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Eban: Mideast Peace Cannot Be Settled by Either U.S. or USSR

November 15, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban said here last night that peace in the Middle East was not a matter for the United States or the Soviet Union to settle but to be reached by the parties involved in the conflict. Speaking at a press conference prior to addressing the Jewish United Fund-Israel Emergency Campaign dinner which marked the official launching of its 1974 campaign, Eban observed that the weight of the two superpowers in the Mideast would undoubtedly influence the situation. “But the two countries should not tell their friends what to do and what to accept.”

This statement came some 24 hours after Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger suggested in Peking that the U.S. was considering offering Israel a mutual security treaty, and several hours after Israeli Premier Golda Meir told a special session of the Knesset that Israel would not return to June 4, 1967 lines “which invite our neighbors to aggression.”

Focusing on the Arab oil boycott moves, Eban suggested some form of international convention to prevent the oil states from “keeping their hands on the throats” on the millions of people wanting oil. Noting that the Arabs were making extortionate use of their oil monopoly, the Israeli diplomat said, “One day the world will have to take up the question of whether a few countries should have such wide control of the world’s energy.”

He said that those countries agreeing to accept Arab oil boycotts were diminishing their own sovereignty. “The Arabs are imposing winters on people who are not concerned with the Middle East war,” he stated. The international convention he said he was suggesting was similar to the convention dealing with oil beds discovered at sea to handle the matter. He said he was not suggesting international occupation of the oil areas.

During his address Saturday night to the 42nd General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federation and Welfare Funds in New Orleans, Eban suggested that those nations facing an Arab oil boycott undertake crash programs to develop independent sources of energy. He noted that such programs were undertaken during World War II when the allied nations were faced with the development of nuclear weapons by Nazi Germany and that the U.S. had developed a crash program to meet the Soviet air space travel program.


Returning to the issue of peace in the Middle East. Eban told the press conference here that a peace boundary would not be the present cease-fire line nor the cease-fire line before the Yom Kippur war erupted. Boundaries must be negotiated “in such a way as to provide Israel with self-defense,” he said.

On the prisoner of war issue, he said that not even a theoretical agreement had been reached with Syria for the return of the Israeli POWs. He stated that United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim had agreed to play an active role on the humanitarian aspect of this question. This was seen as a reference to the announcement yesterday in the UN that Undersecretary General Roberto E. Guyer left New York Monday on a tour of Middle East capitals to discuss, among other issues, the situation of the POWs.

Leaving Chicago this morning on his way to address the biennial convention of the United Synagogue of America in Kiamesha Lake, N.Y., Eban told leaders of the JUF who accompanied him to the airport that their meeting last night was the most impressive Jewish meeting “that I have attended in many years.” It was announced at the meeting that the 1974 JUF-IEF had reached the $23.5 million mark since the outbreak of the Yom Kippur war as part of the $900 million target set for the American Jewish community.

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