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Saddam Hussein Must Be Overthrown if There is to Be Peace, Shamir Says

February 14, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir believes one of the allies’ goals in the Persian Gulf war should be the removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power.

If that is not accomplished, Israel and the entire region will face more wars in the future, Shamir warned in an interview published Wednesday in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

He stressed that Israel fully intends to pursue the peace process with its Arab neighbors and the Palestinians in the postwar period.

Shamir also urged the Vatican to extend diplomatic recognition to Israel.

“The pope should clearly express his political attitude toward us. In other words, he should immediately recognize the State of Israel,” the prime minister said.

“We are not running this war, but as interested observers, we say that the crisis cannot be resolved without the removal of the Iraqi dictator. A conclusion that does not envision this would expose us, within a short time, to new attacks,” Shamir maintained.

He said that while Israel is not part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Iraq, it is in close contact with the allies with respect to its position and eventual response to Iraqi missile attacks on Israel.

“When we decide to do our part, we will not act autonomously but in strict coordination with the leaders of the coalition,” the Israeli leader said, adding, “As far as this is concerned, we are in permanent contact with the American authorities.”

Shamir said he did not believe the Gulf war would escalate into a general conflict between “the Judeo-Christian world and the radical Moslem bloc.”

He said the attitude of the Palestine Liberation Organization and other Arab forces that support Saddam Hussein confirm Israel’s view of the PLO. He said he hoped the rest of the world would come to share that view.

The prime minister said that despite the “treacherous and unrestrained aggression” against Israeli civilians by Iraq, with the enthusiastic backing of the Palestinian population, “we have to think about the postwar period.”

“Given that we fervently believe in the eternity of our state and for no reasons on earth are we disposed to give up the aspirations to live one day in peace within secure boundaries, we will seek to exploit the new situation that will be created in order to reach our objective,” Shamir said.

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