LONDON (Sep. 7)
Former Foreign Minister Abba Eban declared at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference here that “Israel is not going to disappear or apologize for its sovereign existence.” The Israeli diplomat’s speech was a resounding reply to Palestine Liberation Organization spokesman Khaled el Hassan who demanded at the same forum that “the Zionist State” give way to “the creation of a democratic secular state” of Palestine “wherein the Jews would have full rights.”
The Israeli delegation left the hall when the PLO representative spoke and the United States delegation was absent. Eban deplored the PLO’s presence, at the invitation of the IPU, as another indication of the decline in parliamentary democracy. “Parliaments work by speech and vote. The PLO acts by bomb and bullets. Their presence is a threat not to Israel but to the IPU which has seen its principles, its aims and its legal integrity grossly violated.” Eban declared.
Earlier, Israel withdrew its request to the IPU to cancel the invitation to the PLO to send observers to the conference, while making it clear that it had not dropped its opposition to a PLO participation.
EXAMPLE OF FORMER ENEMIES
In his speech, Eban urged the establishment of a permanent peace in the Middle East of the kind that exists between former enemies, such as Germany, France and America, the Soviet Union and Japan. Addressing the IPU on Friday, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Eban said the Middle East crisis was prolonged not by any Israeli refusal to withdraw from territories but by Arab refusal to make peace. He linked Israel’s vision of peace with its new interim agreement with Egypt by which both countries exclude the use of armed force to resolve their differences.
The question was whether Arab nationalism, with all of its privileges, could accept Israel’s modest claim to live securely, Eban said. Replying to PLO demands for the dismemberment of Israel, the former Foreign Minister declared, “Israel is not going to disappear or apologize for its sovereign existence or be swallowed up in something else, or renounce its name, its flag, its faith, its Jewish vocation, its Zionist principles, or its specific and unique national identity, Palestine instead of Israel, no.” Eban said.
But, he added, Israel was for a settlement entailing the expression of the Palestine Arabs’ national identity in the Arab state east of Israel. “Let us smash the idolatries of war” as Abraham, the common ancestor of Israelis and Arabs, smashed the idols, Eban urged.
Referring to detente, Eban observed that since the European Security Conference at Helsinki, “the fate of Soviet Jews has not improved and harassment and persecution have increased and freedom to move out has become more restricted.”