UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 20)
The United Nations’ Mission of the People’s Republic of China has circulated here a press release reviewing Mideast developments in 1978, with surprisingly mild remarks about Israel.
Under the headline “Commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent: A Turbulent Year in the Mideast,” the Chinese criticized Israel, charging only that “during the past 30 years, the Zionist Israelis had time and again invaded Arab countries, engaging them in war on four occasions.”
The press release described the Egyptian-Israeli peace talks during 1978 “as the most salient event in the area (Mideast) this year.” It said that President Anwar Sadat of Egypt took up his peace initiative “to force a breakthrough in the state of ‘no war, no peace’ imposed by the two superpowers, particularly the Soviet Union.”
Israel’s interest in peace was described by the Chinese as follows: “As for Israel, its people deeply resent the mounting indebtedness and inflation brought about by the policy of aggression and expansion as well as the country’s isolation in the world. The regime wants peace talks to gain a respite from the internal strain and to get rid of its external isolation.”
Throughout the press release the Soviet Union was depicted as trying to exploit the Arab-Israeli conflict for its own benefit. “It should be noted that the Soviet Union attempted to make use of the delicate situation (following the Camp David accords) to deepen the chasm among the Arab countries.” The press release said, however, that the crux of the Mideast conflict is how to solve the Palestinian question. “It is also the most thorny question,” the Chinese said.