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Western Powers Asked Not to Aggravate Arab-israel Tension

October 6, 1953
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The Western Powers were urged last night by Israel Ambassador Abba Eban to avoid aggravating the tension in the Middle East by “the imprudent supply of arms” to the Arab states. He spoke at the national convention of the Pioneer Women, American women’s labor Zionist organization, now taking place here. “Arab nationalism, not Israel, has been the coddled favorite of fortune in the unfolding of Western policy in the Middle East,” he charged.

Mr. Eban stressed this was not a period when “responsible governments concerned with Middle Eastern security” should place arms in hands of “bellicose dictators in the Arab countries” because those dictators refuse to make peace with Israel, He said that no arms should be shipped at least until peace is secured.

“It is disquieting,” Mr. Eban stated, “to see the armistice perverted by Syrian attempts to paralyze economic developments in Northern Israel; by grotesque and explosive Egyptian charges of alleged ‘aggression’ at Auja; by maintenance of blockade practices on which the United Nations ruled that they constitute a violation of the armistice and by a policy of deliberate tension and infiltration on Israel’s frontiers.”

“So long as the present position remains in force, ” he pointed out, Israel’s security problem “should be treated with humility and understanding by other powers which can hardly conceive the mood of a small country which does not have a single center of population more than 30 miles from a dangerous frontier and most of whose homes are within sight of hostile territory.”

He emphasized that the case “for complete abstinence” from shipping arms to the Arabs “is so simple and compelling that it should hardly have to be argued at all,” He added that in Israel he found public opinion “deeply concerned lest the powers be tempted to pursue their own interests by the injudicious allocation of arms to the Arab states at the expense of the region’s security and of Israel’s basic right of survival.”

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