NEW YORK (Dec. 10)
Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon reaffirmed last night that Israel is ready to negotiate “with any Arab government at any time, anywhere in the world.” Addressing more than 2000 American Jewish leaders and guests at the closing banquet of the United Jewish Appeal’s national conference which launched the 1973 campaign, Allon also declared: “We are ready to compromise on territory, but cannot and will not compromise on security. There is no problem, including the so-called Palestinian question, which cannot be solved by negotiations. Moreover, no problem of any kind can be solved through hostilities, whether waged by terrorists or regular armies.”
Allon, considered by many as one of Israel’s leading doves, warned, however, that “new voices of warmongering” heard recently in Cairo and Damascus “should now be taken seriously.” He branded the Arab-inspired resolution adopted Friday by the United Nations General Assembly as “inflicting great damage on the prospect of peace” and assailed it as creating new illusions in Arab capitals that “can only strengthen Arab leaders in their beliefs that they can achieve their aims at the expense of vital and legitimate Israeli interests.”
The resolution, approved by a vote of 86-7 with 31 nations including the United States abstaining, was rapped by UN Ambassador George Bush as lacking in balance and one that cannot “offer encouragement to the parties to reach a peaceful accommodation of their differences.” Bush indicated that the resolution would not affect American policy. Referring to Bush’s statement, Allon said “we are grateful for that.” He added that it is unfortunate, however, that the UN ” is progressively deviating from its original goal and task of peacemaking.”
Referring to the resolution which reaffirmed the principles of Resolution 242 but asked States to “avoid action, including aid, which would constitute recognition of this occupation,” Allon said “it cannot impress us too much.” About the five European countries which offered the amendment–Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg — Allon stated that these nations were really “less concerned with holy places than with oily places.” His statement evoked tumultuous applause.
ATMOSPHERE OF PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT
Discussing Israel in the context of world events, Allon noted that world tensions are relaxing. Citing as evidence the rapprochement of Washington and Peking, the growing understanding between Washington and Moscow, the thawing of international relations in Europe, the prospects of peace in Southeast Asia, the partial withdrawal of Soviet personnel from Egypt, and the long cease-fire period in the Middle East, Allon declared:
“All this may create an atmosphere conducive to peaceful settlement in the Middle East. It is a delicate situation and should be approached with great care and caution.” But, he said, the sabre rattlings in Cairo and Damascus poses a threat of renewed war, or limited war, in the hope of mobilizing world pressure against Israel “in order to force her to submit to unacceptable conditions which will weaken her to such an extent that the danger of another war will become a real possibility.”
Allon noted further that the lavish Soviet military equipment being given to Egypt and Syria “can only encourage the militaristic attitudes of the Arab countries.” If five-and-a-half years after the Six-Day War there is still no peace in the Middle East, “it is not because of Israeli policy, but in spite of it,” Allon charged.
Turning bis attention to Israel’s domestic situation, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Culture asserted that Israel has made great strides in the improvement of social standards, with special attention to the underprivileged. After defense, education for Israeli Jews and Arabs “has the highest priority in the governmental budget,” he stated. “This is not just a social service, but a real investment in Israel’s future. The quality of life will, in the final analysis, determine the quality of our nation.”
ISRAEL READY FOR I MILLION SOVIET JEWS
Focusing on the issue of Soviet Jewry, Allon noted that 55 years after the Bolshevik Revolution “the Jews have proven to be indigestible in the Soviet system,” a problem “with no alternatives for the Russians.” The earlier the gates are opened for emigration, the easier it will be for all concerned, he said. Allon, nevertheless, stated that Israel is grateful to the Soviet authorities for granting exit visas to Jews to leave for Israel, but underscored that “we must unite in our efforts and mobilize world public opinion in order to persuade the Soviet government to remove all obstacles for the Jews” and to abolish the “shameful practice of ransom.”
The Israeli leader declared that the size of the immigration will not be limited by any quota system and that Israel is meeting the challenge of integrating all those who are arriving. “We in Israel are planning our economy and absorptive capacity to successfully integrate not less than one million Soviet Jews within this decade” Allon stated to prolonged and standing ovation. He added that in addition to Israel’s concern for Soviet Jews, the Jewish State “shall not rest until the last suffering Jew from Iraq and Syria will be allowed to leave and live in freedom.”