Israel Voices Plea at U.N. for Regional Disarmament in Middle East
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Israel Voices Plea at U.N. for Regional Disarmament in Middle East

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Israel today voiced a powerful plea for regional disarmament, with controls, in the Middle East, as a step toward world disarmament. At the same time, Israel harshly criticized Egypt–without naming that country–for Cairo’s new rocketry program aimed at the heart of Israel.

These statements, coupled with a reiteration of Israel’s oft-repeated plea here for cessation of war propaganda, aggressions and subversive activities by its neighboring Arab states, and the resolution of all disputes by peaceful means, were made in the General Assembly’s Political Committee which is currently debating the issues of general disarmament and a ban on further nuclear testing by the atomic powers.

Gideon Rafael, Deputy-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and Israel’s Ambassadorial representative in that group, addressed the committee and made it clear that many of his barbs were aimed at the Arab states and at Egypt specifically. Without mentioning Egypt by name, he ridiculed Egypt’s double role of advocating disarmament here while escalating the Middle East arms race through missiles which, according to the boast of Egypt’s President Nasser, could hit Israel.

Pointing out that various representatives of other countries in the 110-member committee have spoken favorably about the need for regional or local disarmament arrangements or arms control plans, Mr. Rafael repeated pleas for Middle East disarmament made in past years here by Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, and Ambassador Michael S. Comay, head of Israel’s U.N. delegation.

He noted that the United States representative had stated that such arrangements “must be freely arrived at by the parties concerned in the region,” deriving from that American view the proposition, always repeated here by Israel, that face-to-face talks with the Arab states must lead to such arrangements in its region.

“I would assume, he said, “that this principle applies to any regional disarmament agreement, which must also be accompanied by firm pledges of renunciation of all forms of belligerency and active hostility, and an undertaking to settle disputes by peaceful means.”

An “imperative prerequisite” for the success of any disarmament negotiations, said Mr. Rafael, must be the stipulation that the negotiating countries adopt measures “to strengthen institutions for maintaining peace and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means.”

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