Israel Appeals at U.N. to “peace Loving Nations” Not to Arm Arabs
Menu JTA Search

Israel Appeals at U.N. to “peace Loving Nations” Not to Arm Arabs

Download PDF for this date

Israel Ambassador Abba Eban, addressing the United Nations General Assembly today, appealed “to all peace loving states” not to reward “Arab belligerency” with arms and to refrain from disturbing the military balance on which the Arab-Israel armistice has “precariously” rested for seven years.

“It is indeed hard to comprehend how any government which values its moral position can give or sell arms to governments whose primary international objective is to harass, besiege, intimidate, and if possible destroy a neighboring state with which they refuse to establish peace,” Mr. Eban said. “It certainly cannot be righteous for any power to do that which is wrong for another power to do. Can it be assumed that Israel, or indeed any state in like circumstances, would be content to wait passively while a hostile neighbor, asserting or practicing a state of war, strengthened himself for the decisive blow#” he asked.

Pointing out that he prefers not to rebut the “accusations of dubious title and false content” made by the Egyptian delegate during the general debate at the Assembly, Mr. Eban said that in Israel’s conception, the Middle East is a region in which Arab states and Israel have an unconditional duty to live together in peace side by side.

“It is our further contention that Israel and the Arab states are bound to respect each other’s political independence and territorial integrity,” Mr. Eban continued. “They are bound to maintain the armistice agreements, which define the precise limits of their jurisdiction, and which cannot be changed without mutual consent. The obligation to respect the armistice agreements is, of course, mutual and reciprocal and does not require Israel passively to accept the encroachment of its neighbors. The Arabs are not entitled to exercise, nor is Israel obliged to suffer, a policy of belligerency and blockade which has been ruled inconsistent with the existing agreements,” the Israel representative emphasized.


Reiterating Israel’s desire for peace with the Arab countries, Ambassador Eban told the UN Assembly: “There are no problems outstanding between Israel and the Arab states which would for so much as a few weeks survive a mutual decision to solve them by negotiation. The tragedy of the Middle East lies not only in the Arab refusal to envisage peace and mutual recognition, but, even more acutely, in the painful consciousness of the rich potentiality which lies so close to our common door.

“If we are denied this fair prospect of conciliation; if conflict and controversy are forced upon us we shall deploy ourselves accordingly,” Mr. Eban warned. “Some might say that our efforts to consolidate our statehood and defend our interests during seven years of relentless siege have not been unsuccessful. But the vision which attends us when we enter this hall of peace, is the vision of regional harmony and cooperation. However vigorously our neighbors now reject this prospect, we are convinced that it must finally prevail.

“It was in that spirit that my delegation last year proclaimed from this platform its readiness to fortify the Armistice Agreements by new pledges of non-aggression, and of mutual respect for political independence and territorial integrity. We do not regret that suggestion, we uphold it still. Similarly, Israel’s cooperation is assured for any well-founded effort from outside our region to stabilize its security and to advance its progress.


Referring to proposals for an Arab-Israel peace settlement made last month by United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Israel’s chief delegate told the Assembly that these proposals merit Israel’s “careful and discerning reaction.” He pointed out that while Israel has reservations on some of Mr. Dulles’ points, and see unresolved obscurities on others, it “respects the broad purposes which have inspired this initiative” and is moving in the proper channels toward its further elucidation.

“Recent developments which portend the introduction of new and disturbing factors into our region have created a situation of urgent gravity. Any plan to redress the balance and to strengthen inter-regional security is now of real value only if it is so conceived and formulated as to be capable of very early application,” Mr. Eban emphasized.

Mr. Eban said that countries which manufacture armaments bear a heavy political and moral responsibility and they cannot discharge it by supplying armaments on purely “commercial” criteria without reference to their political influence. “The sale or gift of armaments is of course a sovereign right of nations,” he stated, “but like all rights, it can be used with moral discretion, or abused by lack of judgment. Is it not an elementary duty of the Great Powers to deny armaments to those who proclaim and practice belligerency, and to shun any policy which, on a local level, would defeat the larger purpose of universal disarmament#” he asked. The Israel diplomat recalled an address by V. Molotov, Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, in which he declared that “under present conditions, the termination of the armaments race must be regarded as the primary objective.” It is unfortunate, he said, that a few days later and armaments race was stimulated in the Middle East.

Mr. Eban reported the Israel delegation was inspired by its contact in Geneva with the nuclear scientists of other lands. “In the papers containing Israel’s contributions to applied nuclear research, our physicists helped to prove that the atomic age is not the monopoly of the great continental and imperial powers,” he declared. “All countries which develop a sound scientific tradition may have something to contribute to the new abundance which science has bequeathed to our universal potentiality,” he stated.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund