NEW YORK (Aug. 13)
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s former Prime Minister, again called on the United States and the Soviet Union today to take joint action to bring about total disarmament in Israel and the Arab states. If the two powers took such a step, he stated, “it would be one of the greatest acts toward peace ever made. ” He pledged that “the moment the two powers make such a demand, Israel will be ready to respond, in the hope that our neighbors will do the same. “
Mr. Ben-Gurion discussed Israel’s desire for peace with the Arab states in an article in Look Magazine, published today. He asserted that his successor in the Israeli Premiership, Levi Eshkol, would be prepared to follow the former Ben-Gurion policy to meet with Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser “or any other responsible Arab leader–anywhere, at any time, without prior conditions–to discuss any proposals or any problem that he might wish to raise.” “I feel sure, ” he maintained, “that, at such a meeting, we could dispel in a few hours the distrust and misunderstanding that have accumulated over the years. “
“The primary, principal and supreme goal of Israel’s foreign policy, ” he declared, “is not only peace, but an alliance between Jews and Arabs, which would lead to political, economic and cultural cooperation between the Jews and the Arab peoples. Such an alliance is a historic and vital necessity for both sides. The truest need of the Arab peoples is not armaments and military strength, but development, education, sanitation and the improvement of the wretched conditions of the Arab workers and peasants. Israel can make a greater contribution to the process of regeneration than perhaps any other external factor in the East or West.”
Noting that Israel has called for peace with the Arabs many times since the establishment of the Jewish State, while the Arab states have continued their belligerency, he declared: “But so long as there is no cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union in safeguarding the peace and security of all the countries in the Middle East–so long as Egypt refuses to make peace, while receiving plentiful supplies of modern armaments from one side–Israel is bound to keep its forces strong enough to deter those who threaten it from starting a war.
“We appreciate the economic aid and technical assistance we have received from the United States, the understanding that President John F. Kennedy has shown for Israel’s problems, and, particularly, his Administration’s new policy of, for the first time, providing Israel with important defensive weapons–Hawk antiaircraft missiles. But if we are attacked, we shall be in the front line. We cannot expect, we do not ask, anyone else to do our fighting for us. “