Ben Gurion Outlines Policy on Peace with Egypt; Knesset Approves It
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Ben Gurion Outlines Policy on Peace with Egypt; Knesset Approves It

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The present stand of the Israel Government with regard to Egypt and to the stationing of foreign forces in Israel-held territory was approved by the Israel Parliament today following a speech by Premier David Ben Gurion in which he outlined a seven-point policy. The vote was 88 to 3.

Only the Communist deputies voted against. All other opposition members of the Parliament–and even the Arab and Druze, members–were among the deputies who voted support for the Ben Gurion government policy. The near unanimous vote of confidence was received enthusiastically with the spontaneous singing of “Hatikvah,” the national anthem, by members of Parliament, members of the Cabinet and the crowds in the gallery.

Mr. Ben Gurion’s seven-point declaration, which he offered the world “with full moral force and unflinching determination,” follows:

1. The armistice agreement with Egypt is dead and buried and cannot be restored to life.

2. In consequence, the armistice lines between Israel and Egypt have no more validity.

3. There is no dispute whatsoever between the people of Israel and the Egyptian people.

4. We do not wish our relations with Egypt to continue in the present anarchic state and we are ready to enter into negotiations for a stable peace, cooperation and good neighborly relations with Egypt on condition that they are direct negotiations without prior conditions on either side and not under duress from any quarter whatsoever.

5. We hope that all peace-loving nations will support our desire for such negotiations with each of the Arab states, but even if they are unprepared for a permanent peace, so long as they observe the armistice agreements, Israel for her part will do so, too.

6. On no account will Israel agree to the stationing of a foreign force, no matter how it is called, in her territory or in any of the area occupied by her.

7. Israel will not fight against any Arab country or against Egypt unless she is attacked by them.

In a hushed House, only 1,200 yards from the Jordan border behind which the armies of four Arab states were being marshalled, Mr. Ben Gurion declared that in a “feat unprecedented in Jewish history and equalled by few in the history of the world,” the Israel army had whipped 30,000 Egyptian troops, the pride of Nasser’s armed forces, who had been armed with the vast quantities of the most modern weapons of warfare on land or air.


Explaining that the Israeli forces were under orders to halt short of the Suez Canal, the Premier said: “The army made no effort to occupy enemy territory in Egypt. It limited its operation to freeing the area from northern Sinai to the tip of the Red Sea.” He added the hope that the Egyptian dictator would not “compel Israel to violate the Biblical injunction never to return to that country.”

Dipping back into history, the scholarly Premier noted that until 1,400 years ago Jewish independence had been maintained on the island of Yotbat, south of the Gulf of Elath, which was yesterday liberated by the Israel army. He quoted, in the original Greek, from a Greek historian of the sixth century C. E. to buttress his contention that Yotbat–Tiran–was Jewish.

The Premier, detailing Egyptian blockade of the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Elath against Israeli and Israel-bound shipping, pointed out that Nasser had not contented himself with attempting the economic strangulation of Israel. “He organized and built up in all the Arab countries special units of murderers who crossed the border to sow terror among workers in the field and civilians in their homes,” he said. Underlining Nasser’s repeated statement of his determination to wipe Israel off the map, the Premier emphasized: “It is not an accident that in the large quantity of supplies captured by our forces in the Sinai desert we also found Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.”


Reviewing at great length the events which led to the Israeli jump-off into the Sinai desert, Mr. Ben Gurion said: “It was our duty to take urgent and effective measures for self-defense.”

He reported that while Israel was mobilizing her forces, one to hold the Jordan border and the other building up in the south, he had received two messages from President Eisenhower expressing concern over the mobilization. In his reply to the President, Mr. Ben Gurion said, he had reminded Mr. Eisenhower that American efforts in behalf of peace had been supported by Israel but sabotaged by Nasser. He added:

“I also informed the President of the increasing gravity of the situation arising from the dictator’s expansionist aims, the extent of his rearmament and attempts to undermine the independence of the Arab countries and, above all, of his overt intention to destroy Israel, his establishing a military alliance with Jordan and Syria under Egyptian command and the renewal of fedayeen activities.”

Mr. Ben Gurion stressed that his reply to the President of the United States concluded with the statement: “My government would be failing in its essential duty if it does not take all necessary measures to ensure that the declared Arab aim to eliminate Israel by force should come about.”

In a reference to the international uproar over the Israeli action, Premier Ben Gurion said: “I will not ask the United Nations why it did not take equally prompt action when the Arab countries invaded our country in 1948 when we revived our state in accordance with the General Assembly’s own recommendations.

“There isn’t a people in the world so deeply concerned for the principles of peace and justice contained in the United Nations Charter than the Jewish people–not only because these principles are part of our ancient spiritual heritage and were passed on by us to the civilized world, but because the entire future of our people depends largely on the rule of peace and justice in the world.”

The Premier was particularly bitter about the huge quantities of arms which the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia had supplied to Egypt. “Certainly neither the supplier nor the recipient meant them to fall into Israel hands–on the contrary, they were meant to bring the downfall of Israel.” He charged that the Soviet Union, and also the United States and Britain, had appeased the “fascist dictator of Egypt at the expense of international law and the maintenance of the prestige of the Security Council and the United Nations Charter.”

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