UNITED NATIONS, N. Y (Dec. 16)
The United Nations General Assembly this afternoon took up the resolution adopted by the U. N. Special Political Committee urging direct Arab-Israel peace talks. The resolution, originally proposed by eight nations, is favored by Israel and opposed by the Arab countries.
Just before the U.N. Assembly started its meeting, Ambassador Abba Eban, chief of the Israeli delegation, told a press conference that the Israel Government places great hope on the eight-power call for an Arab-Jewish peace settlement, He said that the appeal should not be judged by immediate reactions and he likened it to a seed which having been planted would flourish and bear fruit in time.
No other dispute had come before the United Nations, the Israeli delegate said, in which that organization had not recommended direct negotiations. When asked about the effect of the recent Prague “purge” trial on the negotiations between Israel and the Arab states, Mr. Eban said the trial was most important and caused the deepest concern, but he did not see that it would have any “direct impact” on the Middle East.
The Israeli delegate referred to what had happened in 1948, when the U.N. Security Council called for direct armistice negotiations, as a sign that Arab opposition did not mean that the Arab states would not eventually meet with Israel. The Arabs were no less vehement about the Security Council proposal, but later entered into negotiations for an armistice, he pointed out.
Mr. Eban also spoke of the “vital interests to the Arab states” of a peaceful settlement in Palestine. He noted that Gideon Raphael, an Israeli, had been elected reporter of the Peace Observation Commission unanimously — the Iraqi member not dissenting. This, he said, is a sign that the Arabs were becoming more conciliatory.
Mr. Eban released a communication by Premier David Ben Gurion in which the Premier said in part: “Statements are published on different occasions on the subject of Jerusalem which in the varying circumstances of the context cannot contain a full and exhaustive formulation of Israel’s attitude to all aspects of the Jerusalem problem. Such statements cannot be construed in any way as detracting from, or modifying our basic policy with regard to the Holy Places and religious interests in the Holy Land in whose protection and accessibility Israel is willing to show a cooperative attitude at all times. We are resolved to hold these sacred interests inviolate.”