JERUSALEM — Israeli officials today welcomed Washington's invitation to retaliate against the perpetrators of last week's airport attacks and said it should also "go after" nations that shelter terrorists.
"We welcome (White House spokesman) Larry Speakes' reaction because it indicates a very strong stand by the United States against international terror," Foreign Ministry spokesman Avi Pazner said.
"As far as Israel is concerned, we will choose the time, the target and the means to pursue our own struggle against these criminal activities," he said.
Speakes, accompanying President Reagan on his New Year's vacation in Palm Springs, said Monday that the United States "would certainly favor retaliation" for the attacks Friday that left 18 people dead and more than 100 injured at the Rome and Vienna airports.
Many Options Seen
"The military is one of many (options) we can consider," Speakes said. "We certainly favor retaliation against terrorists when you can identify them--have at 'em, go at 'em."
Reagan had earlier urged Israel to use restraint for fear of damaging the Middle East peace progress.
Benyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, forecast a rise in terrorism and said the battle against it must not be held back by respect for the territorial integrity of nations.
"We are now entering the period of increased terrorism and increased effort in the West, led by the United States, to create a Western front," he said in remarks to reporters in Jerusalem.
No 'Absolute . . . Sovereignty'
The West should "go after their bases and commanders," he said. "You should not be confused by an absolute concept of sovereignty.
"The other part of the battle is going after the states that shelter and harbor and give terrorists indispensable support."
He said terrorism "depends entirely on weapons, money, embassies, diplomatic pouches, intelligence and political support. Without these governments, none of these terrorist organizations are worth a damn."
Prime Minister Shimon Peres vowed Monday never to "give in" to terrorism, and Israeli radio said there is support in Parliament for reprisals for the twin airport attacks.