Tamir: U.S. Pressure on Israel Will Increase in Months Ahead

Shmuel Tamir, a member of Israel’s Knesset and chairman of the Free Center Party; a faction of Likud, said today that “Israel’s arm is going to be twisted,” by the United States and predicted that American pressure on Israel will increase in months to come.

Tamir made this assessment following a week-long meeting in Washington with top U.S. officials, at a luncheon sponsored by the New York Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. According to Tamir, the mood in Congress is running against Israel, though he said, “Capitol Hill is still friendly to Israel.”

He said that Israel has to “pursue and convince” Congress now for things that were taken for granted in the past. This change in Congress, Tamir noted, is due to the new generation of young Congressmen who do not have ,”the Holocaust guilt feeling” and who take a “rational attitude” toward issues such as the “oil crisis.”

Tamir warned that the new American initiative to end the state of belligerency between Israel and the Arabs–replacing the aim of full peace as the next step for a Mideast solution–will result in “a unilateral Israeli withdrawal in a short time” with no Arab concessions.

The Israeli MK, who is scheduled to return to Israel in two days, said that no official in Washington could explain to him what non-belligerency means. “This is a vague, meaningless term,” Tamir said, adding that giving up the aim of full peace in the Mideast “is the greatest mistake in the last 28 years.” To achieve peace in the Mideast, Tamir said, Israel will have to make territorial concessions. He added, however, that Israelis are as far from peace today as they ever were.