TEL AVIV (Sep. 14)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban said today that prospects for peace with Egypt have receded in recent weeks and blamed it on “massive violations” of the standstill cease-fire agreement by the Egyptians with Soviet backing. Addressing a press conference here Mr. Eban said, “these flagrant violations have caused the suspension of the Jarring talks and have cast doubts as to the earnest intentions of their (Egypt’s) signature to an agreement.” Israel lodged its 14th complaint of Egyptian cease-fire violations with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) today. Based on information in the possession of Israel Army intelligence as of yesterday, the complaint charged for the second time that Egypt has brought Soviet-made SAM-3 anti-aircraft missiles into the standstill cease-fire zone in addition to the previously introduced SAM-2 missiles. Mr. Eban said “there are violations up to this very day. The Russians are backing up the actions of the Egyptians. The flame of hope is burning low. To re-kindle it, there must be an initiative in the part of the Russians and the Egyptians.” He said resumption of the Jarring talks did not depend on a settlement of marginal differences between Israel and the United States. “There must be a return to the situation on the eve of the cease-fire,” he said. However, Mr. Eban indicated that Israel wanted to perpetuate the cease-fire as long as possible even if the Jarring talks are not resumed.
GUERRILLA RELEASE BY EUROPEAN NATIONS WOULD HARM ONLY ISRAEL
The Israeli Foreign Minister spoke bitterly of the Arab terrorists who hijacked and destroyed four aircraft last week and are still holding more than 50 hostages somewhere in Jordan. He said he would stress the need for international and national legislation to stamp out aerial piracy when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month. Mr. Eban made it clear that the Israel Government’s position is that the nations under whose flags the hijacked airliners operated must be held responsible for the release of all the hostages, irrespective of their nationality. He said there were two Israeli nationals among the hostages apart from those who held both Israeli and American citizenship.
Mr. Eban said that Israel was not opposed to discussions being held for the exchange of hostages for seven Arab terrorists now in custody in Britain, West Germany and Switzerland. However, he said that if those seven are freed, Israel will consider that very fact to be its contribution to the release of ail of the hostages. “The only state whose security will be damaged by the release of these seven is Israel,” Mr. Eban said. “These people have tried to kill and will try to kill Israelis. Their release would be a death sentence to an unknown number of Israelis. It should be clear that by their release a certain degree of peril is added to Israelis.” Commenting on the situation in Jordan, Mr. Eban said that Israel would deal with any government that is the lawful ruler of that country. He said the present Jordanian government seemed unable to control the country and anything could happen, including PFLP leader George Habash becoming Premier. “This, of course, would have an influence on Israel. In any case, Israel is keeping a vigilant eye on events in Jordan that can have a bearing on its own security,” Mr. Eban said.