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Eban Addresses General Assembly but Offers No New Initiatives for Mideast

Foreign Minister Abba Eban of Israel, addressing the General Assembly this afternoon, said that procedures guiding international detente could serve to solve the Middle East problem, reaffirmed Israel’s desire for peace through negotiations with its neighbors and charged that “the root of the (Mideast) conflict lies in the refusal of Arab governments to come to terms with Israel as a sovereign nation.”

The Israeli diplomat outlined his country’s position on withdrawal from occupied territories and on the question of a Palestinian state. He reiterated Israel’s acceptance of Resolution 242 as the basis for peace negotiations but offered no new initiatives to break the present impasse in the Middle East.

Referring to detente as requiring “all states to cultivate normal relations with each other, irrespective of differences and even of conflicts in their present policies,” Eban deplored the fact that so far “every procedure and attitude that has proved its efficacy in other disputes has been ignored or rejected” in the Middle East. “We should look long and hard at the European examples,” Eban said. “The aim should be a community of sovereign states in the Middle East as in Benelux and the European communities.”

Eban said Israel was prepared to accept negotiations “by any procedure mutually agreed” and warned that their absence in the Middle East “is the gravest obstacle to the termination of regional tension.” He said that “In the context of a permanent peace, Israeli forces would withdraw to the positions and boundaries determined in the peace agreements.”

Focussing on Austria’s decision to close the transit camp Eban said that this action “defied our belief.” To abandon such an enterprise “in deference to a pair of brutal gangsters has a terrifying meaning,” he declared. The issue, he observed, is: “What is the future of a world in which two pirates and criminals can bring a proud nation to the acceptance of their terms? What are the implications of transactions and engagements between civilized governments and violent extortionists? Who is going to rule our world–governments or gunmen?”

Discussing the role of the Palestinians in a peace settlement, Eban stated: “It is for the Arabs, not Israelis, to determine the precise constitutional structure of our eastern neighbor. It would be normal for Palestinian Arabs to be included in the delegation which would negotiate peace, between Jordan and Israel.” On what is wrong with the UN techniques, he said, “The result is not only that successes have come outside these walls; failures have abounded within them.”

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