UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 7)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon told the United Nations General Assembly today that his country is prepared “now, even before peace is made,” to negotiate with the Arabs for a balanced limitation of the inflow of arms into the Middle East “in such a manner that the burden will be lightened for all without affecting adversely the security and defensive capacity of any.” But, Allon added, as long as the Arabs continue to arm themselves with highly sophisticated modern weapons. “Israel is compelled to keep up and will keep up.”
In a major 40-minute policy address, Allon dealt with the Issues of settling the Arab-Israeli conflict; the Lebanese crisis; terrorism; the UN system; racism; Soviet and Syrian Jewry; and other important issues.
Israel, Allon declared, is ready to participate in a reconvened Geneva peace conference. He emphasised, however, that it would do so only in accordance with the “original composition” of the Geneva conference “at any mutually acceptable time.” This was a reference to the parties invited to Geneva by the UN in Dec. 1973.
He said that at a reconvened Geneva meeting Israel would hope to negotiate “with each of our neighbors a peace which will emerge from the region itself, a final peace settlement based on a fair compromise and which, on the one hand, will provide Israel with defensible borders and on the other satisfy genuine Arab interests including, within the context of the settlement with our eastern neighbor (Jordan) a just and constructive solution to the problems of Palestinian Arab identity.”
Allon’s reference to the Geneva peace conference was seen by diplomats here as an indirect response to a letter sent by the Soviet Union over the past weekend to Israel and the Arab states calling for an early resumption of the conference. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko issued a similar call in his address to the General Assembly last month.
Diplomats here also noted that while Allon referred to the Palestinian problem, he did not mention the PLO at any point in his 27-page speech. They noted that the PLO has, in fact, been ignored by many speakers at the General Assembly this year, including Arab delegations, which they saw as a sign of its weakened position in the world organization.
WARNING ON TERRORISM
On the issue of international terrorism, Allon said the record of the UN in combatting terrorism was “dismal.” He said Israel welcomed the proposal by West Germany to the General Assembly calling on that body to draft a convention barring the taking of hostages and providing for the prosecution or extradition of terrorists.
He warned that “nobody is immune” to terrorism and observed that terrorism has become especially dangerous nowadays because of the terrorists’ access to sophisticated modern weapons and the complicity of certain states “which supply these weapons, frequently delivered in their diplomatic bags, and provide terrorists with shelter and comfort.”
HOPES FOR PEACE IN LEBANON
On the situation in Lebanon, Allon said Israel desires that peace and tranquility are restored in that country. “We expect that the future constitutional structure of Lebanon will be determined by the citizens of Lebanon in their respective communities and by them alone,” he said. Allon added that Israel expects “that foreign troops, both regular and irregular, will leave the country and above all that Lebanon will not again become a base for attacks on Israel and its people.”
He criticized the silence of the Security Council over the tragedy in Lebanon. He said that this silence is an “awful warning to all small states. It is clear that a country which relies on the UN for its security, a country which cannot defend itself by its own means, is lost.”
Allon further criticized the world organization for what he termed “the power of a mechanical majority to bend the organization to its own purposes.” He emphasized that the UN’s specialized agencies must abandon “the dangerous paths of politization” and called for full participation of all members in all UN activities by “strict alphabetical rotation instead of the discriminatory bloc system.”
Hitting at the Arab strategy of trying to connect Israel with South Africa in order to prove that it is racist, Allon noted that “most of the world maintains links” with South Africa. He pointed out that South Africa’s trade totalled over $12 billion in 1974 but “of this huge sum, the share of Israel was less than two-fifths of one percent, infinitely smaller than the share of many Arab and some African countries.”