Ben Gurion Tells Israeli State Council Withdrawal from Negev Positions “impossible”

Premier David Ben Gurion today told the Israeli State Council that U.N. representative Aubrey Eban’s statement to the U.N. that Israel will not withdraw from its newly won positions in the Negev is "authoritative." It is "impossible" to revert to the former positions held by Israeli, he added.

He pointed out that it was the U.N.’s responsibility to open the Negev road to the Jewish settlements but that it did nothing about it. "Therefore," he stated, "our forces advanced." Describing the week’s fighting as between "a small part of our forces against the full strength of the biggest Arab country," the Premier said the struggle was not over, and that it might break out again. Declaring that the Jews hope that this was the last fight with the Egyptians, he said that nevertheless the Jews were on the alert for future Arab truce violations.

He listed three reasons why the Negev battle was a most important engagement for the Jews: it was a test of the U.N.’s competence; it affected the balance of power in the Middle East; and, it deeply affected the future of Israel. "The ability of the U.N. to implement its decisions, the efficiency of the Arab League, the fighting ability of the Egyptian forces, and the ability of the Israeli troops–all these were tested in the Negev battle and all failed, except the last," he declared.

Reiterating the Jewish position that indefinite continuation of the truce places a premium on invasion, Ben Gurion said that the Israelis had accepted the U.N. truce relying on the cooperation of the U.N. and that if that body collapses "it will be the blackest day for the world and a tragedy for us." He concluded by pointing out that the Israelis are firmly in favor of world peace and settling international disputes by peaceful means and that it favored East-West cooperation, but that "we shall never accept a one-sided truce."

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