Eshkol ‘optimistic’ on Possibility of Direct Talks with Arab Leaders

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol of Israel said today in an interview with the newspaper Die Welt that holding the territories occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War was not, economically, as difficult as it had appeared earlier. He pointed out that, “from the military viewpoint, it is now easier for Israel to guard its borders.”

But the Israeli leader made it clear that he hoped for and expected negotiations with the Arabs for peace in the area and said he was “optimistic” that there would be direct negotiations.

“The most important thing.” he said, “is for Israel to live in peace and security. This is reflected, too, in the attitude of the United Nations. The most negative side of the picture is that we had to have a war to justify Israel’s right of existence. We have decided to concentrate on our security because we have no other choice.”

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