Eban Speaks on Relations with China and USSR

Foreign Minister Abba Eban discussed Israel’s relationships with the Peoples Republic of China and the Soviet Union today and indicated that Israel sincerely hopes for an improvement “at this time of world soul-searching.” Eban made his remarks in a foreign policy statement to the Knesset which ranged from the latest events along the Jordanian border to Israel’s position in the world. The statement on China was obviously prompted by the change in American policy, climaxed by President Nixon’s announcement last week that he has accepted an invitation to visit Peking.

Eban said, “Israel was one of the first states to recognize the China, Peoples Republic and has shown good will toward her achievements. But since the 1965 Bangkok Conference, the Chinese Government has chosen to ignore Israel. Nevertheless, China has never been erased from Israel’s political thinking for who can ignore China’s world position and influence on international developments?” Eban continued, “We are not responsible for the change that took place in relations between China and Israel. At this time of world soul-searching every state, whether large or small, must re-evaluate the road to be taken. It is clear that Israel’s foreign policy must actively consider these developments.” On relations with the USSR, the Israeli Foreign Minister said, “We may assume that the USSR Government will review its policy in the light of the situation in our area and changes on the International scene. If her aim is to play a positive role in the area to prevent a major conflagration, to ensure her legitimate interests, she will see that only by balancing her relationship with all states in the area will she be able to attain that goal.” Eban said, “We shall carefully examine every true and authoritative expression of Soviet readiness to carry out a balanced policy which is the only one that could make a true contribution toward the establishment of peace in the area and will naturally bring about a fundamental change of relations between Israel and the USSR.”

Commenting on a phenomenon of recent days–the mass surrender of Palestinian terrorists fleeing the Jordanian Army to Israeli forces–Eban said, “At this time when a UN commission composed of representatives of Somalia, Ceylon, and Yugoslavia, countries which refuse to have relations with Israel, is collecting from the Arab propaganda machine false testimony on the oppression of the Arab population by the State of Israel, Arab terrorists, sworn enemies of the State, are begging us for asylum to escape from certain death at the hands of their brethren because their ‘enemy’ has more affinity to humane values than their antagonists at home.”

Reviewing Israel’s position in world affairs, Eban said, “If we analyze the balance of our achievements we shall see that the Arab-Soviet offensive, despite its strength has not achieved a single one of its objectives. Israel has remained in the cease-fire positions without political pressure having been exerted to force her out. She has found, and is finding ways to strengthen her defenses. She is receiving massive economic aid. Instead of being isolated and cut off from her world-wide contacts, she is expanding them in every field and on every continent and has become a focal point for world interest.”

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