JERUSALEM (Jun. 9)
Prime. Minister David Ben-Gurion is studying the Argentine demand for the return of Adolf Eichmann, and sources close to the Prime Minister’s office said today that a negative reply to Argentina was almost certain.
In reference to the Argentine threat to bring the matter to the United Nations, if Israel does not act within a week, political sources said that Israel would be rather interested in having the United Nations discuss the Eichmann case. It was pointed out that a UN hearing would restore perspective to the entire issue surrounding the case, by calling the world’s attention to the enormity of the Nazi crimes against the Jewish people.
It was indicated today that there probably will not be a special meeting of the Israel Cabinet on the Argentine demand. The Government will discuss the question at the regular weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday. No special reason for haste in answering was seen since, in any event, there was still a whole week to determine action, sources close to the Premier’s office said.
The Foreign Ministry declined comment on the demand of the Argentine Government for the return of the Nazi mass murderer. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said only that the text of the Argentine note was received only this morning and immediately transmitted to Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, who is acting Foreign Minister in the absence of Mrs. Golda Meir. She is now touring the United States.
Israelis were reported to feel that the Argentine reaction, however understandable in a normal case, was exaggerated and misdirected in the Eichmann situation. The reaction of shock here also dampened somewhat what was beginning to be a mounting criticism of the manner in which the Prime Minister and the Foreign Ministry had handled the aftermath of Eichmann’s capture. The criticism was directed particularly at the text of the Israel note, and the reference to “volunteers” as having tracked down and seized the Nazi criminal.
ISRAELI PRESS SAYS REPLY TO ARGENTINE MUST BE “NO”
Evening newspapers here carried statements on the Argentine demand headlined “NO!” in large type. Maariv declared that “it is every Jew in Israel who would say Just one word in reply to Argentina–no.” The newspaper added that Eichmann should not be returned to the country where he found a quiet shelter for so long.
“Even if the price for this is high, as it may be, it is not only Israel’s right to try Eichmann but also the obligation given to Israel by the 6, 000, 000 Jews who cannot say anything now,” the newspaper, which has the largest circulation in Israel, stated.
Garcias Arias, Argentina’s Ambassador to Israel, meanwhile was understood to have received instructions to report to Buenos Aires immediately and he was expected to leave tomorrow. He may call at the Israel Foreign Ministry before his departure. The fact that the Ambassador’s wife is remaining in Israel was considered an indication that the Ambassador had not been recalled but only called back to make a report and for consultations.
Israeli experts on international law asserted that Argentina was in error in saying, in its note demanding Eichuana’s return, that Eichrnann was being charges by Israel with genocide and, therefore, he should be tried in the countries where he committed his crimes or before an international tribunal. The experts emphasized that the charges against Eichmann, as stated before Haifa Magistrate Alfred Bach, were crimes against humanity under the taw for punishment of Nazis and their collaborators, which is an Israeli law.
It was also noted that the Israel-Argentine extradition treaty, while signed shortly before Eichmann’s capture, has not yet been ratified by either country. Moreover, Israelis were becoming doubtful that Argentina would have extradited Eichmann. noting that Argentina has not extradited various ex-Nazis whose return has been requested by various countries, including West Germany and Yugoslavia.
It was disclosed meanwhile that when Eichmann was seized he asked to be brought to a West German court for trial. When he was told that the alternatives for him were trials either in Israel or in one of the European countries where he had directed Nazi occupation activities, he reportedly replied he preferred trial in Israel.