• Short Summary

    INTRODUCTION: Israeli officials described the latest suspension of United States arms supplies as a worrying development in Washington's Middle East policy.

  • Description

    CU Arens speaking in English to camera.

    SPEECH (TRANSCRIPT) SEQ. 1: ARENS: "I'm sorry and disappointed like all Israelis. I'm in a somewhat peculiar position because you know, some years ago, when the purchase of F.15s was discussed in Israel I was against the acquisition of F.15 Aircraft for the Israeli Air Force, and I thought that we should have at that time already launched the next generation Israeli fighter, - which could have done the job of the F.15. And while arguments advanced at the time for the acquisition of the F.15 was that there had never been a case when the United States, after a contract had been signed for the supply of aircraft or other weapons systems, where the United States government had reneged on that commitment. And so, there was no need to be concerned about a high degree of dependancy on an airplane which was very important for our Air Force. Well, unfortunately it's turned out to be not very true in this case, and I don't think that the United States Government is reneging on the contract, but certainly they're holding back on the supply, which is really not very much different. And I think that probably from now on that Israel's weapons acquisition policy when it comes to airplanes, what we should develop here, and what we should buy abroad. I think will probably change. As regards the particular decision that's been taken at the present time I understand the basis for it is Israel's action in the Lebanon. Then I can understand that the United States Government maybe feels that it's not been consulted as it would have wanted to be. The United States Government feels that they would not have supported the kind of action Israel's taken, if they have been consulted. I understand that and I'm certainly all for consultations and keeping the lines of communication open, and making sure that we co-ordinate our efforts. But I think that Israel's policy in the Lebanon has been a policy that is not only in Israel's best interest but also in America's best interest. If we're dealing with the Syrians, the Syrians are backed by the Soviets, the Syrians are trying to take over Lebanon. If they do, Lebanon will become in effect a protectorate of Syria, which is under Russian influence. The PLO is Soviet supported and both these groups -- the PLO and the Syrian Army are doing what they're doing in Lebanon on the backs of the civilian population. This is something that Israeli's fighting against."

    Initials JS

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: INTRODUCTION: Israeli officials described the latest suspension of United States arms supplies as a worrying development in Washington's Middle East policy. The former Chairman of the Knesset (Parliament) Defence and Security Committee, Mr. Moshe Arens, said on Tuesday (11 August) the decision by the United States could lead Israel to reconsider its purchasing policy on foreign arms. Mr. Arens was commenting on the Reagan Administration's decision to suspend delivery of six more fighter bombers in addition to ten already held back.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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