NEW YORK (Jan. 12)
Chaim Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, declared today that Israel was not participating in the Security Council debate on the Middle East not only because of the presence of the Palestine Liberation Organization but “because of our unwillingness to be a party to the process of destroying the mechanism for peace in the Middle East by transferring the issue from the Geneva Peace Conference to the Security Council in pursuance of an avowed Syrian-PLO purpose to annul all moves toward peace.”
But the Israeli envoy stressed that Israel is ready to negotiate with the Arabs for peace. “We are ready here and now to negotiate peace–but the operative word is negotiate,” he stressed. “We are not ready to be dictated to and we will not accept a dictate.”
Herzog’s remarks were made in an address to a meeting sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations timed to coincide with the opening of the Security Council. About 250 persons attended the meeting held at the Carnegie International Center, including members of the Presidents Conference and other Jewish leaders, Christian clergymen, labor and civil rights leaders and noted people from the arts.
Attacking the record of the recently-completed 30th General Assembly, Herzog charged that “the United Nations is gradually being turned by a small group of despots led by the Syrians and the PLO in the war-mongering center of the world.” He said that “by allowing small groups of irresponsible extremists to dictate to the UN, the tragedy of the Middle East is being prolonged.” He said that this same process was now being brought into the Security Council.
ISSUE BEFORE THE UN
Herzog stressed that in adopting Resolutions 242 and 338 “the Security Council had created a mechanism which is already beginning to show results in moving our strife tern area towards peace and accommodation,” a reference to the two disengagement agreements with Egypt and the one with Syria. But, he said, extreme elements led by the PLO are trying to destroy this mechan-
Rejecting an anticipated proposal that the PLO be invited to attend the Geneva Conference, Herzog noted its terrorist record and its call for the destruction of the Jewish State. He declared that “despite the hypocritical lip service paid to it by the Arab government.” Egypt has curbed the activities of the PLO. Jordan does not allow it to operate in its territories and even Syria maintains tight controls over them.” “The only place in which they are free to operate is in Lebanon,” he said. “With what tragic consequences we all know.”
CHANGE OF HEART A PREREQUISITE
Herzog also took direct aim at the PLO’s call for a democratic secular state. “If they believe so much in democracy and secularism why has no democratic state risen so far in the Arab world?” he asked. “For 19 years the Jordanians controlled the West Bank and the Egyptians controlled the Gaza Strip. Why was no secular state created there at that time?”
Herzog also scorned the claim by some that if Israel moved back to the pre-1967 borders “all will be solved.” He noted that the present borders were created as a result of a “war which the Arabs brought upon us and upon themselves.” He said that for “19 years we sat along the 1967 borders until the Arabs attacked in 1967” but during that time the Arabs did not make peace nor did they negotiate for peace.
“The issue is not a question of territory, it is not a question of Palestinians, although these are both important,” Herzog declared. He said the issue is a “change of heart” in which the Arabs agree to accept the existence of Israel. “The question is at what point Arab nationalism, with its prodigious glut of advantage, wealth and opportunity, will come to terms with the modest but equal rights of another Middle Eastern nation to pursue its life in security and peace,” he said.
DISMAL DAY IN UN HISTORY
Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Presidents Conference, in introducing Herzog, said today was “a dismal day in the history of the United Nations and in the efforts to reach a just and enduring peace” because the UN had surrendered to “PLO terror.” Miller urged the United States government to “resist the Arab-Soviet drive to substitute dictation at the Security Council for negotiations at Geneva.” He urged the U.S. to block any attempts to alter Resolutions 242 and 338 and to veto any new resolutions.
At a press conference following the address, Herzog said that even if the U.S. was to go along with any new resolution Israel would not accept it if it was not in its national interest. But he rejected a suggestion that Israel might leave the UN, saying that this is what the Arabs want. Israelis, he affirmed, do not run away from fights. He also noted that the UN still serves as a good place for diplomatic contents.