UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Oct. 10)
Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, today challenged President Gamal Abdel Nasser of the United Arab Republic to “meet and negotiate” with Israel on peace “or at least an agreement on non-aggression.”
“On behalf of my Prime Minister,” she affirmed. “I say he is prepared for such a meeting without any pre-conditions, here or at any other place proposed to him.”
Delivering her foreign policy address before the plenary session of the General Assembly, Mrs. Meir included in her offer of peace talks not only the President of the UAR but also King Hussein of Jordan and the Prime Minister of Lebanon, both of whom had addressed the Assembly earlier. On behalf of Israel, she also:
1. Endorsed Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s actions in the Congo, which have been attacked violently here by the Soviet Union’s Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev.
2. Called for “complete disarmament of Israel and the Arab States under mutual inspection and control.”
On the subject of disarmament which is before the Assembly, Mrs. Meir said: “One of the planks in the Israel Government’s program is complete disarmament for Israel and the Arab states under mutual inspection and control. We are not impressed by lofty speeches on world disarmament and peace by leaders who do not practice at home what they preach abroad. Ours is a troubled area and an underdeveloped one. Neither Israel nor its neighbors can afford an arms race; the needs of the men, women and children of all our countries cry out against it.”
In challenging Nasser and rulers of the Arab lands to meet with Ben-Gurion on Arab-Israel peace, Mrs. Meir said: “We again call most solemnly to the leaders of the Arab states: Let us sit down in a free, not pre-conditioned conference, to discuss peace. We are convinced that that is the only realistic approach. And when there is peace between us, let us with united strength develop the entire region for the welfare of all peoples.”
Stressing that Nasser still maintains his boycott against Israel, and the Suez blockade, she stated: “Since, if the United Arab Republic is not prepared to implement the Security Council’s decisions on the question of shipping in the Suez Canal, then how will it base its right, if elected to the Security Council, to tell others that there must be no war or threat of war and all questions must be resolved by peaceful negotiations, and that Security Council decisions must be observed.”
Mrs. Meir’s reference to the Security Council alluded to the fact that the UAR is now a candidate for election to Council membership as successor to the seat on the Council held now by Tunisia.
The Israeli Foreign Minister referred in her address also to the Arab refugee problem which has been discussed with bitterness by the Arab leaders in this year’s Assembly. Those refugees, she stated, “did not go into strange lands. Why are they not absorbed?” she asked.
Israel, Mrs. Meir pointed out, has absorbed not only many Jewish refugees from Europe but also a half-million Jews who had to leave Arab countries. Israel, furthermore, she pointed out, is today housing and finding employment for 240,000 Arabs in Israel.