UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 17)
Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban declared today that “in return for a cease-fire Israel will give a cease-fire” and in return for peace Israel will give “most substantial compromises.” Speaking at a luncheon of the United Nations Correspondents Association, Eban stressed that the return of Israeli prisoners of war is an “absolute condition” for a cease-fire. He said Israel will consider any cease-fire proposal when one comes.
Referring to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s missile rattling speech yesterday, Eban termed it “ridiculous” and described it as “extremely hardening an already extreme position.” He said Sadat wants Israel to put itself in “full vulnerability and then he will offer not peace, but a cease-fire. Eban said there was no proposals for a cease-fire and the reason is “unjustified euphoria” by the Egyptians.
Yesterday, Israeli sources here characterized Sadat’s speech as “boastful arrogance born of an initial military advantage which is proving to be meagre and transient.” They said-that Sadat was offering to attend a peace conference only if he gets 100 percent of what he wants before the conference begins.
In his opening remarks, Eban dismissed the Arab claim that there is no alternative to war. He reiterated that before the war broke out that there was an agreement that after the Israeli elections Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger would discuss with the Arabs and Israel procedures toward negotiations. Instead, he said, the Arabs decided “to shoot instead of negotiate,” Asked what guarantees Israel had for its existence after four wars, Eban replied flatly, none except its own strength.
Eban said Israel faced no shortages of oil and as far as he is concerned there is no such problem for the rest of the world because the Arab oil producers must sell their oil since it is their only source of strength. The Israeli Foreign Minister denied that Israel was negotiating to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union before war broke out. He said there was no change in regard to Soviet Jews emigrating from Russia.
U.S. WILL NOT GIVE UP COMMITMENT
Eban said the only cease-fire proposal so far is the call by the United States for re-establishing the cease-fire line that existed before Oct. 6. He said he was aware of the U.S. contacts with the Soviet Union on the Mideast crisis but he did not believe that the U.S. will give up its commitment to Israel and its security. Eban was responding to a question about reports that the U.S. and the USSR were today in their second day of talks on drafting a UN Security Council resolution that will wind up calling for an in-place cease-fire and a settlement later with terms similar to former Secretary of State William P. Roger’s Dec. 1969 plan calling for insubstantial alterations of Israel’s post June-1967 borders.
Eban said the war “is a resumption of the 1948 war” and was a war for Israel’s very existence and independence. He asked if anyone believes that the Arabs would have stopped at the 1967 line and would not have gone into Israeli villages and urban centers, and pointed out that the size of the Arab attack indicates that they would have gone on.
He said the problem of the Arabs is that they went from an excessive inferiority complex to one of excessive euphoria. Eban reiterated Israel’s policy: first a cease-fire, then negotiations, and then peace. He said Egypt and Syria have decided to make it more difficult now to achieve peace.