JERUSALEM (Aug. 5)
A ranking Israeli lawmaker with past connections to Mossad issued a thinly veiled warning Sunday of retribution against foreign scientists or technicians working for Iraq, as well as foreign companies.
Likud-Herut Knesset member Eliahu Ben-Elissar warned companies to get out “within days, within hours” or suffer unspecified but serious consequences at the hands of Israel.
He said his warning was aimed specifically at German nationals.
“It is entirely unacceptable that German citizens should be working for Iraq, for money,” Ben-Elissar said in an Israel Radio interview.
“We cannot permit Germans — and others too, but above all Germans — to aid Iraq in building a military machine whose target is principally Israel.”
Although Ben-Elissar, who was Israel’s first ambassador to Egypt, is not a member of the current government, he chairs the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.
He said he was addressing his warning to private German citizens in Iraq’s employ, though he observed that the German government sometimes “looked the other way” when such activities were pursued.
“Let them leave Iraq. Let them sever all connections if they are outside of Iraq — within days or within hours,” he said.
“I am not talking about any (Israeli) military action, and I don’t intend to set out operational targets,” Ben-Elissar declared.
“But Israel has acted in the past and today must do much more,” he added.
Asked to be more specific, Ben-Elissar said, “What I am referring to, I assume that those who ought to understand will understand. That includes the Iraqis.
“That includes the companies which supply that which I am hinting at to Iraq. And that includes the engineers and technicians.”
Ben-Elissar has previously worked as a Mossad operative before he emerged from anonymity in 1977 to become director general of Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s Office.