Eden Reiterates His Call to Arabs and Israel for a Compromise

British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden, facing questioners in the House of Commons today, reiterated his call to Israel and the Arab states to come to a compromise over the border situation. Unless the parties concerned show a willingness to move from positions which they have held for the past six years there is no hope of a settlement in the Middle East, Sir Anthony insisted.

(Addressing the Knesset in Jerusalem today, Israel Premier David Ben Gurion rejected Prime Minister Eden’s “compromise” suggestion. The Ben Gurion address was approved by the Cabinet at a special meeting today and its contents were made known to the British Ambassador in advance of its delivery.)

Replying to Arthur Henderson and other Laborites, Sir Anthony said that the value of a United Nations-sponsored conference between Israel and Egypt would have no likelihood of success unless the parties were first agreed upon the necessity for making some sacrifice in the interests of a peace settlement. To attempts by the several Laborites to pin him to some statement of his views of how much or how little he thought Israel should give up in the interests of a statement, the Prime Minister replied that he had not previously and would not now make any attempt to set forth such views.

Explaining his speech of last week, in which he offered his services as a mediator and called for a compromise by both parties, Sir Anthony said he felt the “time had come for some one to say quite bluntly that unless we attempted to move from two positions rigidly taken for so many years, there could never be a settlement.” He stressed that he was not pressing one side or the other to make a compromise, but for both sides to move away from their frozen positions.

At another point in the debate, the Prime Minister stressed that “if there are going to be discussions about boundaries there must be acceptance on both sides of the existence of states which would have those boundaries.” If this could be achieved, he continued, one of the major obstacles in the path of a settlement would have been overcome.

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