JERUSALEM (May. 18)
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol declared in Parliament today that Israel has no atomic arms and will not be the first to introduce such weapons in the Middle East.
The Prime Minister’s statement, made in political debate, was in effect a comment on recent threats by President Nasser of Egypt that he would start a preventive war against Israel or begin developing nuclear arms “because Israel does.” Premier Eshkol denounced Nasser for “attempts to deceive the world and divert attention from the perils of existing aggressive arms in the region by drawing attention to nuclear weapons which do not exist in our region and in whose existence in our region we are not interested.”
Premier Eshkol then described how every type of modern weapon had been first introduced by Egypt with Israel compelled to follow suit later, He charged that Nasser “alleges that Israel is forcing an arms race on him but he himself systematically rejects every proposal for disarmament, arms limitation or treaty non-aggression.”
The Premier then proposed a joint call by the major powers for abstention from the use of force for the solution of disputes. He told the Parliament that a joint statement of policy of absolute determination to respect the independence and territorial integrity in the area would be “a signal contribution” to peace. He also urged regional disarmament or at least regional limitation of armaments in the Middle East to be reciprocally supervised.
REITERATES ISRAEL’S DETERMINATION TO CHECK SYRIAN ATTACKS
He then turned to the recent terrorist attacks on Israeli border settlements and declared that Israel had conclusive evidence that the source and the principal initiative for incursions by E1 Fatah commandoes were in Syria. He reiterated Israel’s determination that “the blood of our people and soil of our land” would not be defenseless. He addressed a similar warning to Jordan whose regular forces, he said, had recently been shooting to kill across the armistice lines.
On the other hand, the Premier noted, Israel keeps its agreements, when the other side does. He said Israel would not draw from the Jordan River any more water than the amounts specified in the plan drawn up by Eric Johnson more than a decade ago as an emissary of President Eisenhower.
CITES EFFORTS TO MAINTAIN GOOD RELATIONS WITH ALL COUNTRIES
The Premier mentioned his forthcoming visit to six African states and the visit next month by President Zalman Shazar to four Latin American countries as examples of Israel’s efforts to improve relations with other countries. He cited the Warsaw gathering last week of Israeli envoys to East European bloc countries presided over by Foreign Minister Abba Eban.
The Premier gave special attention to Israel’s relations with world Jewry. He noted that only 4, 000 immigrants from the affluent countries had come annually since the establishment of Israel. He called this a “disturbing figure” and said Israel must study the Jewish communities of other countries and search for new ways to attract young Jews in the affluent countries. Parallel to this, he said, facilities for immigration and absorption must be given generously and utmost efforts must be made to remove bureaucratic obstacles to such immigration.
He said the citizens of Israel must realize that every Jewish educational institution in those Jewish communities was “a fortress in the struggle against assimilation.” He added that major Jewish organizations in the world were giving more and more help in strengthening Israel’s bonds with Jewish communities in other countries. He said the central function in this effort was being fulfilled by the Jewish Agency.