Eban Says Withdrawal Prior to Negotiations Would Be ‘national Suicide’ for Israel

Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban said in a filmed interview last night that “Israel would be completely off its head” to agree to withdrawal from the occupied territories prior to negotiations, as demanded by the Arab states. Such a move, he said, would constitute “national suicide” for Israel. He asserted that the Arabs’ unwillingness to negotiate was unprecedented and indicated it was a hindrance to peace. The Eban interview was shown on the National Educational Television series “The Advocates” as part of an hour-long pro-Israel presentation. Last Sunday the case for the Arabs included an interview with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Mr. Eban reiterated that Israel was prepared to make “territorial adjustments” consistent with her security in the interest of peace, as his country has “no interest in territory as such.” He added, however, that at least for the time being, Israel had to retain the Golan Heights for security reasons. He suggested that the Jordan River be designated a “security border.” The Foreign Minister said talk about the destruction of Israel was “23 years too late juridically and about 2300 years too late culturally and historically.” He stated that Israel would last “for as long as history lasts.” The Palestinian Arabs, rather than trying to overthrow Israel, should more properly become part of “a Jordan Kingdom or Palestinian Republic.” he said.

Mr. Eban criticized the UN as a “packed court” in which an Arab resolution that “the world is flat” is automatically guaranteed a bloc of more than 40 pro-Arab votes in the General Assembly. In other filmed interviews, Israeli Premier Golda Meir said Israel was prepared to negotiate as “equals” rather than as “conquerors,” and Ambassador to the United States Yitzhak Rabin said Israeli forfeiture of the cease-fire lines would be “almost suicide.” In a live studio interview in Los Angeles, Gen. Y. Harkabi, former chief of Israeli military intelligence and now of the Hebrew University, said President Nasser’s conciliatory remarks the previous Sunday did not square with his “no peace, no negotiation” posture at home. In another live interview, pseudonymous El Fatah leader “Abu Omar” said terrorist killings could stop only if the Palestinians “capitulate.” He said their aim was not the destruction of the Jews but the “destruction of a system.” “Abu Omar” alleged that Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan had renounced the cease-fire, and praised him for “moral integrity and intellectual honesty.” But Gen. Harkabi asserted that “We have committed ourselves to the Security Council resolution.” A studio poll following the program showed 48 favored less American military aid to Israel, 41 favored more, and 11 did not vote. Prior to the first program last week, 39 favored less aid, 31 favored more, and 30 did not vote.

NEXT STORY