JERUSALEM (Nov. 28)
Israel is making a strong effort to develop atomic power, as part of plans to offset the effect of the Arab oil boycott on the nation’s fuel needs, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion said today. He spoke to members of a Congress of French-speaking journalists whom he received at his office.
He expressed the opinion that peace with the Arab countries was not only possible but certain “sooner or later” because it would be to the benefit of both sides. He added that “peace is possible only with Israel as it is,” and that there could be “frontier rectifications only by mutual consent.”
Dealing with the problem of the Arab refugees, the Prime Minister said that when the Arabs are willing to discuss peace, we will not lay down any prior conditions and we will then discuss with them the question of the refugees. At the moment, I am sure that the best solution for both sides is that the Arabs should be resettled in the Arab countries in the same way as we don’t want Jewish refugees to be returned to Arab or European countries.”
He stressed, however, that “we are ready to discuss all questions” with Arab leaders at peace talks. He disputed a suggestion by one of the journalists that it was more difficult for Israel to absorb immigrants from the Oriental than from Western countries asserting there was no fundamental difference between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews
The Prime Minister said that Israel’s main concern, in dealing with frontier incidents such as those which have been occurring on the borders with Jordan and Syria was with world factors. “If we were left alone with the Arabs I am sure that in the long run we would be able to arrive at a settlement. Unfortunately, there has been intervention by factors over which we have no control,” he declared.