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Pro-israel Sentiment Stronger in U.S. Than Ever Before, Eban Says

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Abba S. Eban, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, asserted today that Israel has the right to expect Arab leaders to follow a policy of “leaving us alone,” if they don’t want to conclude peace with the Jewish State.

Addressing the annual convention of the American Association of English-Jewish Newspapers, meeting here at the Park Sheraton Hotel, the Ambassador expressed a sense of pessimism about the prospects of achieving an Arab-Israel peace. “The best we can hope for is steady progress in responsible Arab minds of Israel as an immutable fact,” he stated.

Describing some of the effects of the Sinai operation of last October and the “international debate” which followed over the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula, Mr. Eban said that Israel had found unexpected sources of support and understanding from powers threatened by the policies of President Nasser of Egypt. He also said that Israel’s relations with the United States had been “steered through dangerous tempests into a more tranquil and trustful condition.”

As a result of the Sinai operation and the statement of Israel’s cause in the debate in the United Nations, there was “a degree of trust and affection for Israel throughout America which did not exist before, ” he declared. “Faith in Israel’s permanence and future now flows bountifully throughout this continent among people of all creeds, ” he said.

It was one of the primary responsibilities of the major powers, especially of the United Nations, to help advance Arab acceptance “of our permanence, “Mr. Eban declared. He said that there had been a growing belief among “responsible Arab leaders” of becoming reconciled to the existence of Israel but that this sentiment was shattered by the shipments of Soviet arms to Arab states.

The effect of the weapons in restoring the hope of some Arab leaders in destroying Israel was “perhaps more disastrous” to the chances of a Middle East settlement, he asserted, than the effect of the Soviet weapons in battle. “If there will not be peace, can there at least not be a relationship of leaving us alone, an abstention by our neighbors from active policies of antagonism?” he added.

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