Eban Tells Security Council Israel Will ‘never’ Return to Old Armistice Situation
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Eban Tells Security Council Israel Will ‘never’ Return to Old Armistice Situation

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Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba S. Eban, told the United Nations Security Council today that it was Israel’s “firm resolve never to return to the danger and vulnerability from which we have emerged” following the Six-Day War last June. He told the Council: “This resolve will prevail over every other consideration. To avoid a return to any of the conditions which prevailed on June 4 (the day before the war erupted) is a supreme national purpose, worthy of every effort and any consequence.”

Mr. Eban was the first speaker when the Council resumed its session today on the complaint made by Egypt last week. A procedural maneuver had deprived the Israel spokesman of the customary right to reply to the accusations when they were made by Egypt last Thursday. An American motion to give Israel the right of immediate reply was defeated on a vote, and Mr. Eban refused to speak seventh on the list.

Mr. Eban made sharp reference to the procedural wrangle today, then scathingly assailed Egypt’s attempts to portray Israel as the aggressor in the June war. The Israeli spokesman rejected outright the India-Mali-Nigeria resolution before the Council, and outlined Israel’s policies and political solution for the Middle East. He defined Israel’s national policies in these words:

“A cease-fire has been established by the Security Council as a provisional measure within the terms of Article 51 of the Charter. We shall maintain and respect the cease-fire until it is replaced by peace treaties ending the state of war, determining the agreed national frontiers of states, and ensuring a stable and mutually guaranteed security.

“We cannot return to the shattered armistice regime or to any system of relations other than a permanent, contractually-binding peace. And we agree with those who have said that the fragile armistice lines must be superseded by agreed and secure national boundaries. After the cease-fire lines, a permanent and mutually recognized boundary is our only possible destination.”


The Israeli Foreign Minister told the Council there was “not a single grain of truth” in the contentions voiced by the Soviet and Arab delegations when the current Middle East crisis first arose last spring and summer, and now. He rejected the Soviet-Arab charges of Israeli aggression, and pointed out that the aggressions had been committed by the Arab states. “To the charges of aggression,” he said, “I reply that Israel’s resistance to the assault concerted against her last summer will resound across history as a triumphant assertion of human freedom.”

In a direct reply to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mahmoud Riad, Mr. Eban said: “His complaint is that Israel energetically refused to be destroyed. His proposal is that Israel put herself in the position most congenial for the next attempt to destroy her. His purpose is to refuse negotiation and agreement. To the offense of making war, Cairo adds the offense of refusing peace. I am aware that Israel’s decision to survive has caused some difficulty for Arab representatives and those who support them. But in the light of international judgments and of massive world opinion, everyone who speaks of Israel ‘aggression’ is uttering a conscious and violent untruth.

“The most important action which the United Nations has taken, beyond the cease-fire, has been to determine the non-aggressive character of Israel’s operations in early June. Everything in our policy flows from this premise. Our thinking on the political, juridical, territorial, and security aspects of the Middle Eastern problem is based on the secure premise that we have repelled aggression, are still being threatened with its renewal, and must now act as to insure that it shall not succeed in a new assault.”

Mr. Eban countered the Arab refusal to recognize Israel, saying “we do not seek Arab recognition of our nation’s right to exist.” In general, he said, “Israel is not in a position of juridical defense.”

As to the 1949 armistice agreements with Egypt and the other hostile Arab states, he said, Israel accepted the fact that Egypt had always interpreted its pact with Israel as “the absence of peace, maritime blockade and a prelude to ultimate total war.” He declared firmly that Israel now will “have nothing to do” with any apparatus set up under the 1949 formula “or with any similar situation of juridical anarchy. The only juridical possibility now available is full, formal peace. War has been tried three times. Cease-fires, truces, armistice have been tried for 19 years. Only peace has not been tried. The hour is ripe for the untried experiment of peace.”

Mr. Eban replied to delegations, naming France in particular, who said that direct Israel-Arab negotiations were now “impracticable.” “The prediction helps to create the conditions which it predicts,” he said. “In addition to peace and negotiations,” he said, “the Israel Government attaches primary importance to the necessity of determining permanent and agreed national boundaries. This is the very heart of the Arab-Israel problem. The central issue to be negotiated in a peace settlement is the establishment of permanent boundaries. Without this I cannot envisage any radical solution of the deadlock.”


Mr. Eban referred to proposals that the Council authorize the Secretary-General to appoint a special Mideast representative to act as a “channel of communication” between Israel and the Arab states. He insisted that any such emissary must not be given “discriminatory directives” which would “prejudice” Israel’s position. “It is our absolute right,” he said, “to approach the peace negotiations without having this matter prejudged in advance.” “If the Security Council wishes us to consider the appointment of a U.N. representative,” he said, “our view is that such a representative could play a useful role in bringing the parties together only if his directives or frame of reference do not prejudice our policies or our negotiating position.”

In rejecting the India-Mali-Nigeria draft, Mr. Eban said it “prejudices our negotiations on the territorial issues, asking for our withdrawal without a final peace treaty and defining in advance the territorial and security situations which should follow the cease-fire.” He said the three-power draft also defined the maritime situation, involving freedom of ship passage through the Suez Canal and Gulf of Akaba, entirely in accord with the Egyptian insistence of denying freedom of passage to Israeli shipping.

In his address, Mr. Eban also alluded to a “working paper” circulated here by the Japanese delegation, implying that that approach was just as unacceptable to Israel as the three-power draft explicitly rejected by him in his address. Reports circulated this afternoon that the Latin American group was planning to revive the draft resolution it had submitted, and lost, last summer, linking Israeli’s troop withdrawal with Arab denunciation of belligerence.

Another draft resolution was presented to the Council today-bringing the number of drafts to three, including those previously introduced by the United States and the Nigeria-Mali-India group. The latest draft, handed in by the Soviet Union, would authorize the Secretary-General to increase the number of cease-fire observers to 90 and to provide for the U.N. personnel additional technical and transport facilities. While there may be little opposition to such a step here, it was noted that the Soviet move would tie the cease-fire observation apparatus directly to the Security Council, where any of the reports from that force could be rejected by the exercise of the Soviet veto in the Council.

After Mr. Eban concluded, speeches hewing to the Arab-Soviet policies were delivered by the representatives of Jordan, Bulgaria and India. Then the Council adjourned until Wednesday morning.

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