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Eban Says Israelcan Prevent Adoption of Saudi Peace Plan

November 5, 1981
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Two members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee declared here yesterday that the eightpoint Middle East peace plan proposed by Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia will never be implemented.

But former Foreign Minister Abba Eban and Likud MK Yosef Rom warned that expressions by the Reagan Administration of approval for parts of the Fahd plan could wreck the Camp David process.

“We are strong enough to prevent the implementation of any proposal such as this fatal to our security,” Eban, now an opposition Labor MK said. The two MKs, at a briefing at the Israeli Embassy here, said there is a “consensus” in Israel of opposition to the Fahd plan and of concern over U. S. expressions of support for some parts of the proposal.

Eban noted that since 1973, the U. S. has played a “crucial role” in the Mideast peace process and it has been successful because of its “balanced” position. He warned against taking attitudes which “undermine” the U. S. image as a balanced moderator in the Middle East.

Eban said that the Fahd plan was against “contractual” agreements that the U. S. has made with Israel such as not to demand a complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and the U. S. promises not to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization. He said that the Fahd plan, not only went against the Israeli position, but what has been up to now the announced U. S. position.


Both Eban and Rom pointed out that the U. S. rejected the Fahd plan when it was first proposed in August. Eban noted that when he met with Secretary of State Alexander Haig on Oct. 20, Haig had not even mentioned the Fahd plan. Instead the Secretary stressed the need to move ahead with the Camp David process.

Eban and Rom said what was needed now was quick progress on the autonomy talks. Eban urged all three parties, Israel, Egypt and the U. S., to take new positions on autonomy. Rom put the onus only on Egypt and the U. S.

Eban noted that the U. S. and Israel have had “a different concept of Saudi Arabia.” He said Israel has no objections to the U. S. improving its relations with the Saudis but did not want a condition of this improvement to be Israeli concessions. Eban noted that Israel has always been willing to negotiate with Saudi Arabia but stressed that in listing the eight points, Fahd specifically ruled out any negotiations with Israel.

Eban urged the media to stop talking about the Saudis’ recognizing Israel’s right to exist. “I cannot think of a more offensive formulation,” he said. “Our right to exist is independent of anybody’s recognition of it. Our legitimacy is not suspended in midair pending completion and ratification by the Royal House of Saudi Arabia. Eban stressed that Israel is as much a sovereign state as the United States or Saudi Arabia and that what Israel was seeking was normalization with its neighbors, not recognition of its existence.

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