STRASBOURG (Oct. 1)
Premier Golda Meir expressed “sincere hope” here today that the Austrian decision to shut down the Schoenau transit camp for Jewish immigrants is “not final” and will be reversed. In an address before the consultative assembly of the Council of Europe. Mrs, Meir warned the 143 delegates representing 17 European parliaments that concessions to terrorists only breed more terrorism.
“You may save a life that is immediately in danger, only to have other lives endangered later on,” the Israeli Premier said. She apologized to the delegates for dwelling at length on the weekend’s events in Austria. But she said that those events contained all the elements of Israel’s struggle against international terrorism.
Mrs. Meir’s tone was sharply critical of Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky’s pledge to shut down Schoenau in return for the safety of three Jewish and one Austrian hostage seized by two Arab terrorists Friday. But she refrained from criticizing Kreisky or the Austrian government directly and emphasized that Israel was “extremely grateful” for all that Austria “has done for us in helping emigration from a number of countries.”
“NOT SPEECHES BUT ACTION”
Premier Meir, speaking before a hushed house, rapped other countries which she said had freed terrorists after capturing them. “If they are sent back, they go to their bases in Lebanon or Libya and reorganize, plan again and try once more,” she said.
She pleaded with the delegates, who have only a consultative status, that what is needed “are not speeches but action.” Recalling the 1938 Evian conference on the problem of Jewish refugees from Nazism, Mrs. Meir said. “I remember that conference. There were many wonderful speeches made but no country was prepared to grant asylum to the fleeing Jewish refugees.” Premier Meir had apparently intended originally to speak at some length on the problems of the Middle East. But she discarded her prepared text to dwell on the Austrian crisis.
The head of the Austrian delegation, Karl Czernetz, a member of Kreisky’s Socialist Party took the floor to indicate that “negotiations (with Israel) are possible and will take place.” An Austrian opposition delegate. Frantz Karassk, said that the matter would be debated in the Austrian parliament, He said that the deputies would insist that the right of asylum and transit for refugees be made “an unchangeable and definite right.”
Premier Meir spent considerable time with the local Jewish community during her visit here. Last night, addressing about 3000 Jews at the main synagogue, Mrs. Meir said she was “saddened and shocked” by the news that Austria had given in to terrorist demands. “If one accepts the conditions of terrorists–even with the best intentions–one will only encourage them to continue their criminal acts,” she said.
TERRORISTS WARN AUSTRIA NOT TO BACK DOWN
As reports here and in Vienna indicated that Kreisky would like to find ways to modify his decision, he was/warned by Palestinian terrorists that any “back down” would “not serve the Interests of Austria or the safety of its citizens.”
The terrorist warning was published today in the Beirut newspaper. Al Moharrer, which has close connections with the guerrillas. It reproduced a statement from the “Eagles of the Palestine Revolution Higher Command,” the group to which the Vienna terrorists said they belonged, urging Austria to “continue to respect its decision heedless of the pressures by Zionism and imperialism.”