Israel and Syria will be at war “this spring or this summer” according to Joseph Churba, a former senior advisor to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and an advisor to Ronald Reagan when he was a Presidential candidate.
Churba, who presently heads the Center for International Security, made that prediction in an address to 350 delegates attending the national conference of Americans for a Safe Israel here last Sunday, He said the Syrians would be forced into war with Israel by the Soviet Union in order to test the newly installed Soviet weapons systems in Syria, such as the SAM-5 missiles.
According to Churba, “The Soviet Union controls the deployment of the SAMs; they and not the Syrians decide when the button is to be pushed.” Israel’s enemy is Moscow, he said.
Churba contended that since Israel’s Defense Force destroyed Arab military power, Israel is preventing Soviet hegemony in the Middle East and “the United States is having a free ride on Israel in terms of national security and defense. “Churba accused Reagan of saving the PLO in Lebanon and claimed Secretary of State Alexander Haig was fired because he allowed the Israelis to destroy the PLO.
Reagan Administration Middle East policy was denounced by other speakers at the conference. Ehud Olmert, a Herut Knesset member, condemned the introduction of U.S. marines into Beirut, “which to a large degree encouraged the Russians to send the SAM missiles into Syria.” He blamed the U.S. for frustrating Israel’s desire for peace with Lebanon by trying to link the Lebanese negotiations with the negotiations on the West Bank.
Olmert also warned that Israel “may not wait too long” to annex the West Bank, as it did the Golan Heights in 1981 if the Arabs “are not ready to accept us.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.