JERUSALEM (Jan. 3)
Israelis were told today that there is no sign of peace on the horizon and that they must cultivate strong nerves to weather the storms that lie ahead. The dim view of peace prospects was taken by Maj. Gen. Chaim Bar-Lev. new Chief of Staff of Israel’s armed forces, who told a group of officer graduates at a base somewhere in Israel that “for the Israeli Army, the war is not yet over.” The warning of a long, difficult struggle ahead, before a settlement is achieved with the Arab countries, was voiced by Foreign Minister Abba Eban in-a statement this afternoon to the Knesset (Parliament).
“Mr. Eban” spoke in reply to an agenda motion by S. Tamir, of the right-wing Free Center faction, who demanded clarification of Israel’s stand on occupied territories before Prime Minister Eshkol’s departure for the United States tomorrow and his talks with President Johnson. The Free Center regards all occupied territories as part of Israel, and has been calling for “legal and practical steps” to affirm it.
Mr. Eban’s request to strike the motion from the agenda was adopted by all members, except those of the Free Center and Haolam Hazeh factions, after the Foreign Minister called on all Israelis to “be wary of panic-mongers who accuse the Government of weakness or wavering.” He noted that the Knesset has always supported government policies by large majorities and urged the maintenance of a united front.
Mr. Eban stressed that the Government’s position with regard to future boundaries has not changed, and that there will be no statement on future frontiers until direct peace negotiations begin with the Arabs, “but the struggle to achieve this will belong and difficult.”
Gen. Bar-Lev, in an address to new officers and officer candidates, said that, while the Arabs may not be continuing their call for the destruction of Israel, their basic attitude toward Israel remains unchanged, and no one can predict when it will change. A strong army, he said, is a condition of Israel’s survival and must be ready should it be called to action again. He told the new officers that “you are now joining that group of men in Israel’s army whose call is always, ‘follow me.’”