NEW YORK, DEC. 10 -- Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir tonight warned the world community not to try to solve the Persian Gulf crisis at his country's expense by heeding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's calls for linking his withdrawal from Kuwait to the fate of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
"We will not be surprised if soon a number of states, not only Arab governments, will move to appease Saddam Hussein at the expense of Israel," Shamir said in a speech here on the eve of a White House meeting Tuesday with President Bush.
"The well-known argument will be that Israel should make a contribution, ostensibly for the sake of world peace," Shamir added. "Let me, therefore, state at the very outset: Israel in 1990 is not Czechoslovakia of 1938. We shall not acquiesce to any deal with enemies who wish to destroy us. We trust the American government's determined stand not to permit Saddam Hussein to link the gulf crisis with the Arab-Israel conflict and the Palestinian issue."
In the speech to an organization of Israel's U.S. supporters, Shamir made no proposals for bringing about a dialogue with the Palestinian inhabitants of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. His tough stance toward the Palestinians has caused severe strains in his relations with Bush and Secretary of State James A. Baker III.
In recent weeks, the Israelis have grown increasingly suspicious that the United States is trying to cement ties with Arab partners by backing moves in the U.N. Security Council to censure Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.
Israeli sources said that in talks with Bush and other administration officials, Shamir will seek to explain Israel's concerns and make some proposals about the Palestinians that he hopes will put U.S.-Israeli ties back on a more cordial basis. However, his speech tonight hinted strongly that Shamir is not prepared to bend very much from the attitudes that have caused so much irritation in Washington.
His blunt language appeared to be a new effort to assert the Israeli government's view that recent world-wide speculation about a possible peaceful settlement of the crisis must not be allowed to preempt the commitments that Israel believes the Bush administraion made following Iraq's attack on Kuwait.
What Shamir said here very clearly was that the United States must not sacrifice its ties to the Jewish state in order to preserve its new Arab alliance, and it must not allow pursuit of a peaceful settlement to replace the goal of ending Iraq's ability to pose a military threat to the Middle East.
"We support wholeheartedly the determined position of President Bush on the gulf crisis," Shamir said in a pointed reminder of Bush's vows that Iraqi military power cannot be left intact. "Together with the entire free world, Israel looks to the United States to provide the leadership and resolve that will rid the Middle East of such dangers in the future."
In another hint of the subjects he will raise at the White House, Shamir also spoke of Israel's problems in absorbing the hordes of Soviet Jews who, he said, are arriving at the rate of between 1,000 and 2,000 a day.
"There is now a realistic expectation that we may increase our population by one million in the next three to five years," he said. He said the estimated cost of absorption over that time will be about $40 billion, and while he said that most of the money must come from world Jewry, he is expected to make a pitch to Bush for substantial new U.S. financial help.