JERUSALEM (Sep. 5)
Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban told a press conference here tonight that Israel’s ideas and proposals for an interim solution of the problem of the Arab refugees from the 1948 war will be disclosed to the United Nations General Assembly when the refugee question is discussed.
These proposals, he said, would concern the refugees now in territories held by Israel. A general solution of the refugee problem, he said, would be possible only on a regional basis, with the cooperation of the Arab states.
The regular session of the General Assembly is scheduled to open Sept. 19.
Mr. Eban asserted that the position taken by the Arab leaders at their Khartoum conference, which he summarized as no recognition of Israel, no negotiations and no peace, emphasized Israel’s need and right to maintain her present positions. He said Israel’s evacuation in 1957 of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula had been a “tragic error” and he affirmed that Israel would not repeat this mistake by returning territories to states that continued to assert their belligerency and intention to destroy her.
In a reference to the Suez Canal situation, Mr. Eban said that, for the present, there was an agreement of mutuality between Egypt and Israel on its use as part of the cease-fire agreement. If Egypt should remove the physical obstacles she placed in the canal and allowed international shipping to resume, he said, this principle would have to be maintained.
Mr. Eban did not clarify this statement but his aides later said that he meant that if Egypt did not permit Israeli ships to use the canal, Israel would not permit Egyptian ships to pass through.