UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 24)
Israel declared here Tuesday that the Palestinian issue can be solved only through direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
Addressing the General Assembly’s annual debate on the Palestinian question, Ambassador Yohanan Bein, the deputy permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations, urged the Arab governments and Arab leaders not to use any longer “their Palestinian brethren as an instrument of polities and hostility.” He called on them instead to have the courage to break with the past and negotiate directly with Israel.
A solution of the Palestinian question should be “based on mutual respect for the rights of Israelis and Arabs alike,” Bein said. He added that a solution of the problem is in the interests of all parties concerned and of the international community as a whole.
Bein stated that in view of the continuing war between Iran and Iraq, the Palestinian question is clearly “not the core, not the central conflict in the Middle East.” He said that “within the framework of these negotiations (between Israel and the Arab countries), the Palestinian issue can find its proper and agreed solution.
“The peoples of our region have now within their grasp the lever by which they can transport themselves into a new era of confidence and peace,” the Israeli envoy declared.
He said it was Israel’s hope that other countries would follow Egypt’s path toward peace with Israel. “Israel, for its part, will continue to place peace at the head of its national priorities,” Bein said.
But he stressed that any peace settlement in the region cannot ignore the fact that an “exchange of populations” took place between Israel and the Arab countries. He said that since Israel was founded in 1948, and mostly in the months immediately thereafter, 1 million Jews fled the Arab countries and some 800,000 of them settled in Israel.
He noted that 600,000 Arabs left Israel. “If we are to pursue the search for a possible settlement, we cannot think in terms of reversing these parallel movements of masses of people, Jews and Arabs. We must be guided, instead, by the successful experience acquired in other parts of the world in integrating refugees in new lands,” Bein said.