Listen To this, Jonathan

Baltimore Jewish Times - Editorial - October 4, 1991

Is anyone surprised that Iraq has attempted to excuse its detention of United Nations inspectors probing her nuclear weapons program by dragging in Israel?

In the Arab world, blaming Israel is always worth a few political points. So Iraq claimed that its action against the U.N. inspectors stemmed from concern that the information they uncovered would be "automatically" passed along by the CIA to Israeli intelligence, thereby putting Iraqi nuclear program officials and their foreign suppliers at risk. In only it were true.

The Jonathan Pollard spy case has already established that, no matter how close the cooperation between the United States and Israel, Washington often withholds important information from Jerusalem.

Mr. Pollard, the ex-Navy intelligence officer, broke the law when he provided Israel with classified data about Arab military secrets. But he received a life sentence (now on appeal) only because then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger wanted to keep the information from Israel.

Given the current tension between President Bush and Prime Minister Shamir over the whole question of settlements, U.S. loan guarantees and the Middle East peace process, the likelihood is even greater today that the White House will withhold information from Israel.

And make no mistake about it: Iraq is still a threat to Israel. A desperate Saddam will again try and draw Israeli blood if he stupidly precipitates further military action against Iraq.

Iraq's inept attempt to wring political points from its attempt to stonewall the U.N. inspectors is laughable. But we bet Mr. Pollard finds it hard to smile about this one.

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