Peace Window Opened by Gulf War Only Temporary, Think Tank Says

The window of opportunity for Middle East peace that was opened last year by the Persian Gulf War is only temporary, according to an Israeli think tank.

Researchers at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University said the “open window” might remain so for only another six to 12 months, and every effort should be made by the incoming Israeli government to move toward political solutions, both with the Palestinians and the Arab states.

In their annual, 480-page report on “The Middle East Military Balance — 1990-1991,” the researchers said Israel should also talk with members of the Palestinian diaspora.

The head of the Jaffee Center, reserve Maj. Gen. Aharon Yariv, was tough and circumspect on prospects for peace under the aegis of Labor leader Yitzhak Rabin.

Responding to journalists’ questions, he described Rabin, the probable next prime minister, as a “Labor do-awk — a Labor Party leader part dove and part hawk.”

Asked about possible future dangers from nuclear weapons in the Middle East, Yariv suggested that Israel should abandon its frequently used slogan that it “will not be the first to introduce atomic weapons” into the region.

One or more of the Arab states will have them within the next decade, and the Israeli air force bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981 could not be repeated under present circumstances, he said.

Yariv stressed that there is at present no existential threat to Israel or danger of war in the immediate future. But the risk remains in the long term, he said.

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