MONTREAL (May. 15)
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban told newsmen here yesterday that Palestinian terrorists have no influence whatsoever on Israel or on the majority of Arabs in the administered territories, warned that the projected union between Libya and Egypt could aggravate the Middle East conflict and maintained that “nothing has changed” in U.S. policy toward Israel despite Arab oil politics.
He said that at his meetings with U.S. officials in Washington last week he found that “nothing has changed in the U.S. policy toward Israel no matter what the policy of the oil-producing Arab countries.” Eban added that he realized the U.S. need for energy sources but this “does not imply a change of present U.S. foreign policy.”
The Israeli diplomat, who came here to address a State of Israel Bonds man-of-the-year dinner honoring Sam Reitman of Montreal, also met yesterday with Canadian Foreign Secretary Mitchell Sharp. They reportedly discussed recent developments in the Middle East, the situation in Lebanon and Israel’s advocacy of direct negotiations with the Arabs. Eban also brought up the situation of Jews in the Soviet Union, Iraq and Syria.
Referring to the announcement Sunday by the Libyan Prime Minister, Col. Muammar el Qaddafi in Tripoli that the projected union of Libya and Egypt would be effected on Sept. 1, Eban told reporters that he was skeptical that the union will ever come about. Should it be accomplished, however, “the union will aggravate, not alleviate” the tensions in the Middle East, Eban said. He observed that while President Anwar Sadat of Egypt is at least willing to talk to some Western powers, the Libyan Prime Minister is intransigent in his position of hostility and supports and encourages extremist movements.
Speaking of the terrorist movements, Eban said Arabs in the administered territories, by and large, feel they are not represented by those who claim to speak in their name. He noted that the terrorists in Jordan have suffered total defeat; in Lebanon, the government is trying to avoid becoming involved in the Middle East conflict; and that Beirut has become the capital of terrorism.
He said that the present demarcation lines “are not sacrosanct” and that Israel is not following a policy “of arbitrary annexation.” On the other hand, Eban said, he saw no reason why Israelis should not have the right to live in such places as Hebron.