NEW YORK (Aug. 21)
Chaim Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, strongly rejected the charge that Israel’s establishment of Jewish settlements on the West Bank are an “obstacle” to peace.
“Let me remind you that for 19 years from 1948 till 1967 Israel was not establishing settlements in the West Bank” during the period the area was under Jordan, Herzog said in a speech scheduled to be delivered tonight at the 63rd annual national convention of Hadassah at the New York Hilton. “Did the Arabs talk of peace? Did the Arabs negotiate peace?”
The Israeli envoy declared that the “obstacle to peace is the Arab refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s right to sovereignty in its ancient homeland. The obstacle to peace is an implacable Arab refusal to recognize Israel, to negotiate with Israel, to make peace with Israel. The obstacle to peace is the refusal of the Arab countries to sit down at the negotiating table with Israel.”
Herzog also contended that the main issue in the Middle East is not the Arab-Israeli conflict but intra-Arab disputes as seen in Lebanon, North Africa and what he called Somalia’s aggression against Ethiopia, among other conflicts. “The major problem facing the world in our area today is the Arab world, torn, disunited, working at cross purposes, conniving, conspiring one against the other, unstable, and prey every day in each country to the personal ambitions of some aspiring colonel or general,” he said.
REAFFIRMS OPPOSITION TO PLO
Herzog reiterated Israel’s opposition to any dealings with the Palestine Liberation Organization whose record he stressed “is based on the most brutal terrorism.” He said there is no other example in the world except the PLO of an organization calling for the destruction of a nation and a people.
He said while the PLO has brought terrorism into the international arena “there are responsible leaders and statesmen in the world today who believe that by reading implied interpretations into alleged statements of leaders of the PLO, statements that have incidentally never been made by them but are reported by a third party or tendentious newspaper reports, they will solve the problems in the Middle East and bring peace to the world.”
Herzog noted that those who say the PLO has changed are ignoring the statements of the PLO leaders themselves which still call for the elimination of the Jewish State.
ROLE OF HADASSAH STRESSED
Praising the work of Hadassah itself, Herzog noted that in contrast to the steady stream of abuse heaped on Israel from Arab countries, “is the constant stream of Arabs arriving from all over the Middle East in Israel in order to receive medical treatment in Hadassah hospitals. It is indeed as natural for the Arabs to discriminate against the few Jews who remain in the Arab countries as in the case of Syria . . . as it is for Hadassah to minister to the welfare of Arabs not only in Israel and territories administered by Israel but from the Arab world, and as it is for the State of Israel to give equal rights to its Arab population.”