UNITED NATIONS (Jun. 7)
Ambassador Yosef Tekoah warned in the Security Council today that if any changes are made in Resolution 242–the only document accepted by both parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict–a “complete void” would be created in the United Nations framework in the Middle East.
Tekoah dismissed as rhetorical flourish a statement made yesterday by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed H, el-Zayyat that his country accepts “talks without prior conditions.” He said that remark was negated almost as soon as it was made. Tekoah reiterated, however, Israel’s desire for direct or indirect talks with the Arabs and invited Zayyat to come to Jerusalem for that purpose.
The Israeli envoy spoke today in exercise of his right of reply as the Security Council began its second day of general debate on the Middle East. His warning against any alteration of Resolution 242 appeared to have been prompted by Zayyat’s remarks in the opening speech of the debate yesterday in which he spoke of Israel’s 1947 borders –those specified by the General Assembly’s partition resolution of Nov. 29, 1947–as the only valid ones. Zayyat urged the right of Palestinians to live within secure and recognized boundaries, meaning those of 1947, a designation absent from Resolution 242.
Zayyat said yesterday that “Israeli leaders keep insisting on direct negotiations with the Arab states ‘with no prior conditions.’ I accept, Egypt accepts to have talks without prior conditions.” The Egyptian Minister added immediately, however, “Do not let us be fooled. Everything that (the Israelis) claim would be negotiable. In the same breath, the Israeli government.,.poses a very heavy precondition”–its refusal to commit itself to withdraw from the Arab territories captured in 1967.
Replying directly to Zayyat yesterday, Tekoah said: “We take note of the statement…that Egypt accepts direct negotiations without prior conditions. Much that Minister el-Zayyat said after that destroyed the significance of this declaration and turned it into another seemingly polemical argument.”
AFRICAN STATES TAKE SHARP LINE
Speeches by Nigeria and Tanzania opened the second day of debate this morning. Both African states, representing the Organization of African Unity (OAU) of which Egypt and Libya are members, took a sharp line toward Israel. John S. Malecela, the Foreign Minister of Tanzania, claimed that Israeli aggression is a “direct threat” to African security. He warned that unless Israel adhered to UN resolutions the African countries would take economic and political measures against her.
Okol Arikpo, the Foreign Minister of Nigeria, said that Israel has to adhere to Resolution 242 in order to achieve peace in the Middle East. But while the Tanzanian Foreign Minister spoke harshly about Israel, Arikpo stated that His country has a friendly relationship with Israel and expressed a sincere hope that a solution to the Mideast crisis would be found.
Ambassador Haissam Kelani of Syria declared that no peace would come to the Middle East until the Palestinians were restored the right to resettle their homeland, He referred to Israel as a tool of American imperialism which supports her and supplies her with arms. The Security Council debate is “our last hope for justice against the law of the jungle and aggression.” he said.
Responding to the Syrian envoy, Tekoah said that Syria “rejects any notion of peace” and that its objective is the liquidation of Israel. Arab rejection of quiet diplomacy is a reflection of their rejection of Israel’s fundamental right of independence, Tekoah said.