Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Kissinger’s Warning to Israel Seen As His Most Basic Threat

July 7, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

In telling Israel it “must take a chance” and gamble its security on what he envisions as United States political purposes, observers here believe Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger has made his most basic threat yet in a public statement to Israel and has openly challenged Congress in an effort to convince the American people on his policy for the Jewish State, observers here noted today.

Kissinger, in an interview televised on ABC-TV last night, urged Israel to “take a chance” on territorial concessions in the effort to reach a second-stage interim agreement with Egypt and indicated that the degree of American support depended on what concessions were made. Admitting that Israel has a difficult choice ahead since “whatever decision they make is going to have problems.” Kissinger said the U.S. sympathizes with Israel’s problems and understands its fear about relinquishing territory.

“But we also feel that they must take a chance on making progress towards peace, because any other approach is going to lead to a war sooner or later which is going to have serious consequences above all for the people of Israel,” Kissinger said “But,” he added, “the United States will stand behind them in conditions in which we can reasonably say to our people that progress is being made.”

Asked about reports that he would meet Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin when both are in Europe this week, Kissinger said this would depend if any further clarification was needed from the U.S.

Kissinger’s remarks, which were taped yesterday morning, came less than 24 hours after a terrorist bomb killed 13 people and injured 73 in Jerusalem. It also came two days after he met with Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz in the Virgin Islands, Kissinger was hot asked about the Jerusalem bombing in the ABC interview. Neither he nor the State Department have commented on it as of today.


Observers saw Kissinger’s remarks as corroborating reports in Jerusalem that the Ford Administration has accepted Egypt’s demands that a second-stage agreement requires an Israeli withdrawal from the Gidi and Mitle passes and the Sinal oil fields. If a second-stage agreement is not reached, Kissinger apparently believes, war will follow — that is the Arabs will attack Israel again.

Kissinger’s remarks coming a day before the Israeli Cabinet was to meet had a triple significance, according to observers. First, it may mean Kissinger feels the Israeli Cabinet will not accede to his views without additional public pressure. Secondly, it means that if the Israelis refuse to accept the Egyptian demands, he and presumably Ford, who control the flow of arms to Israel, will stand aloof when the Arabs try again to destroy Israel. Thirdly, Kissinger will ask the American people to back his policy.

Since the end of the Yom Kippur War, observers here noted, Kissinger has sought to win the friendship of Cairo even if it is at the expense of Israel. Kissinger’s challenge to Congress in speeches and interviews have come since 76 Senators signed a letter to Ford urging continued American support to Israel. Since then, certain media commentators close to White House and State Department policy makers have attacked the Senate, Zionism and “the Jewish lobby.”

Recommended from JTA