SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Apr. 16)
Former Foreign Minister Abba Eban of Israel issued a veiled endorsement of President Carter Monday night when he stated that “a President that helped us achieve a peace treaty that we never achieved before and under whose regime we have received $10 billion worth of aid, more than in all the treaties of 26 years put together, cannot be subject to any derogatory reference by an Israeli …. This is in the full tradition of the support of every American President from Truman to Carter.”
Eban, who is visiting the United States as a scholar-in-residence at Princeton University’s Institute or Advanced Studies, addressed a capacity crowd of 1250 at Temple Beth El here.
He held that the intertwined history of Jews and Moslems in the Middle East is perceived in radically different ways by the two groups, both of which views impeded conciliation. Arab Moslems, according to Eban, see the Mideast as their region “so that anything in it that is not Arab or Moslem reflects itself in their imagination as external, alien, hostile, disconcerting, artificial. They have a monolithic view of the Middle East.”
On the other hand, the Israelis conceive of the Middle East as “a tapestry of many colors of which the central thread was woven by Jewish experience for thousands of years,” Eban said.
In spite of such a profoundly different conceptual framework, the Israeli-Egyptian accords hammered out at Camp David caused “a breach in both walls,” Eban said. He affirmed that continuing negotiations will serve to temper both Arab rejection and Israeli suspicion.