PHILADELPHIA (Sep. 11)
Global detente is “taking place everywhere in the world except in our region,” according to Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s deputy foreign minister and its former ambassador to the United Nations.
The combined Arab forces facing Israel today are “greater than NATO or the Warsaw Pact nations,” Netanyahu told an audience of 350 Jewish leaders from the United States and Canada here Saturday night.
They were attending the 1989 North American Leadership Conference of State of Israel Bonds Organization, which opened Thursday at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel and concluded Sunday.
Less than 50 miles separate Israel from its enemies, therefore Israel has “no margin for error,” Netanyahu told the Bonds leaders.
“Israel’s No. 1 problem is its survival and not the territories,” he said, referring to the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “The territories are of concern to Israel as a national minorities problem” that will eventually be solved, Netanyahu said.
SENATOR SPEAKS OUT ON PLO TALKS
Speaking at an earlier session, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) called support for Israel “very, very strong in the U.S. Senate.” He urged an end to U.S. talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization “if there is no real progress.”
Richard Perle, an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, told a special conference session that the strengthening of American armed might has improved Israel’s security.
With Israel dependent on the United States for maintaining military balance in the region, Israel is more secure at the end of this decade than at any time since the state was established, Perle said.
Stuart Eizenstat, former special assistant to President Jimmy Carter, said Israel is benefiting from “a more benign external environment” than at any time in the past 40 years.
He suggested that the threats to its growth and stability come from within, such as its economic problems.
Meir Rosenne, president and chief executive officer of the Israel Bonds Organization, opened the conference Thursday on an upbeat note.
Rosenne, who was Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 1983-1987, reported that bond sales reached almost $400 million in the first eight months of this year, a 7 percent increase over sales in the same period of 1988.