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Eshkol Tells Knesset Security Council Showed Bias Against Israel

March 26, 1968
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Yesterday’s Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s preventive attack on terrorist bases in Jordan was challenged by Prime Minister Eshkol in a speech to the Knesset (Parliament) today. He charged the Council with bias against Israel and declared that “until there is peace we shall keep standing guard over our security. Let the nation know this, let our friends know it and let our enemies know it,” the Prime Minister said. The Knesset overwhelmingly approved a resolution endorsing the Government’s policy.

The Prime Minister spoke before a packed chamber following a political debate in which speakers of all factions, except the Communists, agreed to the necessity of last Thursday’s preventive military strike against terrorist bases. Mr. Eshkol said that the decision to strike was made after a school bus loaded with children hit a terrorist-planted mine on a Negev road a week ago, killing two persons and injuring 28 children and teachers. But, he stressed, last Thursday’s military operation was not punitive and not a reprisal, but the only alternative to halt Jordan-based terrorist activities on an increasing scale. Mr. Eshkol disclosed that only those weapons and forces were employed that were necessary to achieve the limited objective of destroying terrorist bases.

The Prime Minister said that Sunday’s resolution demonstrated that the Security Council tends to accept a situation in which one side is free to continue warfare while the other is told to put up with violations of the U.N. Charter and decisions. He said the Security Council had shown a similar bias in previous instances. This time, he noted, the Council’s composition has changed and includes five nations that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Nevertheless, he said, it should have shown a greater understanding of a situation that was created by Israel’s enemies.

Mr. Eshkol reiterated Israel’s willingness to make every constructive effort toward peace but added that only a real peace will put an end to the Arabs’ continuing policy of belligerence. Last Thursday’s operation, he said, should serve as a warning to saboteurs and to those who refuse to prevent their activities. He replied to King Hussein’s assertion last Friday that Jordan would not “guard Israel’s security,” declaring “we never asked him to do that. He is required only to fulfill the obligations he entered into when he accepted the cease-fire.” He stated that “if the Jordan Government acquiesces in the continuation of acts of war from her territory, and especially if it continues to aid terror groups, it is taking a heavy responsibility on itself.”

The Prime Minister said that, in 37 raids from Jordan since mid-February, six persons were killed and more than 60 were injured. Karameh in central Jordan and Safi, in the south, both hit by Israeli troops Thursday, were converted into the main bases against Israel, Mr. Eshkol said. Here El Fatah and other terrorist organizations maintained their headquarters. In all, Israeli forces struck at ten terrorist centers including four training bases and supply stores. He disclosed that the terrorist camps held members of an Egyptian fedeyeen battalion as well as regular Iraqi and Syrian soldiers loaned to the terrorists. “We know this operation hasn’t solved the problems of terror.” Mr. Eshkol said, “but it dealt a heavy blow to the terrorists and prevented sabotage which might have cost the lives of many peaceful citizens.”

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