanced chemical warfare capabilities and “the means of delivering it,” he said.

As he has all week, Rabin refrained from criticizing Secretary of State James Baker’s hard-hitting speech before pro-Israel lobbyists Monday.

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