Eban Reviews Israel-american Relations; Analyzes U.S. Policy on Israel
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Eban Reviews Israel-american Relations; Analyzes U.S. Policy on Israel

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“Arab and Israeli diplomacy have been in error when ever they have hoped–or feared–that American policy would make a drastic, single-minded choice in which either Arab nationalism or Israel’s vital interests would be expelled from American concern in favor of the rival cause,” Ambassador Abba Eban declares in an article analyzing Israel-American relations.

Mr. Eban emphasizes that “the knowledge that the United States has committed itself explicitly and constantly to oppose aggression is a factor of potency in the balance of Israel’s security.” He says that “the rich fruits garnered by Israel in her relations with the United States attract less attention, and far less writing, than the occasional sour grape of discord,” and he enumerates many facts proving constant interest on Israel on the part of the U.S. Government.

“The United States, like Israel, has been thwarted in all the efforts which it has made to promote the acceptance of Israel by the Arab nations,” Mr. Eban writes in the Jewish Observer and Middle East Review. “American efforts at mediation have been tried and failed; and the main forum for the peace discussion has been the United Nations. Here the views of Israel and the United States have tended to converge towards each other, never meeting in complete identity, but showing an ever greater proximity. The United States was among the first supporters of the 1947 Resolution to escape from its dogmatic confinement. She opposed the internationalism of Jerusalem in 1950 and thereafter. In 1954 and 1955 her representatives frankly asserted that the Arab refugees must find their homes mainly in Arab countries.

“The official American position on the territorial problem has refrained from suggesting substantive or unilateral concessions, or from harking back to 1947 as a point of reference for the territorial discussion,” Mr. Eban continues. “The Israel with which the United States has woven an intricate fabric of relationship is, essentially, the Israel of the armistice agreements, resting on the established situation of fact and law. There is a deep scepticism about the prospect, or desirability, of any significant change in this position.


“The end of the first decade found the United States resisting proposals from Arab governments, and at times from Baghdad Pact countries, for disturbing the status quo at Israel’s expense. Any list of the issues which have joined us in partnership must certainly include the pioneer role of the United States in the enunciation and implementation of the doctrine of free and innocent passage in the Gulf of Akaba.

“It is clear, then, that there have been elements of constancy in the American attitude towards Israel, and that these have touched the vital points of our sovereignty, integrity and maritime freedom. And the relationship between governments has been enriched by strong impulses of public sentiment.

“The tide of sympathy for Israel’s cause, of reverence for her past and faith in her future, flows bountifully across this continent and touches men of every creed,” Ambassador Eban points out. “The accessibility of the vast television and radio media has enabled the saga of Israel’s rebirth to be carried into millions of American homes. The Congress has given faithful expression to this public mood and its support of us in triumph and adversity has been constant and sometimes decisive.

“Sympathy with Israel’s cause is not a parochially Jewish impulse, nor is it restricted to a few of the populous and sophisticated urban centres: in the undeveloped expanses of Texas and Arizona I have been moved and surprised by a perceptive understanding of Israel’s pioneering repute and of her gallant struggle with the wilderness.”


Touching upon American aid to Israel, Ambassador Eban states: “The American aid programs have poured new strength into all the arteries of Israel’s material organism. What is called American economic aid to Israel is, in fact, one of the most decisive of all American interventions in the political life of the Middle East. It is both a testimony of faith in Israel’s stability, and a means of putting that stability beyond challenge by others.

“In the long negotiations on these programs, I have always felt that their political value transcended their admitted economic advantage. Here was a great Power not merely living with us in the formal relationships of diplomacy–but actually taking off its coat, rolling up its sleeves, and going down with us into field and factory, to create and establish the physical fabric of our statehood. It is absurd to imagine that such a policy could have been pursued for eight constant years unless it reflected an overriding aim to help make Israel strong and free.”

Mr. Eban concludes his analysis by declaring: “Beyond security, America–and she alone–can accelerate Israel’s progress towards a vigor of economy and culture which is more likely than anything else to reconcile the Arab world to our existence. She alone can continue to mobilize resistance against diplomatic attempts to undermine the hard-won stability of the past eight years. And it is in the United States that Israel will find the main bulwarks of her Jewish solidarity and her public support.”

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