BUDAPEST (Jan. 15)
Libyan President Muammar el-Qaddafi’s extreme position on Israel has been sharply criticized by one of Hungary’s major weeklies. According to “Magyaror Szag,” “Qaddafi speaks about Israel in a manner which cannot be accepted by any normal nation today.”
That observation, appearing in one of the most important publications of an East European Communist bloc state, has contributed to a growing feeling in some circles that a softening of the Communist line toward Israel is emerging, possibly at Soviet instigation. (The JTA reported from Brussels yesterday that Communist Party organs in Belgium are circulating a text, relatively sympathetic to Israel, though critical of its policies reputed to have been written by Communists of Jewish origin.)
The Hungarian press in general expressed surprise and skepticism today over the announced merger of Libya and Tunisia. Commenting on the move, the Communist Party newspaper “Nepszabadsag” saw the union of the two North African countries as “incompatible” and described the merger as an attempt by Qaddafi to “restore his shattered authority.” Another paper said that if “impatient Qaddafi should decide to impose his experience on (President Habib) Bourguiba (of Tunisia) the results would be catastrophic.” The paper said that Qaddafi, who is 30 years younger than Bourguiba, “is counting on outliving him and taking over the presidency” of the merged countries.