WASHINGTON (Dec. 9)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir indicated Sunday that he believes the United States will not agree to a solution of the Persian Gulf crisis that allows Iraq’s military power to continue to be a threat to Israel and others.
“I don’t think the world can live with such a (military) machine intact,” Shamir said in an appearance on the CBS-TV program “Face the Nation.”
He said there was a “moral commitment” from the United States, as well as “a convergence of interests, that in the Middle East, if we want to have stability, if we want to have peace, Israel must be a part of all this stability.”
This also means that “Israel is not to be exposed to dangers and threats of Iraq,” Shamir added.
The Israeli leader is expected to receive assurances on this position when he meets with President Bush at the White House on Tuesday morning.
But he already has public support for this from Secretary of State James Baker, who was interviewed Sunday on the ABC-TV program “This Week With David Brinkley.”
“We agree that the disproportionate military power of Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction that Iraq possesses must be dealt with in some way,” Baker said.
He said this means that there must be some sort of “security arrangement” at the conclusion of the Persian Gulf crisis.
Shamir made it clear that Israel cannot accept any solution that leaves Saddam Hussein’s war machine intact. “Israel will defend itself when it will be necessary,” he vowed.
“I think the only way to avoid any dangers of war is the strongest possible American position,” the prime minister said. He said U.S. support for Israel “is the most deterring factor” in preventing war.
U.S. WOULD RESPOND TO IRAQI ATTACK
Baker stressed that the United States continues to be committed to Israel’s security. He repeated his statement before congressional committees last week that “if Israel were attacked (by Iraq), there would be an appropriate response from the United States.”
But Baker would not say what this response would be. Neither did Brent Scowcroft, Bush’s national security adviser, who appeared Sunday on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press” program.
Scowcroft said that while an attack on Israel by Iraq would be taken “very seriously,” he could “not say precisely” how the United States would respond.
Baker praised Israel’s position throughout the Gulf crisis. “Israel has adopted a low profile policy throughout this crisis, a position that the United States is very appreciative of,” he said.
Israel’s low profile has allowed the United States to deal with the crisis “in the manner which we think it should be dealt with,” he added.