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Dayan: War Not Imminent but Cannot Exclude Possibility of New Conflict

November 6, 1974
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Former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said last night that he does not think “war is coming soon” to the Mideast, but at the same time he said that the “possibility” that war will break out could not be ruled out. Speaking to an overflow audience of New York University students and staff members at NYU’s Loeb Student Center, Dayan warned that the Arabs’ new economic and political might made them feel stronger than ever before and thus not willing to accept Israel’s existence.

Declaring that he was less optimistic now than he was immediately after the Yom Kippur War, Dayan said that the Arabs do not talk any more about peace and even Egypt refuses to accept non-belligerency with Israel. “The root of the problem is that the Arabs do not want to recognize us. They still hope that one day they will manage to get rid of us,” he said.

SOVIET INVOLVEMENT IN MIDEAST

Referring to the U.S. and Soviet Union involvement in the Mideast. Dayan contended that “Russia is in a much stronger position in the Mideast than is the U.S.” According to Dayan, there are now thousands of Soviet experts and soldiers in Arab countries: 3000 in Syria; 1000 in Iraq; and a few hundred in Egypt. “The question is: Is the U.S. ready to confront the Soviets in the Mideast?” Dayan asked. Israel, he said, “can take care of the Arabs” but she is not capable of confronting Russia. “Only the U.S. is capable of keeping Russia out of the Mideast,” Dayan said, adding that Israel does not want American boys to fight for her.

Dayan pointed out that while the Arabs get limitless quantities of arms from the Soviet Union, the United States does not give Israel the sophisticated arms it needs. He called on the U.S. government to provide Israel with arms despite Arab oil pressures. Answering a question as to what Israel would do in case of American pressure, Dayan said; “We cannot stand much pressure. You (the U.S.) can bring us to our knee. But I do not think it will happen.” Dayan reiterated his-position that there is no room for a Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan. He said that the Palestinians can join the Geneva conference with the Jordanian delegation.

While Dayan was speaking, more than 150 Arab and pro-Arab students–among them Jewish students–demonstrated outside, calling for the dismantling of Israel and the establishment of Palestine. Tight security measures were taken and uniformed policemen and security men were present in force.

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