Menu JTA Search

Eban Tells General Assembly Israel Insists on Negotiations with Arabs

Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban of Israel politely but firmly told the United Nations General Assembly here today that Israel will stand firm on the present cease-fire lines until the cease-fire agreements that ended the June war are replaced “by treaties of peace which will ensure the security of all Middle Eastern states and establish conditions of stable coexistence.”

Speaking in the Assembly’s general debate, Mr. Eban promised that “in negotiations with Arab governments, we shall make viable and equitable proposals compatible with the national honor and legitimate interests of all states. We shall also make suggestions for effective regional cooperation and for the regional and international solution of population problems created by the wars and belligerence policies of the past two decades. We shall, of course, give consideration and make reply to whatever suggestions the other negotiating parties decide to submit.”

Mr. Eban told the Assembly that “there is no other choice” than the Israeli policy of seeking transition from the cease-fire to a negotiated peace and declared that policy “deserves international endorsement and respect.” To return to the pre-June 5th situation would be to return to “political anarchy and strategic vulnerability,” he said, noting that “national suicide is not an international obligation.”

SAYS THERE CAN BE NO EXTERNAL SUBSTITUTE FOR LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS

Mr. Eban served notice that “no external declarations or guarantees, no general affirmations of Charter principles, no recommendations or statements by international bodies, however unexceptionable, can replace the sovereign responsibility of the governments concerned.” Peace in the Middle East, he said, must spring from the Middle East. He told the Assembly that the most constructive course it could take would be to tell the Middle Eastern states to negotiate the conditions of their future coexistence. He said that Israel’s insistence on direct negotiations was not a matter of procedure but an issue “of principle and substance.”

Mr. Eban said the stand taken at the Arab Khartoum summit meeting of “non-recognition, no negotiations and no peace with Israel” deprived the Arabs of the right to invoke the United Nations Charter. He urged the international community to stand firm and thus promote an Arab understanding of the need to pass from two decades of war to peace.

The Israeli Foreign Minister charged that there had been a propaganda campaign about the west bank residents who “moved without concern across the Jordan as a result of Hussein’s wanton war.” These people were free and thousands have returned, he noted, “but there is relative silence about the Jewish communities, especially in Egypt, whose members are not free to move because they are held in conditions of cruelty in concentration camps for no reason or purpose except of sheer malice.”

NOTES WORLD SILENCE ON JORDANIAN DESTRUCTION OF JEWISH HOLY PLACES

Turning to the subject of Jerusalem, Mr. Eban drew attention to the fact that Jewish religious institutions and holy places had suffered destruction and sacrilege under the Jordanians and commented that “not a single word of criticism was directed against a regime which made Jerusalem a military frontier, which separated its citizens into two hostile camps and which, by obstruction of access, desecrated some of the highest and noblest sanctities in the history of mankind.” Now, he said, “after 20 sordid years of division, war and sacrilege, there is unity, peace and the assurances of access to the holy places.”

Mr. Eban commented on the new attack made by Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko in the general debate Friday and pointed out that the General Assembly and the Security Council had previously rejected all Mr. Gromyko’s assertions. He then charged that “the tension which exploded in the Middle East last June was largely of Soviet manufacture,” listing the Soviet arms shipments to the Arabs, the Soviet policy in the Security Council of blocking criticism of Arab aggression, and finally, the charge that a false Soviet report of Israeli troop concentrations on the Syrian frontier had influenced Nasser of Egypt to the actions that led to the outbreak of hostilities.

Earlier, a Soviet-Arab attempt to convert a 17-year effort of the Assembly’s legal committee to come up with a definition of aggression into an anti-Israel maneuver was defeated and the question of definition was referred back to the legal committee. Speaking in the general debate, the Czechoslovak spokesman announced that his country supported the Tito proposals for a Middle East solution which Israel had previously rejected.

When the General Assembly resumed today, Jordan, on a point of order, protested Israel’s action last Saturday in deporting an East Jerusalem Moslem official to Jordan. Egypt, in a letter to the president of the Security Council, charged Israel with a series of seven violations of the cease-fire agreement in the Suez Canal area between September 5 and 21.

NEXT STORY