JERUSALEM (Jul. 21)
Peace – and how to achieve it – were the themes of speeches by three Israeli Government officials over the weekend.
Foreign Minister Abba Eban said in a radio interview that differences between the United States and Israel over the method by which peace with the Arabs should be reached were more apparent than real. Mr. Eban told the Cabinet on Sunday that there was a wide range of understanding between the U.S. and Israel on ways and means to settle the conflict.
Speaking at a Haifa labor rally, Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan said that “today more than ever, the way to peace is in standing fast.” Israel was closer to a settlement with the Arabs, both in neighboring counties and within present borders, today than ever before, he declared.
Information Minister Israel Galili, in a speech in Tiberias to hundreds of new recruits in Nahal para-military units, declared that, “It is time Arab rulers understand that time is not working in their favor. Israel of tomorrow will not be softer or weaker than in the past. It will be even stronger than in the past.” The Arabs’ position that there can be no negotiations, no peace and no free navigation in the Suez Canal indicates that the war is not yet over, he declared.
Mr. Eban told the nation that in his conferences last week with George Ball, the new United States Ambassador to the United Nations, and Mr. Ball’s delegation, it was established that the U.S. did not believe in any permanent solution that was not based on a treaty signed directly between the Arabs and Israel. With Mr. Ball was Joseph Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State, and Alfred Atherton, head of the Arab-Israel desk at the State Department. Also visiting Israel last week was McGeorge Bundy, Ford Foundation president and former advisor to President Johnson, who conferred with top officials.
The Americans, Mr. Eban said, did not concur with Israel in her insistence that any matter of substance must be discussed only in direct talks with the Arabs from the start. Israeli officials took the position that this was the only way to find out if there was any real wish for peace on the part of the Arab countries.
Gen. Dayan said that Israel must have plans for peace but must be ready to carry on without peace until it was reached. “If we insist this time on firm and binding terms on the normalization of relations, then we shall eventually achieve real peace.” he asserted.