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Eban: Israel Supports Mutual, Unrestricted Ceasefire Line; Withdrawal Follows Peace Agreement

Foreign Minister Abba Eban clarified today Israel’s attitude towards the provisions of the UN cease-fire resolution. He said the matter of Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories was simply one element of the resolution, whose basic purpose, he said, quoting from the text, is “the achievement of a just and lasting peace.” Withdrawal and other points of contention, he indicated in the Knesset, are part of the package to be negotiated following a peace agreement, not concessions to be made prior to such an agreement. There had been dissention in the Knesset last week over the cease-fire when the nationalistic Gahal faction abstained on a routine vote to approve Premier Golda Meir’s Tuesday report. In that report, Mrs. Meir skirted a direct endorsement of the resolution, but quoted a 1968 backing of it in the UN by Yosef Tekoah, the Israeli ambassador. Gahal opposes giving up the territories.

Mr. Eban, who made his comments today in reply to a question from pro-Moscow Arab Communist MK Tewfik Toubi, said that “only one issue can be singled out at the present early stage”–the refugee problem. Since any plan for the refugees’ resettlement and rehabilitation would take years to effect, Mr. Eban explained, Israel would be amenable to deliberating that issue prior to agreement with the Arabs on the overall peace package under the cease-fire resolution. Replying to a question from anti-Moscow Communist MK Moshe Sneh, the Foreign Minister stated that “Israel unreservedly supports the establishment of a mutual and unrestricted cease-fire line.” But he added that there appeared to be no serious prospects for a reduction in arms deliveries to the Middle East in light of what he termed the arming of the Arabs by the Soviet Union and other countries.

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