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May 17, 1991 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-05-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Eban Says Gulf War Has
Assured Israel's Survival

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raq's defeat in the Per-
sian Gulf war has dra-
matically altered Israel's
security needs by elim-
inating the Jewish state's
only real military threat, ac-
cording to Abba Eban, the
elder statesman of Israeli
diplomacy.
Mr. Eban, during a recent
talk in Baltimore, labeled
the Gulf war "one of the tur-
ning points of world history"
— and a blessing for Israel.
"Now, for the first time,
we look across the Jordan
and we do not see any seri-
ous military power to
threaten our existence," said
Mr. Eban, the former Labor
government foreign minister
and ambassador to the
United States and United
Nations.
"Israel's permanence in
the Middle East has been
assured" by virtue of its
military superiority over its
Arab neighbors, he asserted.
And with its survivability
certain, the 75-year-old Mr.
Eban added, now is the time
for Jerusalem to take con-
crete steps toward divesting
itself of the occupied ter-
ritories — and their hostile
Arab populations — in
return for peace treaties
with the Arab world.
Retaining the territories,
Mr. Eban said, will only con-
tinue to erode Israel's
democratic ideals, divide
Israeli public opinion and
prompt international con-
demnation.
"Something that gets Jews
killed and makes war more
inevitable is no longer an
asset. If we want peace, we
must look at a new ter-
ritorial alignment," said Mr.
Eban, who criticized Israel's
Likud government for allow-
ing new settlements in the
territories during U.S. Sec-
retary of State James
Baker's Middle East peace
shuttle.
. While also noting Arab in-
transigence, Mr. Eban
warned that Jerusalem's
continued hardline runs the
risk of seriously damaging
the Israeli-American alli-
ance, a prospect he views as
exceedingly dangerous for
Israel.
"As one of the founders of
the Israeli-American alli-
ance, I say it is not too much
to suspend new settlements

Ira Rifkin is assistant editor of
the Baltimore Jewish Times.

Abba Eban:
Critical of Likud.

if that is what the United
States wants," Mr. Eban
said.
Turning to Israel's new-
found security situation, Mr.
Eban — who spoke for an
hour extemporaneously and
received a standing ovation
both before and after his ad-
dress — said Iraq's army is
no longer an external threat
following its crushing defeat
at the hands of the U.S.-led
coalition.
Jordan, he continued,
lacks any real military
might, and the Palestinian

"Something that
gets Jews killed
and makes war
more inevitable is
no longer an
asset."

Abba Eban

Liberation Organization,
while a terrible nuisance,
lacks the firepower to affect
"any change whatsoever" in
Israel's borders.
That leaves Syria as
Israel's most dangerous
adversary, but Damascus, he
explained, has only attacked
Israel when it could count on
the support of Egyptian and
Iraqi troops and Moscow's
diplomatic safety net. The
decline of the Soviet Union,
Egypt's peace treaty with
Israel and Iraq's battlefield
loss have eliminated all
those factors, leaving Syria
in a relatively weakened
military state, according to
Mr. Eban.
Given that scenario, he
emphasized, Israel should
seek a diplomatic opening to
resolve its problems with
Syria. "In a spirit of vig-
ilance, but with a certain
serenity, Israel should look

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