Drift's nisi NEWS
Friday!Aigiist 6,' 982 33
Argentine 'Even-Handedness' Affects Relations With Israel
By SHELDON KIRSHNER
Atlantic broke out.)
BUENOS AIRES (JTA)
— At the United Nations,
Argentina's position on
Arab-Israeli issues is prac-
tically a foregone conclu-
sion. Studied neutrality is
(Editor's note: Sheldon
Kirshner, a reporter with
the Canadian Jewish
News of Toronto, visited
Argentina last May be-
fore the war in the South
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force of Argen-
and the assessment that it is a
tine foreign policy, not- spent force.
withstanding its obvious
notwithstanding, Israel and
neither Israel nor the Arab Argentina have cordial
states are particularly bilateral relations. Israel's
pleased by its stance.
main supplier of meat,
even- Argentina also sells Israel
handedness has been the cereal products and leather
leitmotif of Argentina's pol- goods. Israel exports elec-
icy for many years. Mem- tronic and medical equip-
bership in the non-aligned ment, textiles, chemicals —
movement underlines its and weaponry.
propensity for neutrality.
Although Israeli trade
In Latin America, Buenos with Argentina is not sig-
Aires has one of the most nificant, Argentina is one of
independent foreign Israel's best customers for
policies, despite the fervent military equipment. In the
anti-Communism of its late 1970s, when the U.S.
leaders. And this tendency imposed an arms embargo
to play both sides of the against the junta, Israel
fence is clearly reflected in stepped in and sold the gen-
Argentina's position vis-a- erals an estimated 26 Dag-
vis the Arab-Israeli conflict ger jets (a modified version
at the UN. of the Mirage), four Dabur
In 1947, Argentina patrol boats, Gabriel ship-
abstained on the Pales- to-ship missiles and- Shafrir
tine partition plan. Yet air-to-air missiles.
the Argentines quickly
"Argentina was looking
recognized Israel and for suppliers, President
opened an embassy in Tel Carter slapped the embargo
on us," explained a busi-
Immediately after the nessman well versed in the
Six-Day War, Argentina field. "Israel had always
opposed Arab and Soviet ef- tried to penetrate the
forts to force Israel from the Argentine market, and the
occupied territories. Yet the government gave it a
Argentines favor resolution chance." Israeli sources in
242, which calls for the Buenos Aires are loath to
withdrawal of Israeli forces discuss the matter.
from the administered ter-
is satisfied with Israeli
Argentina did not support equipment. "I've heard.
Israel's annexation of the many officers say beauti
Golan Heights, but it was ful things about Israel,"
against a related motion one authoritative source
endorsing voluntary sanc- said. "The pilots are im-
tions against Israel.
pressed with the Dagger,
which and they have admira-
abstained on the 1975 reso- tion for Israeli flyers."
lution equating Zionism
Despite such sentiment,
with racism, does not recog- Israel has to work hard to
nize the PLO. But Argen- maintain its fairly positive
tina, one high-level Foreign image in Argentina. "There
Ministry spokesman told is not general or automatic
me, regards the PLO as the approval of our policies," an
legitimate representative of Israeli source said.
the Palestinians. Argentina
Israel has friends in
has not expressed an opin- Argentina, but enemies as
ion on the merits of a Pales- well. Argentina, is home to
tinian state, he said, but it one or two million Arabs,
thinks the Palestinians are mainly of Lebanese Chris-
self- tian descent. And while
they are not as volubly
The Palestinian prob- committed to the Arab
lem, he added, consti- cause as Jews are to Israel,
tutes the core of the they remain a reservoir of
Arab-Israeli dispute. "If anti-Israel sentiment. In
you solve it, you solve ev- the armed forces, officers
erything." He went on to who received combat train-
say that Argentina fully ing in Nazi Germany are re-
supports the Camp David solutely anti-Israel.
process as "the only
Some politicians, notably
game in town" at the pre- on the extreme left and
sent. He digagreed with right, have no love for Is-
rael. The landed gentry, and
Argentina, which is self-
the sufficient in oil, has good re-
lations with the Arab world.
don't like Israel. Sectors of "We don't have a very big
the ethnic German commu- trade with the Arabs, but
nity are anti-Semitic and we're trying to improve it,"
anti-Zionist. said an Argentina diplomat.
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