TEL AVIV (May. 13)
Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared tonight that Israel was not the only country in the Middle East resisting the expansionist ambitions of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian dictator, and said there were other peoples in the area “who are not prepared to accept enslavement by the Cairo ruler, who realize the danger in store for them and seek ways of averting it.” The Premier’s words were the first by a top Israeli voice since the Lebanese storm blew up.
The Israeli leader, addressing 1,200 delegates to the national convention of the Mapai (Labor) Party, of which he is the head, predicted that “there may be developments in the area not exactly according to the will of the Egyptian dictator.”
Mr. Ben Gurion reminded his audience, which all day long had been following news bulletins of the Nasser-inspired uprising against the government of neighboring Lebanon, that the area in which we live is not only an area of Arab peoples, but also includes the Sudan and Ethiopia as well as Iran and Turkey.” He added that “the Egyptian dictator’s ambitious policy and his aims at domination create tension and fear not only among the Arab peoples, but throughout the Moslem world and on the African continent.”
ISRAELIS-FOLLOW CLOSELY LEBANESE DEVELOPMENTS
Israelis followed closely developments in the Lebanon today where the hard-pressed government of President Camille Chamoun told the Western Powers that arms and enemy agents were entering the country by land, sea and air and called on the United States, Great Britain and France to “take up their responsibilities” under the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 because Lebanon had become “the object of attack from abroad.”
Dr. Charles Malik, the Lebanese Foreign Minister, formally accused the United Arab Republic of “massive interference.”
(In Washington State Department officials said that Lebanon could not invoke the Tripartite accord unless the aggression came on the part of Israel. The Eisenhower Doctrine could not be brought into play, it was said, because this doctrine only allows for dispatch of American forces to repel attack by a Communist State or a state controlled by “international Communism.” Secretary of State Dulles has declared that he does not consider the United Arab Republic to be controlled by Communism. The republic’s only recourse, it was said, was to the United Nations Security Council.)
Nasser-backed rebel elements were reported today to have seized control of the northeast section of the Lebanon. In beleaguered Beirut, which was cut off from most other Lebanese centers, loyal troops repelled a mob attack on the United States Embassy. Egyptian agents and arms were reported to have dropped into Lebanon at various points. The Government announced that its gunboats had intercepted and captured three Egyptian vessels carrying guns, ammunition and fedayeen raiders. What appeared to be a full-scale civil war was underway north of the Israel border.
PREMIER DOUBTS ‘NEAR PROSPECTS’ OF PEACE WITH ARAB STATES
In an obvious reference to the situation in the Lebanon and the conflict between the two rival Arab blocs, Mr. Ben Gurion warned that “we shall be making a grave, dangerous mistake if we imagine that the cleavage between the Arab camps works in our favor. Both rival Arab sides receive arms from both the East and the West, “he pointed out, noting that arms from both in the hands of an Arab ruler had one goal–the destruction of Israel.
The Premier was by no means optimistic on the prospects of Arab-Israel peace and said that “if we have the courage to look at the Middle Eastern situation with open eyes, we must doubt whether there are any near prospects of a peace settlement.”
Mr. Ben Gurion said that while Israel’s security situation had improved as a result of the Sinai campaign last year, this improvement was not of a permanent character. He warned that the Arab rulers’ “boycott, blockade and designs for our destruction” will continue, and stressed that “it is our duty to intensify our defensive readiness and not to rely on the weakness of the other side and on its past failures.”