Eban, at U.n., Offers Coexistence to Arabs; Refers to USSR Jewry
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Eban, at U.n., Offers Coexistence to Arabs; Refers to USSR Jewry

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Abba Eban, Israel’s Foreign Minister, called here today upon the Arab states to observe the oft-repeated United Nations principles of coexistence and peaceful settlement of all disputes. At the same time, he urged the Soviet Union, which had been in the forefront here of the drive toward stressing the principle of coexistence, to extend observance of that principle toward USSR Jewry. In this context, he mentioned the Soviet Union specifically.

Mr. Eban made these statements, among others, in delivering his major address at the current session of the General Assembly before a plenary meeting of the body. He spoke during the “general debate, ” a procedure in which highest ranking leaders of U. N. delegations voice the major foreign affairs policies currently guiding their respective governments.

Noting, half-way through his long, 19-page address, that, behind the Israeli-Arab frontiers, established by armistice agreements reached in 1949, “the national life of sovereign states have become crystallized in an increasingly stable mold, ” the Israel Foreign Minister stated that “there is some evidence that thoughtful minds in the Middle East are becoming skeptical about threats to change the existing territorial and political structure by armed force.” He pointed out that “such threats and the policies concerted to support them” violate not only the bilateral Israeli-Arab armistice agreements but violate also the U.N. Charter.

“It is not necessary, ” he said, “to formulate new or special principles for peace and security in the Middle East. Nothing is required beyond the precise application of Charter principles which enjoin respect for the sovereignty of states and the abstention from the use or threat of force against their integrity and independence.

“We hold that Israel and each Middle Eastern state have an absolute right to maintain their sovereignty and integrity immune from the threat or use of force. We stand for the precise and reciprocal application of Charter principles and of existing agreements. We make no claim against the integrity or the independence of other states. We have no concern with the nature of their regimes. We assume that different social and political systems, different attitudes to traditional culture, are destined to coexist in the Middle East, as in other parts of the world. What is needed is the consolidation, not the destruction, of existing elements of stability in the Middle East.


“If our neighbors refuse us recognition and contact, we shall pursue our national development and international vocation as best we can, and with strong prospect of success. While peace is not an indispensable condition of our existence, we hold it to be a high aim fraught with equal benefit to our neighbors and to us. A peace settlement, freely and directly negotiated, would inaugurate a new and glorious chapter in Middle East history.

“Indeed, the negotiation of an agreement on arms limitation might be the first step leading to a more stable coexistence. Only by establishing peaceful and stable conditions amongst themselves can the states of the Middle East keep the area free from external intervention, such as invariably arises wherever tension grows. All the residual problems left behind by the war launched against Israel 18 years ago, including those created by movements of population in both directions between Israel and the Arab states, could be solved in an atmosphere of bilateral, regional and international cooperation. Thus, in full respect of existing sovereignties, and of the region’s creative diversity an entirely new story never told before would unfold across the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Mr. Eban told the Assembly: “Coexistence means more than mere abstention from conflict. International solidarity is composed of countless links that transcend national frontiers.” Such links, he said, include those that “unite religious, ethnic and cultural communities in their devotion to a common experience and common faith. There is not much meaning to the idea of coexistence unless the world is increasingly open to the constructive expression of these affinities.” Alluding then, pointedly, toward the situation of the Jews in the Soviet Union, he declared:


“Of special significance to my people are the links which unite the Jewish communities of the world in common pride and devotion and above all in tragic memory. This year I was able, on Polish soil, to visit the scene of the extermination of six million of our people by the Nazis. I saw the mountains of women’s hair shorn from the bodies of executed victims and the piles of children’s shoes torn from their feet before they were committed to the furnace. The governments and peoples of Europe, and especially of Eastern Europe, who witnessed and experienced the horrors inflicted by Nazism are our partners in the memory of these fearful acts. We should not forget that the United Nations itself was originally an anti-Nazi coalition charged with the duty of preventing any recurrence of the most fearful anguish that had ever befallen any family of the human race.

“It is inevitable that Jewish communities who witnessed and survived this assault feel a more profound need to express their mutual solidarity. The wounds of war have not yet been healed. Countless families have been separated and dispersed across different countries and continents, and still cherish the hope of reunion. There is a natural longing of these communities to join together in the expression and further development of the spiritual heritage which lies at the root of their identity. These impulses have led to an international interest in the right of Jewish communities everywhere freely to develop their specific culture.

“Thus, men of good will and progressive outlook who throughout the world recognize the historic role of the USSR in crushing the Nazi perpetrators of the Jewish tragedy in Europe, have expressed a natural desire to see the largest Jewish community in Europe enabled to have access to its own particular heritage and to make contact with others who share it throughout the world. In a Europe increasingly open to movement between its Eastern and Western parts, in a world in which barriers are falling and international contacts are being multiplied, the renewal of contact between kindred communities will become a natural corollary of peaceful coexistence.”


Other issues discussed by Mr. Eban included the following:

He expressed the “ardent” hope that Secretary-General U Thant will accept reelection to his office;

He voiced a hope that the General Assembly will make further progress toward the formulation and proclamation of human rights, endorsing the move here toward appointment of a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

He called for more strenuous efforts, both by the big powers and the smaller nations, to make a reality of plans for aiding underdeveloped countries, declaring that the goals of the current U.N. “Development Decade, ” now at its half-way mark “have not been attained or even approached”

He endorsed the “two Chinas” principles being advocated by some delegations here, under which Communist China would be admitted but the Chiang Kai Shek Government on Formosa would also continue to hold U.N. membership;

He reiterated Israel’s previously-voiced policies for U.N. intensification of “its presence upon the illegal regime in Rhodesia, ” South Africa’s forfeiture of its mandate over Southwest Africa, independence for Portuguese-run Mozambique and Angola, and “condemnation of Apartheid” in South Africa. In this connection, he stated: “Israel’s solidarity with Africa on this question is determined by the memories that our people carry with them across generations of martyrdom and discrimination.”

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