INTERVIEW WITH PRIME MINISTER YITZHAK RABIN

NBC "TODAY"

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 1994

Q: Before we get into the peace process itself, let me ask you about the disturbing reports that are coming out of West London this morning about a bomb going off near the Israeli embassy. That comes on the heels of 95 people being killed at a Jewish center in Buenos Aires last week. Does this mean that terrorist organizations are going to be fighting this peace every step of the way?

PM RABIN: There is no doubt in my mind that we face a wave of extreme Islamic radical terrorist movements in the Arab Muslim countries. They have infrastructure all over the world in the United States, in Europe, in Latin America, in addition to the continuous terror activities that carried by them from Lebanon by the Hizbullah, the radical Islamic group linked to Iran, by the HAMAS and the Islamic Jihad among the Palestinians.

They continue a struggle of terror to kill Israelis, to fight against moderate Arab regimes, and to do everything to undermine any possibility to continue with the peace process to bring about a comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries and the Palestinians.

Q: What, if anything, can be done to stave off these terrorist attacks?

PM RABIN: I believe that unless the world will wake up and realize the tremendous danger not only to Israel, not only to the peace between the Arab countries and peoples and Israel, but also the danger for moderate Arab regimes and Muslim regimes and no doubt to try to threaten European, American, Latin American countries by the mere fact of their proving that they have got a capability to carry out terror activities, whether it be against Israeli embassies, whether it be against Jewish institutions I don’t know where will it end.

Q: At locations such as Israeli embassies and Jewish centers, will security be beefed up considerably in light of these incidents?

PM RABIN: No doubt. I believe what happened in London, the fact that there are no real serious damage or casualties, is because of the security precautions, that were taken by the British government and with the assistance of Israelis. But allow me to remind you, it happened also in the United States when a bomb blew up in the Twin Towers in New York. You can never know what will be the next target of these terrible extreme terror movements, that I would call it Khomeinism without Khomeini.

Q: You seemed somewhat tenuous, somewhat hesitant in terms of shaking Mr. Arafat’s hand last September. How did this meeting with King Hussein differ for you personally?

PM RABIN: I believe that it is my responsibility as the prime minister of Israel to do whatever can be done to exploit the unique opportunities that lie ahead of us to move towards peace. Not everything can be done by one act. With the Palestinians, the PLO, we signed an agreement which cannot be called a peace treaty. It’s an agreement that leads in two phases to the permanent solution of the 100 years’ bloodshed struggles between the Palestinians and us.

With Jordan, it is a new phase. It’s easier to us to deal with Jordan. Jordan is a state, a moderate state. Their system of government there is a king that leads his people, and therefore it was much easier to make a deal with a state that we believe wants peace.

Q: Mr. Rabin, there seems to be one stumbling block left in an overall Mideast peace, and that is Syria. Do you believe this agreement with Jordan will be a precursor to some kind of normalized relations with Syria?

PM RABIN: Well, it’s very difficult to be a prophet, what will happen in the region. I believe that what we have to do I, as the Prime Minister of Israel, the government of Israel is to move wherever and whenever it is possible to make a major step towards peace. The comprehensive peace must be built by bilateral peace treaties, peace agreements between the four Arab partners with whom we started the Madrid peace conference. I believe that the more the Syrians will realize that the other Arab partners are moving towards peace, they will join. This is my hope.