WASHINGTON (Apr. 17)
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban recommended to the Arabs today that they will reach peace in the Middle East by dialing Geneva 242-338. He added “If the PLO wants to enter the club let them read the membership rules.”
Eban, responding to a question before a National Press Club audiences, was referring to the principles of the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions of 1967 and 1973 that call for direct negotiations between Israel and her Arab neighbors to settle their conflict and to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s demand that Israel disappear.
Making his sixth appearance as the Club’s luncheon speaker, Eban did not break any new ground in the current political maneuvering affecting the Middle East. He said, regarding Geneva, that the Soviet Union would appear there as the “unconditional lawyer” for the Arabs, Israel does not ask that position of the United States but Israel and America should at least coordinate principles.
SHUTTLE EFFORT NOT DEAD
Eban flatly refused to respond to a question why President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger blamed Israel for the failure of the Kissinger peace mission for a second-stage Egyptian-Israeli agreement. But he said, “Israel does not have any guilt of conscience” for the breakdown.
“The matter is not dead,” he said regarding the Secretary’s shuttle effort and “perhaps Egypt can become more flexible” and be liberated from thinking that its position is “so perfect.” Egypt, he said, wants to squeeze Israel like an orange. He reminded the Arabs that an Israeli orange has such a tough skin that a squeezer would dislocate his fingers.
On Israeli-American relations, Eban said that “America needs an independent Israel as a friend not a subservient Israel.” Israel, he said, seeks respect for its solitude and can alone determine its requirements for defense since it is Israeli blood and Israeli life alone that is sacrificed. “No outside advice, no matter how friendly, can substitute for an Israeli assessment of itself,” he said.
(By Joseph Polakoff)