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Rafael Says Arabs Use Canal Issue to Divert Unctad from Real Tasks

April 28, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Declaring that his delegation has “listened with forbearance to the monumental amount of exhortation, distortions and fulminations” by the Arab representatives, Ambassador Gideon Rafael, head of Israel’s delegation to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), urged the conference today to “get on with its constructive work and devote Its energies and capacities to the solution of problems within its scope and competence.”

Rafael was referring to the conference’s decision, under Arab pressure, to discuss the continued closure of the Suez Canal as a major obstacle to the free development of trade and industry in the Middle East. “My government supports the efforts to restore the Suez Canal as an artery through which world maritime trade should flow unhindered,” Rafael said, but UNCTAD “Is neither the time nor the place to discuss this sensitive issue.”


The Israeli envoy said that his was the only country which suffered economic effects from the closure of the Suez Canal prior to 1967 because Israel was the only country whose shipping was barred from the waterway. Rafael said there was no resolution on the books of the UN which called on Israel to withdraw its forces from all the occupied Arab territories and no resolution was ever adopted that places responsibility for the events of June, 1967 on Israel.

“There is a resolution which calls upon the parties to the conflict to seek agreement on the establishment of a Just and lasting peace, to establish secure and recognized boundaries to which forces should be withdrawn and to recognize each other’s sovereign independence and to guarantee freedom of navigation through the Suez Canal to all,” Rafael said.

At ceremonies here last night, the Jewish Community of Chile conferred the 1971 Human Rights Award of the Latin American Jewish Congress on the Chilean Cardinal, Msgr. Raul Silva Henriquez.

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