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News Brief

October 10, 1961
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“We propose that, simultaneously with the search for a general agreement on disarmament, we should seek to reach agreement also on disarmament with mutual inspection and control for specific zones or situations of international tension. Such a scheme would serve as a pilot project for the solution of the overall problem. Israel is prepared to elaborate a program to that end, and we call upon the Arab states to cooperate with us in this venture.”


As in past years, Mrs. Meir emphasized the fact that the Middle East is more than an Arab area, pointing out that the Middle East has more non-Arab inhabitants than Arabs. “Israel enjoys relations of friendship,” she pointed out, with all Middle Eastern peoples “except those belonging to the Arab League.”

Mrs. Meir reminded the delegates that Israeli-Arab disputes do not make up “the only source of tension” In the region. Without mentioning the break-up of the United Arab Republic by Syria’s secession, she referred to “recurrent crises” in the region, tore apart the image of “Arab unity” as a valid picture, and said: “The image of that unity is a somewhat battered one, and hostility to Israel is at least in part an attempt by Arab leaders to divert the attentions of their peoples from their own unresolved problems.”

Since decolonization of the world is one of the important issues at this year’s Assembly, which includes more than 40 new states that were formerly colonies of Western Powers, she referred to “the great process of decolonization,” expressing hope for “speedy independence” for Angola, asserting that Israel’s Congo policy is a position calling for “the Congo for Congolese,” and in general stands for freedom and self-determination for all peoples.

In this context, she referred also to another agenda item, which would outlaw all racial and religious discrimination, and recalled Israel’s trial of Gestapo Colonel Adolf Eichmann. That trial, she said, “has poignantly reminded us of the depth of human degradation and suffering to which racial hatred can lead.”


Mrs. Meir expressed Israel’s grief at the “human tragedy, the great loss to the world” in the untimely death of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold. “The impact of this blow,” she said, “has been felt not only by our Organization, but in the hearts and minds of people everywhere who saw in him the personal symbol of their hopes for a secure and decent world.”

However, she stated, the UN must face now “the problem of filling the void.” Without mentioning the Soviet Union and its drive toward a “troika” Secretariat leadership, she stated firmly: “There should be one single Secretary-General.” The “troika” concept is not acceptable to Israel, she said, since Israel “does not share the view that the world is divided into three blocs.” Each nation, she said, must determine for itself “where it stands in the affairs of the world,” and not be labeled by others as belonging to one bloc or another.

She made it clear that Israel would not tolerate the selection of Mongi Slim, of Tunisia, the anti-Israeli who is now president of the General Assembly, as the top executive officer of the United Nations. Avoiding mention of either Mr. Slim or his country by name, she stated that, in Israel’s view, the Secretary-General “should not be a national of a country involved in a serious conflict regarding which the Secretary-General is called upon to exercise responsibilities.” Mr. Slim’s country is a member of the Arab League.

Mrs. Meir referred to the recent border incidents in which Israeli frontier patrols shot five Israeli Arab youths who refused to halt efforts to cross illegally into the Gaza Strip as “another regrettable result of the border warfare which is part of the belligerence practiced by the Arab state against Israel.” As to the Arab population inside Israel she said:

“We challenge any Arab country to match the progress in universal, free, compulsory education, health services, economic welfare, rate of employment, standards of living, status of women–which are enjoyed by our Arab citizens who comprise about 12 percent of our population.”

Mrs. Meir concluded her address with a renewed plea for negotiation as the sols alternative to war, declaring:

“Fellow-delegates: If we are convinced that the only result of modern warfare will be the annihilation of mankind, then we must accept the only decisive lesson that is left. This great Organization must have the strength to fulfill its supreme aim–the settlement of conflicts between nations in peace and for peace. For there is one fear we all share–it is the awesome fear for the fate of the earth and of man upon it.”

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