Eban Says UN Would Commit Act of ‘self-destruction’ if It Quit Mideast Problem

Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban warned here yesterday that the United Nations would be “committing an act of self-destruction if it abdicated its function in the Middle East crisis.” The Israeli diplomat, on his way home after apparently fruitless efforts to elicit an Arab response to Israeli queries about peace at the UN, noted that the Middle East crisis was the only international dispute in which the world organization maintained a presence. A withdrawal by the UN would create a diplomatic vacuum in which the idea of peace would fade, Mr. Eban said.

The Daily Telegraph said in an article by Richard Beeston today that “new militancy in the Arab world has become a major obstacle to a political settlement” in the Middle East. Mr. Beeston also blamed what he called Israel’s unwillingness to accept the Security Council’s resolution of last Nov. 22 for making it increasingly difficult for moderate Arab opinion to prevail. “No Arab leader can afford to ignore popular support for the fedeyeen who are dedicated to overthrowing Israel even if the war lasts for generations,” Mr. Beeston wrote.

He said that King Hussein’s showdown last week with Arab guerrillas, who are overwhelmingly supported by Palestinian refugees, has greatly weakened the positions of the King and the Jordanian Army and has inhibited chances of negotiating a peaceful settlement with Israel. “Prospects for an over-all settlement today looks less hopeful than at any time since the June, 1967 war.” Mr. Beeston wrote. He said that for the moment President Nasser, of Egypt, is backing King Hussein’s efforts to find a peaceful solution “but would not hesitate to pull the rug from under the King if he felt Hussein was making too many concessions to Israel.”

A Palestinian guerrilla leader said on a BBC television interview that Israel would be destroyed and that the Arab people would never accept a peace agreement with Israel signed by any Arab country. Yechia Hamouda of the Palestine Liberation Organization said, “We are not afraid of the Israelis; we are not afraid of anybody.” The Egyptian Government’s official spokesman interviewed on the same program complained that the Western countries, which were concerned when the Suez Canal was shut down during the Sinai war in 1956, do not seem to care now. Mohammed H. el-Zayat said, “We shall reopen the Suez Canal when the Egyptian Army holds both of its banks.”

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