PARIS (Apr. 15)
President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia renewins his appeal for an end to Arab-Israel hatreds, disclosed today that Egyptian leaders knew and approved of his intention to make his views publicly known.
The Tunisian leader’s latest effort was in an interview in today’s issue of the French weekly, Nouvelle Observateur, in which he reiterated his stand for a negotiated solution of the Israel-Arab dispute. Specifically, he urged “an end to the bitter hatred which divides Arabs and Jews and which leads the Arab masses to a fanaticism which will be dangerous the day when negotiations will have to start.”
Referring to a recent visit to Cairo, he declared: “I told Cairo that I intended to make my views publicly know, on condition that I should not be accused of betraying the Arab cause. Everybody agreed. There were some differences of evaluation, but no serious disagreements.” He also said that President Nasser of Egypt expressed, in an interview with the French monthly, “Realities,” ideas “not so very different from my own.”
He asserted that he had reason to believe that President Tito of Yugoslavia did not support the unrelenting hostility of the Arab leaders against Israel. He hinted that his recent talks with Tito led him to believe that the Yugoslav leader, “without doubt one of the Arabs’ best friends in general, and Nasser’s in particular, “might feel that “Arab-Jewish co-existence could be realized.”
From Belgrade, the Tunisian leader went to Cairo where, he said, he spelled out his ideas to Nasser and his advisers. He said: “I told them that the Arabs could not remain etemally on a defensive position and that our stand only consolidates Israel and shows the world our inability to resolve the problem. For 17 years, Arab efforts have been unsuccessful. Why not try my method” he said he had asked the Egyptians.
He then asserted that “the time has come to say aloud what everyone in the Middle East ruling circles thinks secretly. Things must happen. There should be proposals and counter-proposals and international action. A new situation which will bring new appreciations must be created.” He proposed that the Arab leaders undertake “a clear diplomatic action. Should it fail, then-secure in world approval, the clarity of our positions and the organization of the Palestinian refugees themselves-we can envisage other means.”