UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 21)
Turning the tables on the Soviet Union whose Foreign Minister, Andre Gromyko, earlier accused Israel of being in some sort of “mysterious” deal with Britain and the United States in regard to invasion of Jordan, Israel Ambassador Abba Eban last night not only Knocked down that accusation as corridor gossip but used the opportunity to make an offer to enter natural non-aggression pacts with Arab states “here and now.” Mr. Eban told the Assembly:
“The Foreign Minister of the USSR has referred to talk in the lobbies about Israel’s policy. The policy of the Government of Israel on the Integrity and Independence of all the states of the Middle East has been set out In numerous statements, including that which I am now concluding. Speculations or conjectures made by other parties or by organs of the press cannot commit us in any way.”
“The only way to understand the policy of the Israel Government is to read what the government of Israel says. Our policy as I have just explained has been and is based on mutual respect of all Middle East states for the Independence and integrity of each other; on the need to defend and guarantee the territorial integrity and political independence of states; on the strict observance and integral implementation of existing agreements on a basis of reciprocity.”
“This is our policy. It has been stated by the Prime Minister, explained by the Foreign Minister, and expounded by me today. The agenda does contain a complaint by Jordan about a threat to her Independence and integrity. That complaint is not against us. Indeed there is no change in our policy to conclude here and now mutual non-aggression pacts. So no body who wants to find out what Israel’s policy Is needs to go into the anterooms, corridors or lobbies.”
“The question at issue is not Israel’s policy toward her neighbors. The question is what their policy is toward us. Respect for our sovereignty independence and integrity? Abstention from any intention to use force or threat of force against Israel’s independence and integrity? Strict observance of existing agreements? Cooperation for the welfare of our region? Is this their policy? Anyone who could clarify these questions from this rostrum would render a great service to the Middle East and the United Nations.”
There was loud prolonged applause from crowded visitors galleries as well as from many delegations when Mr. Eban concluded his address. On all sides, even among most hardened observers here, his address as a whole was declared “marvelous” and “masterful.” All awaited particularly his answer to Mr. Gromyko. When that response finally came. It was considered an excellent positional statement in Itself, particularly because instead of being merely a denial of slander it became a statement of positive policy.
CUBAN DELEGATE SHARPLY ATTACKS SOVIET ATTITUDE AGAINST ISRAEL
The sharpest pro-Israel counter-attack against the Soviet Union heard here in a long time, and an attack against domestic anti-Semitism practiced Inside the USSR, was made by Cuba’s delegation chief, Dr. Emillo Nunez Portuondo, who followed Mr. Eban.
Dr. Portuondo opened his defense of Israel by accusing the Soviet Union of trying “to confuse international public opinion” and of “rewriting history” through insistence “that the partition of Palestine was carried out solely by the West.” Reminding the Assembly that back in a 1947, when the UN approved the partition plan for Palestine, the entire Soviet block voted for that plan, Dr. Portuondo admitted candidly that his country had been, at that time opposed to partition.
“However,” he continued, “contrary to the practice of the Soviet Union, Cuba accepted the verdict of the great majority. We recognized the State of Israel, and we maintain cordage diplomatic relations with it, as well as with the Arab states.”
Launching into the USSR racial practices, Dr. Portuondo accused the Soviet Union of “persecuting” Jews Inside its country “like wild beasts.” Jews inside the USSR, he said, “are harassed; their cultural media are destroyed; and they are prevented from professing their faith, as stated recently in an important document by the leading figures in Jewish life.