Eban Warns Against Letting Mideast Momentum Decelerate

Former Foreign Minister Abba Eban of Israel said here that the “new momentum of activity” which the disengagement agreements have set in motion toward a Middle East peace settlement should not be allowed to lessen. “It is dangerous to have a diplomatic vacuum,” Eban said in an address at the opening plenary session of the 66th annual convention of Hadassah here Sunday night.

“We must end this six-year debate on procedures and tactics and get back to the concrete issues,” he said, adding that it didn’t matter whether the next round of agreements is with Jordan or with Egypt. Eban, who is in this country as a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York, stressed that the time has come to think ahead in the Middle East toward the regional development of the area. He envisioned future cooperation between Lebanon, Israel and Jordan along the lines of the Benelux nations “in a reciprocal entanglement of projects and ideas where boundaries are at once respected and transcended.”

Eban told the 2500 delegates at the convention that Israelis “are in a psychological crisis in which they became diminished in their own eyes.” since the Yom Kippur War. “Even though they made an amazing recovery in October and came out victorious, they are not used to a victory which is only 80 percent, not 100 percent,” he said. “They are too impressed by the wealth of the Arab world and not enough by their own resilience as a people which is not as tangible or visible.”

Eban will speak in New York Sept. 22 at the inauguration dinner for the new Salanter-Akiba-Riverdale Hebrew School, a $3 million building architecturally designed for “open plan” teaching. He will address a meeting of the Akiva Day School in Detroit Oct. 20.

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