JERUSALEM (Oct. 20)
Foreign Minister Abba Eban warned Egypt and the Soviet Union today that they would be “ill advised” to try to tamper with the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967 which outlines the basis for settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict. Addressing a press conference for foreign newsmen, Mr. Eban noted that a Mideast debate was forthcoming in the UN General Assembly and said that Israel would “have a lot to say” about the “perfidious violation of an international agreement which prevents the opening of any dialogue on peace.” The Foreign Minister’s references were to Egyptian violations of the standstill cease-fire agreement in the Suez Canal zone of last Aug. 7 and to indications that Egypt, with Russian backing, would try to get the General Assembly to pass a Mideast resolution that would undermine Resolution 242. That resolution was very delicately balanced “and the achievements of the last three years might now be lost” if it is impaired. Mr. Eban said. He added that the General Assembly has no right under the UN Charter to tamper with a Security Council resolution. Mr. Eban said he definitely saw a role for the Palestinians in any future peace talks.
The Israeli Foreign Minister made it clear that his country was opposed to a Middle East debate at this time. “Israel believes that the obstacles to peace in our area can best be overcome by patient, private diplomacy.” Mr. Eban said. He indicated however that Israel would take the offensive in the debate and would try to place the blame for stalling the Jarring talks on the Egyptians and their Soviet backers. “We shall not play the role of defendants,” he declared. “The UAR and the Soviet Union have no right to accuse us of cease-fire violations. It is they who have violated solemn agreements.” He said there was no truth to Egyptian charges that Israel has violated the truce on its side of the standstill cease-fire zone. There is no evidence to support these charges, Mr. Eban said, but added, “If in the course of discussions the other side drew our attention to any apparent violation, we should look into it.” He said that by insisting on the observance of the cease-fire agreement, Israel was “defending a cause wider and deeper than her own.” Mr. Eban warned the Egyptian government that renewed warfare against Israel was very much against Egypt’s interests and would bring much suffering to the Egyptian people.