WASHINGTON (Jul. 23)
Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban of Israel indicated today in a television interview carried by the American Broadcasting Corporation network that Israel was opposed to the American supply of arms to Jordan and some other Arab countries.
Authoritative Washington sources confirmed this weekend that the Administration was studying the question of selling arms to Israel in view of the massive Soviet shipments to some of the Arab states, but stressed that main American concern was not about Israel but for the “pro-Western” states — Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia. The State Department, it was reported, has recommended that the United States send new arms to these nations to balance the flow of Soviet arms to Egypt, Iraq and Syria.
Mr. Eban, in response to a question, noted that despite American intentions, Jordan had used American arms to kill Israelis in the recent war. He said that Israel had “pointed out that arms have often been given to Arab states for one reason and used for another.” He recalled that: “it was said that giving arms to Jordan would certainly not be directed against Israel because Jordan. at that time, had a moderate aspect. The fact is,” he pointed out, “that arms given to Jordan, despite the will and intention of the donors, were directed against Israel and our people were killed in their dozens and wounded in their hundreds by Jordanian tanks. I think this has to be borne in mind.”
SEES AMERICAN-ISRAEL AGREEMENT ON BASIC ISSUES IN PRESENT SITUATION
The Israeli Foreign Minister was asked about reports of some disillusionment in Israel over the degree of American support during the period of intense crisis last May. He said that when Israel tried to find out just what support it could count on in a confrontation, “I found it necessary to tell my colleagues that I thought Israel would get a lot of sympathy, a lot of support by world opinion and by friendly governments but that we would be wrong to expect any physical support. I don’t say that we wanted it,” he added, but I had to say that I didn’t think we would get it and, therefore our fate and our future and our survival were in our own hands.”
Subsequently, Mr. Eban said. Israel had found a “very constructive attitude” on the part of President Johnson. He pointed out that “the chief element in President Johnson’s position is that the United States does not think that withdrawal without an accompanying settlement is advisable.” He termed this “a very important principle and it is the basis of unity between our policy and American policy.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Mr. Eban said the issue of relations with Jordan was open to negotiation and if they wanted in addition to peace to have a more intimate union in economic and other fields, this could be considered.
He said Israel had to be concerned about a new eruption of hostilities “because the Egyptian Government has made statements and carried out actions which indicate a lack of firmness in support of the cease-fire.” He said it was “up to Egypt” whether there would be peace along the Suez Canal or not. He denied that Israeli use of the canal was “provocative” asserting that “what is provocative is the Egyptian assumption that Israel has lesser rights in the canal than any other state.” He said there was agreement under the cease-fire that either side uses the canal or neither uses it.
On special issues, Mr. Eban said bluntly that any Israeli Government that surrendered the Old City of Jerusalem would not deserve to survive politically. To a question about Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s reported view that the Gaza Strip should belong to Israel, Mr. Eban said “the Government of Israel has not yet reached a determination about what suggestions it will make and what demands it will put forward in a peace negotiation.”
He expressed doubt that there could be a successful integration of the Arab refugees “in conditions of war or belligerency.” If peace came, he said, the governments would have a common interest in transforming refugees into constructive citizens. “There should not be any refugees in the Middle East.” he commented. “There should only be citizens of sovereign states.” He said he thought it would be difficult to achieve a coherent refugee settlement policy until the final frontiers are agreed and as long as a state of belligerency prevailed.