Menu JTA Search

President Bourguiba of Tunisia Attacks Israel; Wants Big Powers to Act

President Habib Bourguiba, of Tunisia, warned the Big Powers this weekend that, if they don’t act “quickly” to solve the Arab-Israel conflict, there will be new wars “around Palestine.” He attacked Israel sharply and asserted that the Palestine Arabs are now “in concentration camps” just like the Jews were during the Nazi war. He predicted that the Palestine Arabs will regain their independence and cited the fact that the Moslems in Algeria are now gaining their independence after 130 years of French rule.

Mr. Bourguiba made his statement in answer to a question at a luncheon tendered him by the United Nations Correspondents Association. He was asked whether the principle of direct negotiations toward solution of international problems in Africa and in the Mediterranean, enunciated last week in a joint communique issued in Washington by the Tunisian President and U.S. President John F. Kennedy, should not be applied in the case of Arab-Israeli disputes. He replied:

“Israel has never shown any disposition to abide by the decisions of the United Nations. Once Israel shows that disposition, there may be talk of a possibility of such negotiations. The problem must be dealt with directly. Justice and peace have been hurt in this part of the world. This is a new type of a colonial problem-to supplant one people with another. The people of Palestine now find themselves in the same position that the Jews found themselves in during the war. It is the Arabs who are now sitting in concentration camps.

“All efforts at negotiations have failed. Israel has invoked the right of conquest; it says here we are and here we stay. This problem cannot be solved by negotiating details. So long as there is no agreement on these fundamentals by the Jews who have come from Central Europe, the existence of Israel is in doubt. The whole matter will keep on festering in the Middle East.

“As the result of the lack of current stability, the lack of equilibrium will continue. All the frustrations of the refugees, all the difficulties of the region including the ease with which Communism has penetrated, all these are the” result of this trouble in the Middle East.

“If no solution will be found by the powers, and quickly, there will be new wars around Palestine. Perhaps not today or tomorrow or even next year or ten years hence, there will again be an armed struggle in the Middle East. For 130 years France thought they had a French Algeria, but this only led to war and bloodshed. And only then will a just solution emerge, as it has in Algeria.”

In the evening, following the press luncheon, Mr. Bourguiba was the guest of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold at a dinner here to which all permanent representatives to the United Nations had been invited. Among those invited were Michael 5. Comay, Israel’s permanent representative here, and Mrs. Comay. However, they did not attend the dinner.

NEXT STORY