Eshkol Rejects Idea of Possible Change in U.S. Stand Toward Israel

Premier Levi Eshkol today publicly rejected any idea that there might be any change in the United States attitude toward Israel. He said that Israeli-United States relations were based on a wide range of matters, and that an attitude on one point did not necessarily symbolize any basic change in relations.

The Premier expressed this view at the annual Israel Press Luncheon commemorating the United Nations resolution on the partition of Palestine which resulted in the creation of the Jewish State. The one point to which he referred was understood to be the United States resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly reviving a 1948 Assembly resolution proposing repatriation or compensation for the Arab refugees, Israel vigorously opposed the resolution because it failed to mention the possibility of resettlement or reintegration of the refugees in the Arab countries.

The Premier also rejected any suggestion that there was deterioration in Israeli-French relations, saying they were as they had always been. Replying to questions, he said that Israel now deserved, as in 1947, positive recognition by all nations, including the Soviet Union. He said Israel still awaits and hopes for a change in the Soviet attitude toward Israel.

Referring to the UN debate on the Arab refugees, he said that there had been no retreat in Israel’s basic position in regard to Arab relations when Israel indicated readiness to negotiate with the Arabs separately on the refugee issue. The main point, he said, was that Israel wants to sit down at the same table with the Arabs to negotiate, and that this readiness should be recognized by the Arabs.

He also answered questions about incidents by Orthodox zealots, and said that his Government would follow to the letter the “status quo” in religious controversies. He put special stress on the need for general calm and for playing down what he called “differences.” Declaring that all such issues could be resolved in a “good atmosphere,” he added, however, that the basic lines of his coalition government included opposition to compulsion of any kind, including religious compulsion.

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