FLORENCE, Italy (May. 24)
Abdul Aziz Zaobi, a Moslem who is deputy mayor of Nazareth, Israel, advocated here today the creation of regional organizations in Africa and the Middle East to prevent local wars and solve local problems by peaceful means. Mr. Zaobi was the principal speaker at today’s session of the third Mediterranean Colloquium, which opened here yesterday, with Israelis and Arabs joining Africans and Europeans in discussion of this year’s main theme, revolving about African affairs.
Professor Jehoshua Prewar, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was chairman of the meeting addressed by Mr. Zaobi. Prof. Prewar is one of the two other Israeli Jews attending the conference, the other being Prof. Pesah Shinar, also from the Hebrew University. Mr. Zaobi is one of the two Israeli Arabs here, the other being Nazareth’s Mayor Malachi.
The African and Middle East regional organizations, Mr. Zaobi warned, must not be motivated by enmity among neighboring states, by any desire on the part of stronger nations to force their will on the weaker countries, and must not be based only on cultural or racial ties. “Wars never solved problems,” Mr. Zaobi declared, “as demonstrated by the Palestine refugee issue which only bilateral negotiations within the framework of peace talks can solve.”
Florence Mayor Girgio Lapira told the conference, which had applauded Mr. Zaobi loudly, that the speaker, “being a Moslem Arab citizen of Israel, is the symbol of peace.” Yesterday, Mayor Lapira, greeting the conference, referred to Arab-Israeli disputes, asserting: “Another peace colloquium will certainly take place when time has matured, and it will have incalculably important repercussions–historical, political and religious–throughout the world.”
The colloquium this year has attracted delegations from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Senegal, Mali, Kenya, the Union of South Africa, several European countries, and two delegates from the United Arab Republic. There is a general atmosphere of friendship here, and Israelis are exchanging views, on and off the floor, with many of the participants, including several from Morocco and Tunisia and others from French-speaking Africa.