New York (Nov. 1)
Former Foreign Minister Abba Eban declared here that “Every Israeli and every friend of Israel across the world should consider anybody who supports” Saudi Arabia’s eight-point peace plan for the Middle East “as a dangerous adversary.”
Eban, a member of the Knesset and foreign policy spokesman for the opposition Labor Party, said on the other hand that the Senate’s vote last week in favor of the Reagan Administration’s sale of AWACS reconnaissance aircraft and other advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia was not a fair test of American attitudes toward Israel.
In remarks prepared for delivery to 800 American Jewish leaders attending an Israel Bond Organization dinner tonight launching the IBO’s 1982 campaign, Eban observed that “The AWACS discussion was complex; and it should not be assumed that all those who supported the transaction are hostile or indifferent to Israel’s vital interests. I regret that plan was ever conceived, but I cannot regard it as a fair testing ground for determining the attitudes of Americans toward Israel,” he said. The IBO dinner honored Ira Guilden, a prominent American banker and supporter of Israel.
FAHD PLAN WOULD REDUCE ISRAEL TO GHETTO
Eban minced no words in his condemnation of the peace plan first annunciated by Saudi Crown Prince Fahd last August. “The aim and consequence of Prince Fahd’s formula is to reduce Israel from a strong and self-reliant democracy to a stunted, impotent, humiliated ghetto, useless to itself, to the Jewish world and to the international community.”
Eban, whose doveish views have often clashed with the policies of Premier Mencahem Begin’s Likud-led government, observed that “Israelis are deeply divided on many aspects of the Palestine problem, but all of them will join in resisting a plan conceived by a regime which holds our interests, our national identity and our Jewish legacy in undisguised contempt.”
He warned that “The tendency to confuse the area with plans such as this conflicts with what all responsible governments should be attempting to do; they should be trying to give reality and substance to the resumed Camp David negotiations … Camp David is rejected by Saudi Arabia and the PLO not because it disregards Palestinian interests, but because it takes account of Israel’s vital interests,” Eban said.
He said that “What Israel needs least of all is recognition of its ‘right to exist.’ The phrase is full of insult and contempt. Israel’s right to exist, like that of the United States and Saudi Arabia, is axiomatic and unreserved,” the Israeli diplomat said. “Israel’s legitimacy is not suspended in mid-air, awaiting completion through acknowledgement by a desert plutocracy or an organization like the PLO which has no juridical or moral right to award or deny the recognition of states,” Eban said.