Eshkol Says Israel Must Have Secure Boundaries Through Formal Peace Treaties
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Eshkol Says Israel Must Have Secure Boundaries Through Formal Peace Treaties

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Prime Minister Levi Eshkol opened the winter session of the Knesseth (Parliament) here today with a 90-minute speech in which he declared unequivocally that Israel intends to replace the 1949 armistice lines with secure national boundaries agreed to within the framework of formal peace treaties, and that she will not return to any status quo ante which contains the seeds of future havoc and destruction.

In his address, opening a political debate that will continue tomorrow, Mr. Eshkol advised the big powers and the United Nations to avoid vague formulas like declarations on cessation of hostilities unaccompanied by any real peace treaty, if an end to the Middle East crisis is to be achieved. He reviewed in detail the events since the Six-Day War and noted that the Arabs have not abandoned their hostility. Israel, he said, maintains her preparedness and will do all in her power to equip her defense forces with whatever arms and equipment are needed to protect the nation.

Referring to the boundary situation, Mr. Eshkol said the 1949 lines had no characteristics of normal boundaries and were the result of nothing more than military expediency. The Arabs have insisted on this principle throughout the years and, for this reason, “there is ample justification from legal, political and security points of view for Israel’s attitude that secure national boundaries must be determined within the framework of peace treaties, ” he declared.


“As for the Golan heights,” Mr. Eshkol said, “we shall not permit a restoration of the situation prior to June 5 that bore the seeds of havoc and destruction for our villages in the valley, nor will the situation in Sinai, the Gulf of Elat or the Suez Canal be restored to what it was.”

Mr. Eshkol warned Egypt, Syria, Iraq and other Arab countries that Israel will not remain silent in face of the harassment and persecution of Jews within their borders. He demanded that Jews imprisoned in Arab countries be released and permitted to leave those countries.

The Prime Minister said that the local Arab inhabitants of the West Bank region and the Gaza Strip have not cooperated with terrorist gangs, and the situation is settling down. He noted that the unification of Jerusalem was carried out without any upheaval, and the situation has returned to normal despite attempts at incitement.

Mr. Eshkol devoted part of his speech to castigating Soviet policy, which he said, “has degenerated with hostility that recalls the dark days before the overthrow of the Czarist regime.”

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