Bourguiba Says Path to Peace is Joint Arab-israel State or Separate States

President Habib Bourguiba said today that an acceptable compromise for the Middle East deadlock could be found in a Joint Arab-Jewish state or in two separate states as envisaged in the United Nations partition plan of 1947.

Appearing on the NBC-TV program. Meet The Press, Bourguiba urged implementation of UN decisions on the Middle East and evacuation of Israeli troops from occupied territories as necessary steps in achieving peace. Bourguiba said the Issue of Israel was one of “colonization of Palestine” by outsiders. He equated Zionist settlement with French colonialism in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

Bourguiba said that UN and Big Powers could oversee the sequence of events that could determine the timing of Israel’s evacuation and Arab recognition of Israel leading to peace. He stressed that the big issue was not, as he saw it, one of Arab states’ direct negotiations with Israel but the achievement of a “Just compromise” between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews.

The issue he depicted was one of “two communities and two nationalisms within the same territory.” Bourguiba said a solution could only come through “a compromise suitable to both sides.” Asked to comment on the Soviet Union’s naval build-up in the Mediterranean, he replied that NATO did not seem greatly concerned and asked, “Why should I be more concerned that NATO?”

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