STANDOFF IN THE GULF; Israel Warns Against a Gulf Retreat
By SABRA CHARTRAND, Special to The New York Times
Published: December 06, 1990
Israel warned the United States and its Western allies today not to stray from what it views as America's original Persian Gulf goals -- forcing Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait and dismantling President Saddam Hussein's military threat.
Addressing the possibility that American talks with Iraq might lead to a negotiated settlement of the gulf crisis that would leave Iraq's military unharmed, Foreign Minister David Levy warned against "a situation in which all the Western armies will leave the gulf and Saddam Hussein will emerge with certain advantages."
This came just two days after Mr. Levy, Housing Minister Ariel Sharon and Deputy Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iraq should not be allowed to retain its army and weapons intact.
In a meeting on Tuesday night with William A. Brown, the American Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Levy said Israel "expects the U.S. will fulfill all of the goals it set for itself at the beginning of the gulf crisis," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said this evening. Behind Israel's Attitude
"Mr. Levy told Mr. Brown that the original U.S. position was one of the factors which Israel considered in adopting its low profile policy," said the spokesman, Motti Amichai. After Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, the United States asked Israel to keep a low profile so as not to jeopardize Washington's alliance with several Arab nations.
An Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported today that Mr. Levy told Mr. Brown that if the United States failed to confront Iraq militarily, Israel might attack Iraq. Officials at the United States Embassy and at the Foreign Ministry said the newspaper report "went too far."
Still, Mr. Levy said today that Israel might do just that, out of fear that Iraq might use its military power to attack Israel sometime in the future.
"Whoever thinks that if Israel alone has to stand up against this danger, that Israel will continue with a low profile, is making a mistake," Mr. Levy said in an interview on Israeli television.
"In order to defend herself, like in the past, Israel will not call on anyone to fight its war or anyone else's soldiers, but will reply with all its might," he said. A Close Eye on Developments
Since Iraq invaded Kuwait, Israel has struggled without complete success to avoid becoming involved in the gulf crisis, even in public statements, although most Israeli leaders and citizens would like the United States to fight and disarm Iraq.
Today, the Foreign Ministry said Mr. Levy told Mr. Brown that "Israel is very carefully following the latest developments in the gulf and the decision to invite the Iraqi Foreign Minister to Washington." Mr. Brown, in turn, assured Mr. Levy that "the latest U.S. diplomatic moves are not the beginning of negotiations, but are to clarify the U.S. position to Iraq," the Israeli spokesman said.
With occasional lapses, Israeli leaders have refrained from making public statements about the gulf crisis to avoid appearing as if they want the United States to go to war. But on Tuesday Mr. Levy told a visiting group of European diplomats that if Iraq threatened Israel, Israel would adopt "a very high profile."
A senior Israeli military official said at a briefing for foreign journalists today that Israel was concerned that if Iraq retained its military might it might ally itself with Syria in a war against Israel. For now, Syria has joined the Western alliance against Iraq. Forces in Three Wars