LONDON (Nov. 5)
Abba Eban, Foreign Minister of Israel, tonight denounced the “levity and impudence” with which the United Nations Security Council discussed Israel’s “approaching doom” in the tense days before the Six-Day War last June. He declared that, in view of Israel’s experiences, “never again shall we allow ourselves to be put in such a situation of danger and vulnerability.”
The Israeli diplomat, speaking at a special Balfour Day celebration of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain, reiterated that Israel can depend only upon her own strength and ability because, in times of test, “all external elements of our security turned out to be fragile or illusory.” Mr. Eban arrived here today from New York where he is heading the Israeli delegation at the United Nations. He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Harold Wilson tomorrow to discuss the Middle East crisis.
Noting that, during the tense days of last May and June, just before the Six-Day War, international commitments, maritime promises, United Nations responsibility, and hope of moderation from certain Arab states “all melted away,” Mr. Eban warned that “those who did nothing and attempted little to prevent war should be scrupulously careful to avoid obstructing peace.” “The only bodies or agencies which can play a constructive role in the advancement of peace are those who do not commit themselves in advance against specific claims of positions of any negotiating party,” he said.
Mr. Eban stressed that “a peace structure in the Middle East must grow up from within the region. It cannot be imposed from outside.” He said that Israel’s consistent policy, since hostilities broke out, sought “a directly negotiated settlement culminating in peace treaties in which we shall seek to define conditions of mutual co-existence between Israel and her neighbors, and not only formal peace but intensive regional cooperation within the Middle Eastern community of sovereign states.” Referring to the Balfour Declaration, Mr. Eban said that 1967 would determine whether 1917 could be brought to successful issue for the benefit of Israel and the Arabs alike.
A similar note was sounded by another speaker at the Balfour Day rally, Richard Crossman, Britain’s Lord President of the Council, who said he was convinced that “there is now really a chance of peace if only the great powers working through the United Nations can be content not to intervene and impose their own peace but to create conditions whereby Arabs and Jews can freely negotiate their own settlement.”
The Poale Zion Organization of Leeds charged today that Patrick Gordon Walker, a Minister of State in the British Government, had cancelled a scheduled appearance before the organization because “he would find it embarrassing to face a Jewish audience at the present time, due to the British Government’s hardening line on the Middle East issues.” Mr. Walker had accepted the Poale Zion invitation to address a meeting in Leeds last night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. He bowed out with an explanation that he was prevented to appear “due to pressing appointments.”