Eban Sees Intensive Diplomatic Movement on Mideast in 1977
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Eban Sees Intensive Diplomatic Movement on Mideast in 1977

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Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, here for a dialogue with the leaders of the Combined Jewish Appeal, told a press conference here that “1977 will be a year of intensive diplomatic activity with the United States in the role of a unique mediator between Israel and the Arab states.”

He explained that the Soviet Union has ruled itself out of the negotiating because it has no relations with Israel and the United Nations is out for its extreme resolution. “I see with anxiety the absence of diplomatic activity which cannot but harden the position of the Arab states,” he told reporters Monday.

Eban said the first anniversary of the second Sinai disengagement agreement is viewed in Israel as having fulfilled its purpose–the development of the Suez Canal towns and the defusion of the tension between Israel and Egypt.

He stressed that if peace is established between the Arab states and Israel there are people in Israel sympathetic to the idea of territorial concessions and the side-by-side co-existence of Israelis and Palestinians in the context of a Jordanian-Palestinian state. “If there were peace, we will be very pleased to relinquish the control of one million Arabs,” he said.


Eban contested the morality of the African states which have largely benefitted from Israel’s generosity in the past while challenging the right of Israel to entertain diplomatic and economic relations with South Africa as every Western country does. He said that “Israel remains faithful to its anti-apartheid policy, against racism and divisions left over by colonialism.”

He said that during the last year, U.S. influence in the Middle East became more powerful and that Arab states used “their technical flexibility” when speaking with one voice to the Western countries and another one to their own people. In order to convince the Israeli people of their willingness to live side-by-side with Israel the Arabs must recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel even without having diplomatic relations, similar to the way the U.S. now has relations with the People’s Republic of China.

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