• Short Summary

    The Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Begin, has condemned the decision by the United States Senate?

  • Description

    SCU: Prime Minister Menachem begin speaking.

    GV: Mr. Begin leaving.

    SCU: Shimon Peres speaking.

    BEGIN: "The approval by the Senate of the proposal by the American government to supply to Saudi Arabia and to Egypt the modern planes together with the supply of F-sixteens and a number of F-fifteens to Israel is deeply regretted by the government of Israel. We objected to the (INDISTINCT) because the commitment to given to Israel in September 1975 was an absolute one and unconditional and there was no justification whatsoever to connect it with any supply to countries which are in a state of war with Israel."

    PERES: "It is a deep change in the military situation in the Middle East and a worrying change in the relations between the United States and Israel. I think that both Israel and Saudi Arabia could have felt that no one of these countries represents a danger to the other country. We have obviously never had any hostile intention to Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia was neither equipped nor deployed in a way which would possess a danger to Israel. By supplying the Saudi Arabians with the most modern piece of equipment, namely long range bombers that may endanger our cities and our installations and our people, I believe them unnecessary and unwelcome change to be introduced in the situation in the Middle-East."

    The Prime Minister, Mr. Begin, said the Israeli cabinet would decide what steps to take at its next meeting on Sunday (21 May). He refused to say what steps those might be. But Professor Moshe Arena, chairman of the influential Knesset (Parliamentary) Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, said Israel should strive to build advanced warplanes for itself. Reuters news agency quotes some government officials as saying privately that the aircraft sales would strengthen the hand of those who opposed territorial concessions in return for international guarantees. But Mr. Begin said the sales would not prevent Israel from seeking a peace settlement. The United States Senate approved a package deal to sell 15 advanced F-15 and 60 F-16 fighter-bombers to Israel, 60 F-15's to Saudi Arabia and fifty of the less sophisticated F-5's to Egypt.

    Initials JS/1010


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Begin, has condemned the decision by the United States Senate to go ahead with sales of warplanes to Arab nations. Speaking in Jerusalem on Tuesday (16 May), Mr. begin said that the sale of F-15 Eagle aircraft to Saudi Arabia, and F-5 aircraft to Egypt, threatened Israel's national security.

    SYNOPSIS: The leader of the opposition, Mr. Shimon Peres, also criticised the aircraft sale.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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