Agenda item 5:
Letter dated 13 June 1967 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (A/6717)
President: Mr. Abdul Rahman PAZHWAK
AGENDA ITEM 5
letter dated 13 June 1967 from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (A/6717)
1. The PRESIDENT: In accordance with the decision taken by the General Assembly at its last meeting, we shall today being consideration of the item which is before the emergency special session.
2. Mr. KOSYGIN (Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics): Representatives of almost all States of the world have gathered for this special emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly to consider the grave and dangerous situation which has developed in recent days in the Near East, a situation which arouses deep concern everywhere.
3. True, no hostilities are under way there at this moment. The fact that a cease-fire has been brought about is a definite success for the peace-loving forces. This is in no small way due to the Security Council, although it failed to discharge fully its obligation under the United Nations Charter. The aggression is continuing. The armed forces of Israel are occupying territories in the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan.
4. As long as Israeli troops continue to occupy the territories seized by them, and urgent measures are not taken to eliminate the consequences of aggression, a military conflict can flare up with renewed force at any minute.
5. That is exactly why the Soviet Union took the initiative in convening an emergency session of the General Assembly. We are pleased to note that many States supported our proposal. They have displayed their awareness of the dangers with which the situation is fraught and manifested their concern for the consolidation of peace.
6. The General Assembly is confronted with the primary task of adopting decisions that would clear the way for a restoration of peace in the Middle East. This task concerns all States irrespective of differences in social or political systems and philosophical outlook, irrespective of geography and alignment with this or that grouping. It can be solved only if the multiple and complex nature of today's world does not relegate to the background the common bond that joins States and peoples together, and above all the need to prevent a military disaster.
7. What question is now uppermost in the minds of all peoples? We believe that all the participants in the General Assembly will agree that the peoples of the world are concerned above all about the problem of how to avoid this military disaster.
8. Not a single people wants war. Nowadays no one doubts that a new world war, if it started, would inevitably be a nuclear war. Its consequences would be disastrous for many countries and peoples of the world. The more far-sighted statesmen from various countries and prominent thinkers and scientists have warned us of this from the very first day nuclear weapons came into existence.
9. The nuclear age has created a new reality in questions of war and peace. It has laid upon States an immeasurably greater responsibility in all that pertains to these problems. No politician can dispute this, nor any military man, unless he has lost the capacity for sober thought, all the more so because the military man can imagine better than anyone else the aftermath of a nuclear war.
10. However, the practice of international relations abounds in facts which show that certain States take quite a different approach. Continuous attempts are made to interfere in the internal affairs of independent countries and peoples, to impose upon them from outside political concepts and alien views on social order. Everything is done to breathe new life into military blocs. A network of military bases, the strong points of aggression, flung far and wide all over the world, is being refurbished and perfected. Naval fleets are plying the seas thousands of miles from their own shores and threaten the security of States over entire regions.
11. Even in those cases when the aggravation of tension or the emergence of hotbeds of war danger is connected with conflicts involving relatively small States, not infrequently big Powers are behind them. This applies not only to the Middle East, where aggression has been committed by Israel, backed by bigger imperialist Powers, but also to other areas of the world.
12. For nearly three years now the United States of America, having cast aside all camouflage, has been carrying out direct aggression against the Vietnamese people.
13. This war is being waged in order to impose on the Vietnamese people a system favourable to foreign imperialist circles. It is no exaggeration to say that the world has branded the perpetrators of this war. There is a way to solve the Vietnamese problem and it is a simple one: the United States must leave Viet-Nam and withdraw its forces. First and foremost, it must immediately and unconditionally stop the bombing of the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam. No statements about readiness to seek a peaceful solution of the Vietnamese question can sound convincing unless this is done. Such statements by United States spokesmen should not be at variance with the actual deeds of the United States. It must be taken into account that the continuing war in Viet-Nam intensifies the risk of this military conflict spreading beyond the boundaries of this area and is fraught with the terrible danger of escalating into a major military clash between the Powers. This is precisely what the present course of the United States forebodes.
14. The hostile attitude towards socialist Cuba, military interventions first in the Congo, then in the Dominican Republic, attempts at armed suppression of peoples in the colonial territories striving for their independence-all these are links of the same chain, manifestations of a far from peaceful policy on the part of those who by their actions are creating and fanning international tensions and precipitate international crises.
15. Let us turn to Europe, the continent where the First and Second World Wars started. There the principal concern of the Soviet Union and of our friends and allies, and many other States, has been, throughout the post-war period-and still is-to prevent a new world war, to curb the forces that would like to take revenge for their defeat in the Second World War.
16. The forces that would like to follow in the footsteps of the Hitlerites have long since clearly emerged in the process of the struggle for peace in Europe. These forces are in West Germany. It is there that a refusal to accept the results of the war has been openly expressed through the post-war years, that demands are made to revise the frontiers of Europe established after the war, and that weapons of mass destruction are eagerly sought. These forges have formed a bloc with non-European aggressive forces, which is a threat to all peoples.
17. The militarists and revanchists of the Federal Republic of Germany should know that any attempt to translate their harebrained plans into reality would entail grave disasters for the peoples, and would be fraught above all with fatal danger for West Germany itself.
18. The Soviet Union is firmly in favour of peace in Europe. It bases its European policy upon respect for the boundaries established after the war, including those between the two sovereign German States-the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany.
19. This is a far from exhaustive list of the phenomena that bring tension to international life and sometimes lead to explosive situations and the flaring up of hotbeds of war.
20. If we analyse the events in the Middle East, we are bound to conclude that the war between Israel and the Arab States did not result from some kind of disagreement or inadequate understanding of one side by the other. Nor is this just a local conflict. The events that recently took place in the Middle East in connexion with the armed conflict between Israel and the Arab States should be considered squarely in the context of the over-all international situation in the world.
21. I do not wish to go into details, but some basic facts have to be mentioned in order to give a correct assessment of what has happened.
22. We should note that the main features in the relations between Israel and the Arab States during the past year were the ever-increasing tension and the mounting scale of attacks by Israel troops on one or another of Israel's neighbour States.
23. On 25 November 1966 the Security Council censured the Government of Israel for a carefully planned "large-scale military action" [resolution 228 (1966)] against Jordan, in violation of the United Nations Charter, and warned that if such actions were repeated, the Security Council would be forced to consider "further and more effective steps as envisaged in the Charter". Israel, however, refused to draw a lesson from this.
24. On 7 April last, Israel troops staged an attack against the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. This was a military operation on a considerable scale, involving planes, tanks and artillery. Following this, Israel provoked new military incidents on its border with Jordan.
25. Once again Israel was warned by a number of States about its responsibility for the consequences of the policy it was pursuing. But even after that the Israeli Government did not reconsider its course. Its political leaders openly threatened "wider military actions against Arab countries". The Prime Minister of Israel made it clear that the armed attack on Syria in April was not the last step and that Israel itself would choose the methods and time for new actions of this kind. On 9 May 1967 the Israeli Parliament authorized the Government of Israel to carry out military operations against Syria. The Israeli troops began concentrating at the Syrian borders, and mobilization was carried out.
26. At that time the Soviet Government, and I believe others too, began receiving information to the effect that the Israeli Government had chosen the end of May as the time for a swift strike at Syria in order to crush, it and then planned to carry the fighting over into the territory of the United Arab Republic.
27. When the preparations for war had entered the final stage, the Government of Israel suddenly began to spread, both confidentially and publicly, profuse assurances of its peaceful intentions. It declared that it was not going to start hostilities and was not seeking conflicts with its neighbours. Literally a few hours before the attack on the Arab States, the Defence Minister of Israel swore his Government was seeking peaceful solutions. "Let diplomacy be put to work", the Minister was saying at the very moment when Israel pilots had already received orders to bomb the cities of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan. This is indeed unprecedented perfidy.
28. On 5 June, Israel started war against the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan. The Government of Israel flouted the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, and showed that all its peaceful declarations were false through and through.
29. What followed is well known.
30. Here, within the United Nations, I shall only recall the arrogance with which the unbridled aggressor ignored the demands of the Security Council for an immediate cease-fire.
31. On 6 June the Security Council proposed [resolution 233 (1967)] an end to all hostilities as a first step towards the restoration of peace. Israel expanded operations on all fronts.
32. On 7 June the Security Council [resolution 234 (1967)] fixed a time limit for the cessation of hostilities. Israel troops continued their offensive, and Israel aircraft bombed peaceful Arab towns and villages.
33. On 9 June the Security Council [resolution 235 (1967)] issued a new categorical demand providing for a cease-fire. Israel ignored that too. The Israel army mounted an attack against the defensive lines of Syria with the purpose of breaking through to the capital of that State, Damascus.
34. The Security Council had to adopt yet another, fourth, decision, [resolution 236 (1967)]; a number of States had to sever diplomatic relations with Israel, and a firm warning was given that sanctions might be applied, before Israel troops halted their military activities. A large part of the territory of Arab countries now actually occupied by Israel was seized after the Security Council had taken the decision on the immediate cessation of hostilities.
35. The facts irrefutably prove that Israel bears responsibility for unleashing the war, for its victims and for its consequences.
36. But if anybody needs additional proof that it was Israel that unleashed the war in the Middle East, that Israel is the aggressor,. that proof was furnished by Israel itself, It is impossible to interpret in any other way the refusal of the Israeli Government to support the proposal of the Soviet Union to convene an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly.
If the Government of Israel did not feel its guilt before the peoples of the world, it would not have been so afraid of our discussion and of those decisions which the General Assembly must take.
37. Israel has no arguments that would justify its aggression. Its attempts to justify itself, just like the attempts of its advocates to whitewash the policies and actions of Israel, which are based on the assertions that the attack on the Arab States was an action forced upon it, that the other side left it no alternative, are nothing but deception.
38. If Israel had any claims against its neighbours, it should have come to the United Nations and searched here for a settlement by peaceful means, as is prescribed by the United Nations Charter. After all, Israel claims to be entitled to the rights and privileges conferred by membership in the United Nations, But rights cannot exist in isolation from obligations.
39. More and more reports are coming in of atrocities and violence committed by the Israel invaders on the territories seized by them. What is going on in the Sinai peninsula, in the Gaza strip, in the western part of Jordan and on the Syrian lands occupied by Israeli troops brings to mind the heinous crimes perpetrated by the fascists during the World War II. The indigenous Arab population is being driven out from Gaza, Jerusalem and other areas. Just as Hitler's Germany used to appoint gauleiters in the regions it occupied, the Israeli Government is establishing an occupation administration on the territories it has seized and is appointing its military governors there.
40. Israeli troops are burning villages and destroying hospitals and schools. The peaceful inhabitants are deprived of food and water and of all means of subsistence, There have been occasions when prisoners of war and even women and children were shot, and ambulances carrying the wounded were burned.
41. The United Nations cannot overlook these crimes. The Security Council has already addressed to the Government of Israel a demand that it ensure the safety, well-being and security of the people in the occupied regions. The resolution is in itself an accusation of the aggressor. The United Nations must compel Israel to respect international laws. Those who organize and commit crimes on the occupied territories of the Arab countries must be called severely to account.
42. Faithful to the principle of rendering aid to the victims of aggression and of supporting the peoples who fight for their independence and freedom, the Soviet Union has resolutely come out in defence of the Arab States. We warned the Government of Israel, both before the aggression and during the war, that if it decided to take upon itself the responsibility for unleashing a military conflict, it would have to pay in full measure for the consequences of this step. We still firmly adhere to this position today.
43. When the question is one of war and peace, of defending the rights of peoples, there must be no place for political zigzags. It does, of course, happen that to solve this or that problem States chart several possible routes. But in such matters as the one considered now by the emergency session of the General Assembly, there is no alternative to the resolute condemnation of the aggressor and of those forces that stand behind him, no alternative to the elimination of the consequences of the aggression. There is no other way to stop the aggression and to discourage those who might wish to embark on such adventures in the future.
44. One may ask, why is the Soviet Union so resolutely opposed to Israel? However, the Soviet Union is not against Israel, but against the aggressive policy pursued by the ruling circles of that State.
45. In the course of its fifty-year history, the Soviet Union has treated all peoples-large or small-with respect. Every people enjoys the right to establish an independent national State of its own. This is one of the fundamental principles of the policy of the Soviet Union.
46. It is on this very basis that we formulated our attitude to Israel as a State when we voted in 1947 for the United Nations decision to create two independent States, a Jewish one and an Arab one, in the territory of the former British colony of Palestine. Guided by this position of principle, the Soviet Union later established diplomatic relations with Israel.
47. While upholding the rights of peoples to self-determination, the Soviet Union just as resolutely condemns the attempts of any State to conduct an aggressive policy in regard to other countries, a policy of conquering foreign lands and subjugating the peoples living there.
48. But what is the policy of the State of Israel? Unfortunately, through most of Israel's history, its ruling circles have conducted a policy of conquests and territorial expansion at the expense of the lands of neighbouring Arab States, evicting or even exterminating the indigenous population of these areas.
49. This was the case in 1948-1949, when Israel forcibly seized a sizeable portion of the territory of the Arab State whose creation was envisaged by the United Nations decision. About a million people found themselves driven out of their homeland and doomed to hunger, suffering and poverty. During all these years, deprived of a country and of means of subsistence, these people retained the status of exiles. The acute problem of the Palestinian refugees, engendered by Israel's policy, remains unsolved to this day, constantly increasing tension in the region.
50. This was also the case in 1956, when Israel became a party to aggression against Egypt, . Its forces invaded Egyptian territory along the same route as today. At that time, too, Israel tried to retain the captured lands, but it was obliged to withdraw behind the armistice lines, under powerful pressure from the ' United Nations and the majority of its Members.
51. The Members of the United Nations are well aware that all through the years that followed, Israel committed aggressive acts either against the United Arab Republic or against Syria and Jordan. During all those years, never did the Security Council here to be convened as often as when it had to consider questions relating to conflicts between Israel and the Arab States.
52. As we see, the aggressive war recently unleashed by Israel against the Arab countries is a direct continuation of the policy which the ruling extremists groups in Israel have imposed on their country throughout the existence of the Israel State. It is precisely this aggressive policy that is resolutely and consistently opposed by the Soviet Union together with other socialist and all peace-loving States. The duty of the United Nations is to force Israel to comply with the demands of the peoples of the world, If the United Nations fails in this it will not fulfill its lofty function, the purpose for which it was created, and the peoples' faith in this Organization will be shaken.
53. It is only on the path of peace, on the path of renunciation of the aggressive policy towards neighbouring States, that Israel can claim its place among the countries of the world.
54. We would not be consistent or fair in assessing Israel's policy if we did not declare with all certitude that, in its activities, Israel relies on outside support from certain imperialist circles. Moreover, these powerful circles made statements and took practical action which Israel extremists could only regard as direct encouragement to commit acts of aggression.
55. For example, how else could one regard the fact that, on the eve of the Israel aggression, a plan was urgently devised in the United States and the United Kingdom-and this was widely reported in the Press-to establish an international naval force to bring pres sure to bear upon the Arab States? How else could one qualify the military demonstrations by the American Sixth Fleet off the coast of the Arab States, the build-up of the British Navy and Air Force in the Mediterranean and Red Sea area, or the increase in modern arms and ammunition deliveries for the Israel army?
56. A campaign of incitement was launched against the Arab States and their leaders, especially in the United States and West Germany. In the Federal Republic of Germany, in particular, it was announced that discriminatory financial measures against the Arab States had been introduced. Recruitment of so-called volunteers for Israel started in several West German cities.
57. Typically, after the start of hostilities, when in the first hours of the armed clash the Soviet Union strongly condemned the Israel aggressors and demanded universal condemnation of their perfidious acts as well as an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of troops behind the armistice lines, the very same forces, which can only be termed accomplices in aggression, did all they could to help Israel gain time, to carry out new conquests and to attain its designs. As a result, the Security Council found itself unable to take the decision which was dictated by the existing emergency. This is why the responsibility for the dangerous situation in the Middle East rests not only on Israel, but also on those who stand behind it in these events.
58. At the present time extremist belligerent circles in Tel Aviv claim that their seizure of Arab territory provides them-as they arrogantly assert-with grounds to present new demands to the Arab countries and peoples. An unbridled anti-propaganda campaign, played up by the Press of certain Western countries, is being conducted in Israel; the force of arms is extolled; threats against the neighbouring countries are voiced; and it is being stated that Israel will heed no decisions, including those of the current session of the United Nations General Assembly, unless they satisfy Israel's demands.
59. The aggressor is flushed with triumph. The long-nurtured plans to recarve the map of the Middle East are now being put forward. Israel leaders proclaim that Israel will not leave the Gaza strip or the west bank of the River Jordan. They declare that Israel intends to maintain its control over the whole of Jerusalem; and they assert that if the Arab countries did not want to comply with Israeli demands, the Israeli forces will simply remain in their present positions.
60. What is the attitude of the United States and British Governments towards the claims of Israel? Actually, they are promoting the aggressor here as well. How else can the aggressor interpret their position in the Security Council, which blocked the adoption of the proposal for an immediate withdrawal of Israel troops behind the armistice line? The words In support of political independence and territorial integrity of the Middle East countries coming lavishly from the representatives of the United States could have meaning only if those who utter them would unequivocally reject the territorial claims of the aggressors and come out in favour of an immediate withdrawal of troops.
61. By putting forward a programme of annexation, Israel has completely lost any sense of reality and is embarking on a very dangerous path. Any attempt to consolidate the results of aggression is bound to fail. We are confident that the United Nations will reject attempts to impose on the Arab peoples a settlement that might jeopardize their legitimate interest and hurt their feelings and self-respect.
62. Territorial conquests, if they were recognized by various States, would lead only to new and perhaps even larger conflicts; and peace and security in the Middle East would remain illusory. Such a situation cannot be permitted to arise, and one may rest assured that this is not going to happen. Attempts to consolidate the fruits of aggression will in the long run backfire against Israel and its people.
63. By occupying territories of the United Arab Republic, Jordan and Syria, Israel continues to challenge the United Nations and all peace-loving countries and this is why the main task of this Assembly is to condemn the aggressor and take steps for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops behind the armistice lines. In other words, the task is to clear all the territory of the Arab countries occupied by Israel troops of the invaders.
64. As a result of the Israeli aggression traffic through the Suez Canal, an important international waterway which the invaders have turned into a front line of battle, has been paralysed.
65. The Soviet Union categorically demands that the Israeli forces should immediately withdraw from the shores of the Suez Canal and from all the Arab territories they have seized.
66. Only the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the captured territories can change the situation by bringing about a relaxation of tension and creating conditions for peace in the Middle East.
67. Is it not clear that unless this is done and the forces of the Israeli invaders are removed from the territory of Arab States, there can be no hope of settling other unsolved problems in the Middle East?
68. Those who unleashed war against the Arab States should not cherish hopes that they may derive some advantages from this. The United Nations, called upon to serve the cause of preserving peace and international security, must use all its influence and all its prestige in order to put an end to aggression.
69. In its demand to condemn aggression and ensure the withdrawal of troops from the seized, territories of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, the Soviet Government proceeds from the need to maintain peace not only in the Middle East. It should not be forgotten that there are many regions in the world where there are likely to be those eager to seize foreign territories, where the principles of territorial integrity and respect for the sovereignty of States are far from being honoured. If Israel's claims are not rejected today, then tomorrow new aggressors, large or small, may attempt to overrun the lands of other peaceful countries.
70. The peoples of the world are watching closely to see whether the United Nations will be able to give a due rebuff to the aggressor and safeguard the interests of the peoples of one of the major regions of the world, the Middle East. The present developments in this region are giving rise to anxiety on the part of many States about their own security. And this is quite understandable.
71. If we here, in the United Nations, fail to take the necessary measures, then even the States which are not parties to the conflict may conclude that they cannot expect protection from the United Nations. In their endeavour to make themselves secure, they may start building up their armaments and increasing their military budgets. This will mean that the funds earmarked for the development of the national economy and the improvement of the peoples' way of life, will be channelled to an even greater extent into the arms race. Those who cherish peace cannot, and must not, allow events to take this course.
72. There is yet another important aspect stemming from the aggression committed by Israel. The point is that this aggression was aimed at toppling the existing regimes in the United Arab Republic, Syria, and other Arab countries, which evoke the hatred of the imperialists by their determined struggle for the consolidation of their national independence and the progress of their peoples while enjoying the solidarity and support of those peoples who have embarked on the path of independent development. Therefore, to allow the actions of Israel against the Arab States to go unpunished would mean opposing the cause of national liberation of peoples and the interests of many States in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
73. The Soviet Union does not recognize the seizures of territory by Israel. True to the ideals of peace, freedom and independence of peoples, the Soviet Union will undertake all measures within its power, both in the United Nations and outside it to bring about the elimination of the consequences of aggression and help to establish lasting peace in the region. This is our firm and fundamental course. This is our joint course with the other socialist countries.
74. On 9 June, the leaders of Communist and Workers' Parties and Governments of seven socialist countries declared their full and complete solidarity with the just struggle of the States of the Arab East. Unless the Government of Israel ceases its aggression and withdraws its troops behind the armistice line, the socialist States "will do everything necessary to help the peoples of the Arab countries deal a firm rebuff to the aggressor, safeguard their legitimate rights, put out the hotbed of war in the Middle East, and restore peace in that region".
75. No State, however remote it may be from the area of aggression, can remain aloof from the problem which has been proposed for discussion at the present emergency session, The problem concerns war and peace. In the present tense international situation, minutes or hours can settle the fate of the world. Unless an end is put to the dangerous development of events in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia, or wherever peace is being violated, if conflicts are permitted to spread, the only possible result today or tomorrow will be a major war. And there will be no States which can remain on the sidelines.
76. No State or Government, if it genuinely displays concern for peace and the prevention of a new war, can reason that if some event takes place far from its borders it can regard it with equanimity. Indeed, it cannot. A seemingly small event or so-called "local wars" may grow into large-scale military conflicts. This means that every State and Government should not only refrain from bringing about new complications by its actions, but must make every effort to prevent any aggravation of the situation and, even more, the emergence of hotbeds of war, which should be extinguished whenever they appear. This should be stressed especially in connexion with the recent events in the Middle East, which have greatly complicated the already complex and dangerous international situation.
77. The Arab States, which fell victim to aggression, are entitled to expect that their sovereignty, territorial integrity, legitimate rights and interests which have been violated by an armed attack, will be reconstituted in full and without delay. We repeat that this means, first of all, the withdrawal of Israel forces from the captured territory. This is the crucial question today, without which there can be no relaxation of tension in the Middle East.
78. Eliminating the consequences of aggression also means making restitution for the material damage inflicted by the aggressor upon those whom he attacked and whose lands he occupied. The actions of the Israeli forces and Israeli aircraft have resulted in the destruction of homes, industrial establishments, roads, and means of transportation in the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan. Israel is in duty bound to reimburse the full cost of everything it has destroyed and to return all captured property. It is obligated to do this within the shortest possible time.
79. Can the General Assembly measure up to the problems before it, can it solve them? Yes, we think it can. The General Assembly should make its authoritative voice heard in favour of justice and peace.
80. The Soviet Union and its delegation are prepared to work together with other countries, whose representatives have assembled in this hall, to work with all other States and delegations in order to attain this goal.
81. Much depends on the efforts of the big Powers. It would be well if their delegations, too, could find a common language in order to reach a decision in harmony with the interests of peace in the Middle East and the interests of universal peace.
82. Guided by the lofty principles of the United Nations Charter and the desire to eliminate the consequences of aggression and restore justice as quickly as possible, the Soviet Government submits the following draft resolution to the General Assembly:
"The General Assembly,
"Noting that Israel, in gross violation of the United Nations Charter and the universally accepted principles of international law, has committed a premeditated and previously prepared aggression against the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, and has occupied parts of their territory and inflicted great material damage upon them,
"Noting that, in contravention of the resolutions of the Security Council of 6, 7 and 9 June 1967 on the immediate cessation of all hostilities and a cease-fire, Israel continued to conduct offensive military operations against the above-mentioned States and seized additional territory,
"Noting further that although military activities have now ceased, Israel continues its occupation of the territory of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, thus failing to halt its aggression and defying the United Nations and all peace-loving States,
"Regarding as unacceptable and unlawful Israel's territorial claims on the Arab States which prevent the restoration of peace in the, area,
"1. Vigorously condemns Israel's aggressive activities and the continuing occupation by Israel of part of the territory of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, which constitutes an act of recognized aggression;
"2. Demands that Israel should immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its forces from the territory of those States to positions behind the armistice demarcation lines, as stipulated in the General Armistice Agreements, and should respect the status of the demilitarized zones, as prescribed in the Armistice Agreements;
"3. Demands also that Israel should make good in full and within the shortest possible period of time all the damage caused by its aggression on the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, and on their nationals, and should return to them all captured property and other material assets;
"4. Appeals to the Security Council to take for its part immediate effective measures in order to eliminate all consequences of the aggression committed by Israel."
83. The Government of the Soviet Union expresses the hope that the General Assembly will take an effective decision ensuring the inviolability of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab States, and the restoration and consolidation of peace and security in the Middle East.
84. The convening of the emergency session of the General Assembly is a fact of great international significance. If the General Assembly were to find itself incapable of reaching a decision in the interests of peace, this would deal a heavy blow to the expectations of mankind regarding the possibility of settling major international problems by peaceful means, by diplomatic contacts and negotiation. No State which genuinely cares for the future of its people can fail to take this into consideration.
85. The peoples must be certain that the United Nations is capable of achieving the aims proclaimed in its Charter, the aims of safeguarding peace on earth.
86. Mr. EBAN (Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel): The subject of our discussion is the Middle East, its past agony and its future hope. We speak of a region whose destiny has profoundly affected the entire human experience. In the heart of that region, at the very centre of its geography and history, lives the very small nation called Israel. This nation gave birth to the currents of thought which have fashioned the life of the Mediterranean world and of vast regions beyond. It has now been re-established as the home and sanctuary of a people that has seen six million of its sons exterminated in the greatest catastrophe ever endured by any family of the human race.
87. Now, in recent weeks, the Middle East has passed through a crisis whose shadows darken the world. This crisis has many consequences but only one cause. Israel's right to peace, to security, to sovereignty, to economic development, to maritime freedom-indeed, its very right to exist-has been forcibly denied and aggressively attacked. This is the true origin of the tension which torments the Middle East. All the other elements of the conflict are the consequences of this single cause.
88. There has been danger, there is still peril, in the Middle East because-and only because-Israel's existence, sovereignty and vital interests have been and are being vitally assailed. The threats to Israel's existence, its peace, security, sovereignty and development, have been directed against it in the first instance by neighbouring Arab States; but all the conditions of tension, all the temptations to aggression in the Middle East, have, to our deep regret, been aggravated by the unbalanced policy of one of the great Powers which, under our Charter, bear primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I shall show how the Soviet Union has, for fifteen years, been unfaithful to that trust. The burden of responsibility lies heavy upon it. Today's intemperate utterance illustrates the lack of equilibrium and objectivity that has contributed so much to the tension and agony of Middle Eastern life.
89. I come to this rostrum to speak for a people which, having faced danger to its national survival, is unshakeably resolved to resist any course which would renew the perils from which it has emerged. The General Assembly is chiefly preoccupied by the situation against which Israel defended itself on the morning of 5 June. I shall invite every peace-loving State represented here to ask itself how it would have acted on that day if it had faced similar dangers.
90. But if our discussion is to have any weight or depth, we must understand that great events are not born in a single instant of time. It is beyond all honest doubt-beyond all honest doubt-that, between 14 May and 5 June, Arab Governments, led and directed by President Nasser, methodically prepared and mounted an aggressive assault designed to bring about Israel's immediate and total destruction. My authority for that conviction rests on the statements and actions of Arab Governments themselves. There is every reason to believe what they say and to observe care-fully what they do.
91. During Israel's first decade, the intention to work for its destruction by physical violence had always been part of the official doctrine and policy of Arab States. But many Members of the United Nations hoped, and some believed, that relative stability would ensue from the arrangements discussed in the General Assembly in March 1957. An attempt was then made to inaugurate a period of non-belligerency and coexistence in the relations between Egypt and Israel. A United Nations Emergency Force was to separate the armies in Sinai and Gaza. The maritime Powers were to exercise free and innocent passage in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Strait of Tiran. Terrorist attacks against Israel were to cease. The Suez Canal was to be opened to Israel shipping, as the Security Council had decided six years before.
92. In March 1957, these hopes and expectations were endorsed in the General Assembly by the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Canada and other States in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia. These assurances, expressed with special solemnity by the four Governments which I have mentioned, induced Israel to give up positions which it then held at Gaza and at the entrance to the Strait of Tiran and in Sinai. Non-belligerency, maritime freedom, and immunity from terrorist attack were henceforth to be secured not by Israel's own pressure, but by the concerted will of the international community. Egypt expressed no , opposition to these arrangements. Bright hopes for the future illuminated this Hall on that day ten years ago.
93. There were times during the past decade when it seemed that a certain stability had been achieved. As we look back it becomes plain that the Arab Governments regarded the 1957 arrangements merely as a breathing space enabling them to gather strength for a later assault. At the end of 1962, President Nasser began to prepare Arab opinion for an armed attack that was to take place within a few brief years. As his armaments grew, his aggressive designs came more blatantly to light. On 23 December 1962, he said:
"We feel that the soil of Palestine is the soil of Egypt and of the whole Arab world. Why do we mobilize? Because we feel that the land is part of our land, and are ready to sacrifice ourselves for it."
94. The present Foreign Minister of Egypt, Mr. Mahmoud Riad, echoed his master's voice:
"The sacred Arab struggle will not come to an end until Palestine is restored to its owners."
95. In March 1963, the official Cairo Radio continued the campaign of menace:
"Arab unity is taking shape towards the great goal-i.e., the triumphant return to Palestine with the banner of unity flying high in front of the holy Arab march."
96. The newspaper Al-Gumhuriya published and official announcement on the same day:
"The noose around Israel's neck is tightening gradually.. „ Israel is no mightier than the empires which were vanquished in the Arab east and west . . , . The Arab people will take possession of their full rights in their united homeland."
97. Egypt is not a country in which the Press utters views and opinions independently of the official will. There is thus much significance in the statement of Al-Akhbar on 4 April of that year:
"The liquidation of Israel will not be realized through a declaration of war against Israel by Arab States, but Arab unity and inter-Arab understanding will serve as a hangman's rope for Israel."
98. The Assembly will note that the imagery of a hangman's rope or of a tightening noose occurs frequently in the macabre vocabulary of Nasserism. He sees himself perpetually presiding over a scaffold. In June 1967, in Israel's hour of solitude and danger, the metaphor of encirclement and strangulation was to come vividly to life.
99. In February 1964, Nasser enunciated in simple terms what was to become his country's policy during the period of preparation, I quote his simple words:
"The possibilities of the future will be war with Israel. It is we who will dictate the time; it is we who will dictate the place."
100. A similar chorus of threats arose during this period from other Arab capitals. President Aril of Iraq and President Ben Bella of Algeria were especially emphatic and repetitive in their threat to liquidate Israel, but they were far away. The Syrian attitude was more ominous because it affected a neighbouring frontier, Syrian war propaganda has been particularly intense in the past few years. In 1964, the Syrian Defense Minister, General Abdulah Ziade, announced:
"The Syrian army stands as a mountain to crush Israel and demolish her. This army knows how to crush its enemies."
101. Early last year Syria began to proclaim and carry out what it called a "popular war" against Israel. It was a terrorist campaign which expressed itself in the dispatch of trained terrorist groups into Israeli territory to blow up installations and communications centres and. to kill, maim, cripple and terrorize civilians in peaceful homes and farms. Often the terrorists, though trained in Syria, would be dispatched through Jordan or Lebanon. The terrorist war was formally declared by President Al-Atassi on 22 May 1966 when he addressed soldiers on the Israeli-Syrian front in these words:
"We raise the slogan of the people's liberation war. We want total war with no limits, a war that will destroy the Zionist base."
102. It is a strange experience, in this hall of peace, to be .sitting with a fellow representative whose philosophy is, "We want total war with no limits".
103. The Syrian Defense Minister, Hafiz Asad, said two days later:
"We shall never call for, nor accept peace, We shall only accept war ... We have resolved to drench this land with our blood, to oust you, aggressors, and throw you into the sea for good."
104. From that day to this not a week has passed without Syrian officials adding to this turgid stream of invective and hate. From that day to this, there has not been a single month without terrorist acts, offensive to every impulse of human compassion and international civility, being directed from Syria against Israeli citizens and territory. I would have no difficulty at all in swelling the General Assembly's records with a thousand official statements by Arab leaders in the past two years announcing their intention to destroy Israel by diverse forms of organized physical violence. The Arab populations have been conditioned by their leaders to the anticipation of a total war, preceded by the constant harassment of the prospective victim.
105. From 1948 to this very day there has not been one statement by any representative of a neighbouring Arab State indicating readiness to respect existing agreements on the permanent renunciation of force, especially the Charter agreement or to recognize Israel's sovereign right to existence; or to apply to Israel any of the central provisions of the United Nations Charter.
106. For some time Israel showed a stoic patience in her reaction to these words of menace. This was because the threats were not always accompanied by a capacity to carry them into effect. But the inevitable result of this campaign of menace was the burden of a heavy race in arms. We strove to maintain an adequate deterrent strength, and the decade beginning in March 1957 was not monopolized by security considerations alone. Behind the wall of a strong defence, with eyes vigilantly fixed on dangerous borders, we embarked on a constructive era in the national enterprise. These were years of swift expansion in our agriculture and industry; of intensive progress in the sciences and arts; of a widening international vocation, symbolized in the growth of strong links with the developing world. And thus, at the end of her first decade, Israel had established relations of diplomacy, commerce and culture with all the Americas, and with nearly all the countries of Western, Central and Eastern Europe. In her second decade she was to build constructive links with the emerging countries of the developing world with whom we are tied by a common aspiration to translate national freedom into creative economic growth and social progress.
107. Fortified by friendships in all five continents; inspired by its role in the great drama of development; intensely preoccupied by tasks of spiritual co-operation with kindred communities in various parts of the world, and in the effort to assure the Jewish survival after the disastrous blows of Nazi oppression; tenaciously involved in the development of original social ideas-Israel went on with its work. We could not concern ourselves exclusively with the torrent of hatred pouring in upon us from Arab Governments, After all, in the era of modern communications a nation is not entirely dependent on its regional context. The wide world is open to the voice of friendship. Arab hostility towards Israel became increasingly isolated, while Israel's position in the international family became more deeply entrenched. the international family became more deeply entrenched. Many in the world drew confidence from the fact that a very small nation could, by its exertion and example, rise to respected levels in social progress, scientific progress, and the humane arts.
108. And so our policy was to deter the aggression of our neighbours so long as it was endurable; to resist it only when failure to resist would have invited its intensified renewal; to withstand Arab violence without being obsessed by it; and even to search patiently here and there for any glimmer of moderation and realism in the Arab mind. We also pursued the hope of bringing all the great Powers to a harmonious policy in support of the security and sovereignty of Middle Eastern States.
109. It was not easy to take this course. The sacrifice imposed upon our population by Arab violence was cumulative in its effects. But as it piled up month by month the toll of death and bereavement was heavy. And in the last few years it was evident that this organized murder was directed by a central hand.
110. We were able to limit our response to this aggression so long as its own scope appeared to be limited. President Nasser seemed for some years to be accumulating inflammable material without an immediate desire to set it alight. He was heavily engaged in domination and conquest elsewhere. His speeches were strong against Israel. But his bullets, guns and poison gases were for the time being used to intimidate other Arab States and to maintain a colonial war against the villagers of the Yemen and the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula.
111. But Israel's danger was great, The military build-up in Egypt proceeded at an intensive rate. It was designed to enable Egypt to press its war plans against Israel while maintaining its violent adventures elsewhere. In the face of these developments Israel was forced to devote an increasing proportion of its resources to self-defence. With the declaration by Syria early in 1965 of the doctrine of a "day by day military confrontation" the situation in the Middle East grew darker. The Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestine Liberation Army, the Unified Arab Command, the intensified expansion of military forces and equipment in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and more remote parts of the Arab continent-those were the signals of a growing danger to which we sought to alert the mind and conscience of the world.
112. In three weeks, between 14 May and 5 June, Egypt, Syria and Jordan, assisted and incited by more distant Arab States, embarked on a policy of immediate and total aggression.
113. June 1967 was to be the month of decision. The "final solution" was at hand.
114. There was no convincing motive for the aggressive design which was now unfolded. Egyptian and Soviet sources have claimed-and we heard the claim repeated today-that a concentrated Israel invasion of Syria expressed by troop concentrations was expected during the second or third week in May. No claim could be more frivolous or far-fetched. It is true that Syria was sending terrorists into Israel to lay mines on public roads and, on one occasion, to bombard the Israeli settlement at Manara from the Lebanese border. The accumulation of such actions had sometimes evoked Israeli responses limited in scope and time. All that Syria had to do to ensure perfect tranquility on its frontier with Israel was to discourage the terrorist war. Not only did it not discourage these actions, it encouraged them. It gave them every moral and practical support. But the picture of Israeli troops concentrations in strength for an invasion of Syria in mid-May was a monstrous fiction. Twice Syria refused to co-operate with suggestions made by the United Nations authorities and accepted by Israel for a simultaneous and reciprocal inspection of the Israeli-Syrian frontier. On one occasion the Soviet Ambassador complained to my Prime Minister of heavy troop concentrations in the north of Israel, But when invited to join the Prime Minister that very moment in a visit to any part of Israel which he liked, the distinguished envoy brusquely refused. The prospect of finding out the truth at first hand seemed to fill him with a profound disquiet. There is only one thing to be said about Prime Minister Kosygin's assertion this morning that there were heavy concentrations of Israeli troops on the Syrian frontier in mid-May; the only thing to say about that assertion is that it is completely untrue. There is only one thing to be said about these descriptions of villages being burned and inhabitants being shot; these are false, inflammatory words of propaganda designed to inflame passions in an area already too hot with tension. By 9 May, the Secretary-General of the United Nations from his own sources on the ground had ascertained that no such Israeli troop concentrations existed, This fact had been directly communicated to the Syrian and Egyptian Governments. The excuse had been shattered, but the allegation still remained. The steps which I now come to describe could not possibly have any motive or justification in an Israeli troop concentration in the north which both Egypt and Syria knew did not exist. Indeed the Egyptian build-up ceased very quickly even to be described by its authors as the result of any threat to Syria. Let us now see how the design of May and June began to unfold.
115. On 14 May Egyptian forces began to move in strength into Sinai.
116. On 16 May the Egyptian Command ordered the United Nations Emergency Force to leave the border. The following morning the reason became clear. For on 17 May at 6 in the morning, Radio Cairo broadcast that Field Marshal Amer had issued alert orders to the Egyptian armed forces, Nor did he mention Syria as the excuse. His orders read:
"1. The state of preparedness of the Egyptian Armed Forces will increase to the full level of preparedness for war, beginning 14.30 hours last Sunday.
"2. Formations and units allocated in accordance with the operational plans will advance from their present locations to the designated positions.
"3. The armed forces are to be in full preparedness to carry out any combat tasks on the Israel front in accordance with developments."
117. On 18 May, Egypt called for the total removal of the United Nations Emergency Force. The Secretary-General of the United Nations acceded to this request and moved to carry it out, without reference to the Security Council or the General Assembly; without carrying out the procedures indicated by Secretary-General Hammarskjold in the event of a request for a withdrawal being made; without heeding the protesting voices of some of the permanent members of the Security Council and of the Government at whose initiative the Force had been established; without consulting Israel on the consequent prejudice to its military security and its vital maritime freedom; and without seeking such delay as would enable alternative measures to be concerted for preventing belligerency by sea and a dangerous confrontation of forces by land.
118. It is often said that United Nations procedures are painfully slow. This one, in our view, was disastrously swift. Its effect was to make Sinai safe for belligerency from north and south; to create a sudden disruption of the local security balance; and to leave an international maritime interest exposed to almost certain threat. I will not say anything of the compulsions which may have led to those steps; I speak only of consequences. I have already said that Israel's attitude to the peace-keeping functions of the United Nations has been traumatically affected by this experience. What is the use of a fire brigade which vanishes from the scene as soon as the first smoke and flames appear? Is it surprising that we are resolved never again to allow a vital Israeli interest and our very security to rest on such a fragile foundation?
119. The clouds now gathered thick and fast. Between 14 May and 23 May, Egyptian concentrations in Sinai increased day by day. Israel took corresponding precautionary measures. In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, it is of course legal for any State to place its armies wherever it chooses in its territory. But it is equally true that nothing could be more uncongenial to the prospect of peace than to have large armies facing each other across a narrow space, with one of them clearly bent on an early assault. For the purpose of the concentration was not in doubt. On 18 May, at 24 hours, the Cairo Radio Sant El Arab published the following Order of the Day by Abdul Muhsin Murtagi, the General then commanding Sinai:
"The Egyptian forces have taken up positions in accordance with a definite plan.
"Our forces are definitely ready to carry the battle beyond the borders of Egypt.
"Morale is very high among the members of our armed forces because this is the day for which they have been waiting-to make a holy war in order to return the plundered land to its owners.
"In many meetings with army personnel, they asked when the holy war will begin-the time has come to give them their wish."
On 21 May, General Amer gave orders to mobilize reserves.
120. Now came the decisive step, the turning point. All doubt that Egypt had decided upon immediate or early war was now dispelled. For, appearing at an air force base at 6 o'clock in the morning, President Nasser announced that he would blockade the Gulf of Aqaba and the Strait of Tiran to Israeli ships, adding: "The Jews threaten war and we say by all means we are ready for war." On 2 5 May, Cairo Radio announced:
"The Arab people is firmly resolved to wipe Israel off the map and to restore the honour of the Arabs of Palestine."
121. On the following day, 26 May, Nasser spoke again:
"The Arab people wants to fight. We have been waiting for the right time when we will be completely ready. Recently we. have felt that our strength has been sufficient and if we make battle with Israel, we shall be able, with the help of God, to conquer. Sharm-el-Sheikh implies a confrontation with Israel."-These are Nasser's words,-"Taking this step makes it imperative that we be ready to undertake a total war with Israel."
122. Writing in 'Al Ahram on 26 May, Nasser's spokesman, Mr. Hasanein Heykal, wrote, with engaging realism;
"I consider that there is no alternative to armed conflict between the United Arab Republic and the Israeli enemy. This is the first time that the Arab challenge to Israel attempts to change an existing fact in• order to impose a different fact in its place."
123. On 28 May, President Nasser had a Press conference. Indeed, he was now having them every day. He said:
"We will not accept any possibility of coexistence with Israel."
And on the following day:
"If we have succeeded to restore the situation to what it was before 1956, there is no doubt that God will help us and will inspire us to restore the situation to what it was prior to 1948."
124. There are various ways of threatening Israel's liquidation. Few ways could be clearer than to ask to move the clock of history back to before 1948, the date of Israel's establishment.
125. The troop concentrations and blockade were now to be accompanied by encirclement. The noose was to be fitted around the victim's neck. Other Arab States were closing the ring. On 30 May, Nasser signed the defence agreement with Jordan, and described its purpose in these terms:
"The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are stationed on the borders of Israel in order to face the challenge. Behind them stand the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole of the Arab nation.
"This deed will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are ready for the fray. The hour of decision has arrived."
These are not the words of response to any anticipated aggression. These are words of indoctrination about a warlike initiative.
126. Similarly, on 4 June, Nasser made a statement on Cairo Radio after signing the protocol associating Iraq with the Egyptian-Jordanian defence pact. Here are his words:
"We are facing you in the battle and are burning with desire for it to start in order to obtain revenge. This will make the world realize what the Arabs are and what Israel is ..."
127. Nothing has been more startling in recent weeks than to read discussions about who planned, who organized, who initiated, who prepared, who wanted and who launched this war. Here we have a series of statements, mounting crescendo from vague warning through open threat to precise intention.
128. Here we have the vast mass of the Egyptian armies in Sinai with seven infantry and two armoured divisions, the largest force ever assembled in that peninsula in all its history. Here we have 40,000 regular Syrian troops poised to strike at the Jordan Valley from advantageous positions in the hills. Here we have the mobilized forces of Jordan with their artillery and mortars trained on Israel's population centres in Jerusalem and along the vulnerable narrow coastal plain. Troops from Iraq, Kuwait and Algeria converge towards the battlefield at Egypt's behest. Nine hundred tanks face Israel on the Sinai border, while two hundred more are poised to strike the isolated town of Elath at Israel's southern tip. The military dispositions tell their own story, The Southern Negev was to be sundered in a swift decisive blow. The Northern Negev was to be invaded by armour and bombarded from the Gaza Strip. From 27 May onward, Egyptian air squadrons in Sinai were equipped with operation orders-which are now in our hands-instructing them in detail on the manner in which each Israeli air field-and they are pathetically few in number-were to be bombarded, thus exposing Israel's crowded cities to easy and merciless assault. Egyptian air sorties came in and out of Israel's southern desert to reconnoitre, inspect and prepare for the attack. An illicit blockade had cut Israel off from all its commerce with the eastern half of the world.
129. Those who write this story in years to come will give a special place in their narrative to the blatant decision to close the Strait of Tiran in Israel's face. It is not difficult to understand why that outrage had such a drastic impact. In 1957 the maritime nations, within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly, correctly enunciated the doctrine of free and innocent passage through the Strait. When that doctrine was proclaimed-and incidentally, not challenged by Egypt at the time-it was little more than an abstract principle for the maritime world. For Israel it was a great but unfulfilled prospect; it was not yet a reality. But during the ten years in which we and the other States of the maritime community have relied upon that doctrine and upon established usage, the principle has become a reality consecrated by hundreds of sailings under dozens of flags and the establishment of a whole complex of commerce and industry and communication. A new dimension has been added to the map of the world's communications, and, on that dimension, we have constructed Israel's bridge towards the friendly States of Asia and East Africa, a network of relationships which is the chief pride of Israel in its second decade and on which its economic future largely depends.
130. All this, then, has grown up as an effective usage under the United Nations flag. Does Mr. Nasser really think that he can come upon the scene in. ten minutes and cancel the established legal usage and interests of ten years?
131. There was in this wanton act a quality of malice. For surely the closing of the Strait of Tiran gave no benefit whatever to Egypt except the perverse joy of inflicting injury on others. It was an anarchic act, because it showed a total disregard for the law of nations, the application of which in this specific case had not been challenged for ten years. And it was, in the literal sense, an act of arrogance, because there are other nations in Asia and East Africa which trade with the Port of Elath, as they have every right to do, through the Strait of Tiran and across the Gulf of Aqaba. Other sovereign States from Japan to Ethiopia, from Thailand to Uganda, from Cambodia to Madagascar, have a sovereign right to decide for themselves whether they wish or do not wish to trade with Israel. These countries are not colonies of Cairo. They can trade with Israel or not as they wish, and President Nasser is not the policeman of other African and Asian States.
132. When we examine, then, the implications of this act, we have no cause to wonder that the international shock was great, There was another reason for that shock. Blockades have traditionally been regarded, in the pre-Charter parlance, as acts of war, and now as acts of aggression. To blockade, after all, is to attempt strangulation-and sovereign States are entitled not to have their trade strangled.
133. The blockade is by definition an act of war, imposed and enforced through armed violence. Never in history have blockade and peace existed side by side. From 24 May onward, the question who started the war or who fired the first shot became momentously irrelevant. There is no difference in civil law between murdering a man by slow strangulation or killing him by a shot in the head. From the moment the blockade was imposed, active hostilities had commenced and Israel owed Egypt nothing of her Charter rights. If a foreign Power sought to close Odessa, or Copenhagen or Marseilles or Montreal or New York harbour by the use of force, what would happen? Would there be any discussion about whether a shot had been fired? Would anyone ask whether aggression had begun? Less than a decade ago" the Soviet Union proposed a draft resolution in the General Assembly on the question of defining aggression. The draft read:
"In an international conflict that State shall be declared the attacker which first commits one of the following acts:
"(a) Naval blockade of the coasts or ports of another State. 1/
134. This act constituted, in the Soviet view, direct aggression as distinguished from other specified acts designated in the Soviet draft as indirect aggression. In this particular case, the consequences of Nasser's action had been fully announced in advance.
On 1 March 1957, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, my predecessor, announced to the Assembly that:
"Interference, by armed force, with ships of Israel flag exercising free and innocent passage in the Gulf of Aqaba and through the Straits of Tiran, will he regarded by Israel as an attack entitling it to exercise its inherent right of self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and to take all such measures as are necessary to ensure the free and innocent passage of its ships in the Gulf and in the Straits." [666th meeting, para. 13.]
135. The representative of France declared that any obstruction of free passage in the Strait or Gulf was contrary to international law and would "entail a possible resort to the measures authorized by Article 51 of the United Nations Charter" [ibid., para. 59].
136. The United States, inside and outside of the United Nations, gave specific endorsement to Israel's right to invoke her inherent right of self-defence against any attempt to blockade the Gulf. Nasser was speaking with acute precision, therefore, when he stated that Israel now faced the choice either to be choked to death in her southern maritime approaches or to await the death blow from northern Sinai.
137. Nobody who lived those days of Israel between 23 May and 5 June will ever forget the air of heavy foreboding that hovered over our land. Penned in by hostile armies ready to strike, affronted and beset by a flagrant act of war, bombarded day and night by predictions of our approaching extinction, forced into a total mobilization of all our manpower, our economy and commerce beating with feeble pulse, our main supplies of vital fuel choked by a belligerent act, we in Israel faced the greatest peril to our existence that we had known since our resistance against aggression nineteen years before, at the hour of our birth.
138. By the end of May, our children were building air-raid shelters for their schools. There was peril wherever Israel looked, and she faced it in deepening solitude. On 24 May and on succeeding days, the Security Council conducted a desultory debate which sometimes reached a point of levity. Russian and oriental proverbs were wittily exchanged. On 24 May, the Soviet representative asserted that he saw no reason for discussing the Middle Eastern situation at all, The Bulgarian representative uttered these unbelievable words:
", , , at the present moment there is really no need for an urgent meeting of the Security Council," 2/
139. Those words were spoken on 24 May, one and a half days after the imposition of the blockade, which held world peace trembling in the balance.
140. A crushing siege bore down upon us. Multitudes throughout the world began to tremble for Israel's fate. The single consolation lay in the surge of public opinion which rose up in Israel's defence. From Paris to Montevideo, from New York to Amsterdam, tens of thousands of people of all ages and parties, groups and affiliations, marched in horrified protest at the approaching stage of politicide, the murder of a State. Writers and scientists, religious leaders, trade union movements, liberal and labour movements, and even the communist parties in France, Holland, Switzerland, Norway, Austria and Finland asserted their view that Israel was a peace-loving State, whose peace was being wantonly denied. In the history of our generation it is difficult to think of any other hour in which progressive world opinion rallied in such tension and agony of spirit to any cause.
141. To understand the full depth of pain and shock, it is necessary to grasp the full significance of what Israel's danger meant. A small sovereign State had its existence threatened by lawless violence. The threat to Israel was a menace to the very foundations of the international order. The State thus threatened bore a name which stirred the deepest memories of civilized mankind, and the people of the threatened State were the surviving remnant of millions who in living memory had been wiped out by a dictatorship more powerful, though scarcely more malicious, than Nasser's Egypt, What Nasser had predicted, what he had worked for with deflecting purpose had come to pass-the noose was tightly drawn.
142. So on the fateful morning of 5 June, when Egyptian forces moved by air and land against Israel's western coast and southern territory, our country's choice was plain. The choice was to live or perish, to defend the national existence or to forfeit it for all time. I will not narrate what then transpired.
143. From these dire moments Israel emerged in five heroic days from awful peril to successful and glorious resistance. Alone, unaided, neither seeking nor receiving help, our nation rose in self-defence. So long as men cherish freedom, so long as small States strive for the dignity of their survival, the exploits of Israel's defence forces will be told from one generation to another with the deepest pride. Today, again, the Soviet Union has described our resistance as aggression and sought to have it condemned. There is no foundation for this assertion, and we reject it with all our might, Here was armed force employed in a just and righteous defensive cause, as righteous as the defenders of freedom at Valley Force; as just as the expulsion of Hitler's bombers from the British skies; as noble as the protection of Stalingrad against the Nazi hordes, so was the defence of Israel's security and existence against those who sought our nation's destruction. What should be condemned is not Israel's action, but the attempt to condemn it. Never have freedom, honour, justice, national interest and international morality been so righteously protected.
144. While fighting raged on the Egyptian-Israel frontier and on the Syrian front, we still hoped to contain the conflict. Jordan was given every chance to remain outside the struggle. Even after Jordan had bombarded and bombed Israel territory at several points, we still proposed to the Jordanian monarch that he abstain from any continuing hostilities, I sent a message to him to this effect through General Odd Bull, the United Nations representative, at 12.30 p.m., some hours after the beginning of hostilities. A message to this effect reached him several hours after the outbreak of hostilities on the southern front on 5 June.
145. Jordan tragically answered not with words but with a torrent of shells. Artillery opened fire fiercely along the whole front with special emphasis on the Jerusalem area. It was a day of ordeal and of agony, and of death and of bereavement in Jerusalem streets. Thus Jordan's responsibility for the second phase of the concerted aggression is established beyond doubt. Surely this responsibility cannot fail to have its consequences in the peace settlement, As death and injury rained on the city, Jordan had become the source and origin of Jerusalem's fierce ordeal. The inhabitants of that city can never forget this fact, or fail to draw its conclusions.
146. I have spoken of Israel's defence against the assaults of neighbouring States. This is not the entire story. Whatever happens in the Middle East for good or ill, tor peace or conflict, is powerfully affected by what the great Powers do or omit to do. When the Soviet 'Union initiates a discussion here, our gaze is inexorably drawn to the story of its role in recent Middle Eastern history. It is a sad and shocking story; it must be frankly told.
147. There was in Soviet policy a brief but important period of balanced friendship. In 1948 the Soviet Union, in the Security Council, condemned what it called "Arab aggression", But in the last fourteen years the picture has changed. First of all there has been the arms race.
148. Since 1955, the Soviet Union has supplied the Arab States with 2,000 tanks, of which more than 1,000 have gone to Egypt. It has supplied the Arab States with 700 modern fighter aircraft and bombers; more recently with ground missiles, and Egypt alone has received from the USSR 540 field guns, 130 medium guns, 200 120-mm mortars, 695 anti-aircraft guns, 175 rocket launchers, 650 anti-tank guns, 7 destroyers; a number of Luna M and Sopka 2 ground-to-ground missiles, 14 submarines and 46 torpedo boats of various types, including missile-carrying boats. The Egyptian army has been trained by Soviet experts, Most of the equipment was supplied to the Arab States after the Cairo summit conference of Arab leaders in January 1964, which agreed on a specific programme for the destruction of Israel; after they had announced and hastened to fulfil this plan by accelerating arms purchases from the Soviet Union. The great proportions of Soviet assistance in the military field are attested to by the startling fact that, in Sinai alone, the Egyptians abandoned equipment and offensive weapons of Soviet manufacture whose value is estimated at $2 billion.
149. Together with the supply of offensive weapons, the Soviet Union has encouraged the military preparations of the Arab States, Since 1961 the Soviet Union has assisted Egypt in its desire to conquer Israel, The great amount of offensive equipment supplied to the Arab States strengthens this assessment.
150. Thus a great Power, professing devotion to peaceful settlement and the rights of States, has, for fourteen years, afflicted the Middle East with a headlong armaments race; with the paralysis of the United Nations as an instrument of security; and with an attitude of blind identification with those who threaten peace against those who defend it.
151. The constant increase and escalation of Soviet armaments in Arab countries have driven Israel to a corresponding though far smaller procurement programme, Israel's arms purchases were precisely geared to the successive phases of Arab, and especially Egyptian, rearmament. On many occasions in recent months we and others have vainly sought to secure Soviet agreement for a reciprocal reduction of arms supplies in our region. These efforts have borne no fruit. The expenditure on social and economic progress of one half of what has been put into the purchase of Soviet arms would have been sufficient to redeem Egypt from its social and economic ills, and corresponding diversion of resources from military to social expenditure would have taken place in Israel. A viable balance of forces could have been achieved at a lower level of armaments, while our region could have moved forward to higher standards of human and social welfare. For Israel's attitude is clear, We should like to see the arms race slowed down. But if the race is joined, we are determined, for our very existence, not to lose it, A fearful waste of economic energy in the Middle East is the direct result of the Soviet role in the constant stimulation of the race in arms.
152. It seems clear from Arab sources that the Soviet Union has played an alarmist role in spreading incendiary reports of Israeli intentions amongst Arab Governments.
153. On 9 June President Nasser said:
"Our friends in the USSR warned the visiting parliamentary delegation in Moscow at the beginning of last month, that there exists a plan of attack against Syria."
A great Power is telling Egypt that Israel is about to attack Syria. This is ten days after the Secretary-General of the United Nations has published a report stating that there are no troop concentrations at all in northern Israel against Syria.
154. Similarly, an announcement by TASS of 23 May states:
"The Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Knesset have accorded the Cabinet, on 9 May, special powers to carry out war operations against Syria. Israeli forces concentrating on the Syrian border have been put in a state of alert for war. General mobilization has also been proclaimed in the country ..."
There is not one word of truth in this story. But its diffusion in Arab ears could have only an incendiary result.
155. Cairo Radio broadcast on 28 May an address by Marshal Gretchko at a farewell party in honour of the former Egyptian Minister of Defence Shams ed-Din Badran:
"The USSR, her armed forces, her people and Government will stand by the Arabs and will continue to encourage and support them. We are your faithful friends and we shall continue aiding you because this is the policy of the Soviet nation, its party and government."
156. Now this promise of military support came less than a week after the illicit closing of the Strait of Tiran, an act which the Soviet Union had done nothing to condemn. So much, then, for the arms race and for the portrayal of Israel, in anxious Arab ears, as being poised for some fictitious aggression.
157. At the same time, the Security Council's role had been paralysed, for the Soviet Union has exercised its veto right there five times. Each time a just or constructive judgement was frustrated. It is important that we should analyse what these vetoes were.
158. On 22 January 1954, France, the United Kingdom and the United States presented a draft resolution 3/ to facilitate irrigation work on the west bank of the River Jordan in the Banat Yacoub Canal project. The Soviet veto paralysed regional water development for several years. On 29 March 1954, a New Zealand resolution 4/, simply reiterating United Nations policy against blockade on the Suez Canal, was frustrated by Soviet dissent, On 19 August 1963, a United Kingdom and United States draft resolution 5/ on the murder of Israelis at Almagor, on Israel territory, was denied adoption by Soviet opposition. On 21 December 1964, the Soviet Union vetoed a United Kingdom and United States resolution 6/ deploring incidents at Tel Dan, including the shelling of Dan, Dafne, Shaar Yashuv. Finally, on 2 November 1966, Argentina, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand and Nigeria joined 7/ to express regret at "infiltration from Syria and loss of human life caused by the incidents in October-November 1966" - a mild expression of regret at the loss of life by Syrian infiltration, one of the few draft resolutions in United Nations history sponsored by representatives from all the five continents.
159. Let me then summarize what the proposals are that have been vetoed: The use of water for irrigation instead of being wasted-veto, Free passage in international waterways-veto. An expression of regret that Israeli citizens had been murdered on Israeli soil-inadmissible, veto. An expression of regret at the bombardment of Israeli villages from Syrian guns-impossible, veto. And a resolution by eight countries, from five continents, expressing, in the most mild terms, regret at the infiltration from Syria and loss of human life in October-November 1966-the door is closed even to such mild expressions of condemnation.
160. Now this use of the veto has had a dual effect. First, it has prevented any resolution to which an Arab State was opposed from being adopted by the Council. The Council has therefore become a one-way street. Secondly, it has inhibited the Security Council from taking constructive action in many disputes between an Arab State and Israel because of the certain knowledge that the veto would be applied in whatever was deemed to be an Arab interest. The consequences of the Soviet policy have been to deny Israel the possibility of just and equitable treatment in the Security Council, and very largely to nullify the Council as the constructive factor that it should be in the affairs of the Middle East.
161. Does all this really add up to a constructive intervention by a great Power in the Arab-Israel tension? The position became graver when we recall the unbridled invective against the Permanent Representative of Israel in the Security Council. In its words and in a letter to the Israel Government, the Soviet Union has formulated an obscene comparison between the Israel defence forces and the Hitlerite hordes which overran Europe in the Second World War. There is a flagrant breach of elementary human decency and of international morality in this odious comparison-Israel with Hitler Germany, Our nation never compromised with Hitler Germany. It never signed a pact with Hitler Germany, as did the Soviet Union in 1939. To associate the name of Israel with the accursed tyrant who engulfed the Jewish people in a tidal wave of slaughter is to violate every canon of elementary taste and of fundamental truth.
162. In the light of this history, the General Assembly will easily understand Israel's reaction to the Soviet initiative in convening this special session, not for the purpose of proposing constructive or balanced solutions, but for the purpose of condemning our country and recommending the withdrawal to the position and situation that existed before 5 June.
163. In respect of the request for a condemnation, I give a simple answer to the Soviet Government, That Government's record in the stimulation of the arms race, in the paralysis of the Security Council, in the encouragement throughout the Arab world of unfounded suspicion of Israel's intentions, the constant refusal to say a single word of criticism at any time of declarations threatening the violent overthrow of Israel's sovereignty and existence-all this gravely undermines your claims to objectivity. You come here in our eyes not as a judge or as a prosecutor, but rather as a legitimate object of international criticism for the part that you have played in the sombre events which have brought our region to a point of explosive tension. If the Soviet Union had made an equal distribution of its friendship amongst the peoples of the Middle East, if it had refrained from exploiting regional tensions for the purposes of its own global policy, if it had stood in even-handed devotion to the legitimate interests of all States, then the crisis which now commands our attention and anxiety would never have occurred.
164. To the charge of aggression, I answer that Israel's resistance at the lowest ebb of its fortunes will resound across history, together with the uprising of our battered remnants in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a triumphant assertion of human freedom. From the dawn of its history the people now rebuilding a State in Israel has struggled often in desperate conditions against tyranny and aggression. Our action on 5 June falls nobly within that tradition. We have tried to show that even a small State and a small people have the right to live. I believe that we shall not be found alone in the assertion of that right, which is the very essence of our Charter.
165. Similarly, the suggestion that everything goes back to where it was before 5 June is totally unacceptable. The General Assembly cannot ignore the fact that the Security Council, where the primary responsibility lies, has emphatically rejected such a course. It was not Israel, but Syria, Egypt and Jordan, which violently shattered the whole fabric and texture of inter-State relations which existed for a decade since 1957. That situation has been shattered to smithereens. It cannot be recaptured. It is a fact of technology that it is easier to fly to the moon than to reconstruct a broken egg. Something organic has been destroyed; something new must be built. Therefore, the Security Council acted wisely in rejecting the backward step now advocated again by the Soviet Union. To go back to the situation out of which the conflict arose would mean that all the conditions for renewed hostilities would be brought together again. I repeat what I said to the Security Council. Our watchword is not backward to belligerency, but forward to peace.
166. What the Assembly should prescribe, in our view, is not a formula for renewed hostilities, but a series of principles for the construction of a new future in the Middle East. With the cease-fire established, our progress must be not backward to an armistice regime which has collapsed under the weight of years and the brunt of hostility. History summons us forward to permanent peace. The peace that we envisage can only be elaborated in frank and lucid dialogue between Israel and each of the neighbouring States. We dare not be satisfied with intermediate arrangements which are neither war nor peace. Such patchwork ideas carry within themselves the seeds of future tragedy. Free from external pressures and interventions, imbued with a common love for a region which they are destined to share, the Arab and Israel nations must now transcend their conflicts in dedication to a new Mediterranean future in concert with a renaissant Europe and an Africa and Asia emerging at last to their independent role on the stage of history.
167. In free negotiations with each of our neighbours, we shall offer durable and just solutions redounding to our mutual advantage and honour. But surely the Arab States can no longer be permitted to recognize Israel's existence only for the purpose of plotting its elimination. They have come face to face with us in conflict. Let them now come face to face with us in peace.
168. In peaceful conditions we could build a new region, with communications running from Haifa to Beirut and Damascus in the North; to Amman and beyond in the East. The opening of these blocked arteries would stimulate the life, thought and commerce in the region beyond any level otherwise conceivable. Across the Southern Negev, communication between the Nile Valley and the Fertile Crescent could be resumed without any change in political jurisdiction. The Kingdom of Jordan, now cut off from its natural maritime outlet, could freely import and export its goods on the Israeli coast; On the Red Sea, co-operative action could expedite the port developments at Elath and Aqaba, which give Israel and Jordan their contact with a resurgent East Africa and a developing Asia.
169. And so the Middle East, lying athwart three continents, could become a busy centre of air communications, which are now impeded by boycotts and circuitous routes, Radio, telephone and postal communications which now end abruptly in mid-air would unite a divided region. The Middle East with its historic monuments and scenic beauty could attract vast movements of travellers and pilgrims if existing impediments were removed. Resources which lie across national frontiers-the minerals of the Dead Sea and the Araba-could be developed in mutual interchange of technical knowledge.
170. In the institutions of scientific research and higher education on both sides of the frontiers, young Israelis and Arabs could join in a mutual discourse of learning. The point is that the old prejudices must be replaced by a new comprehension and respect, born of a reciprocal dialogue in the intellectual domain. In such a Middle East, military budgets would spontaneously find a less exacting point of equilibrium. Excessive sums devoted to security could be diverted to development.
171. Thus, in full respect of our region's diversity, an entirely new story, never known or told before, could unfold across the Eastern Mediterranean. For the first time in history, no Mediterranean nation is in subj ection. All are endowed with sovereign freedom. The challenge now is to use this freedom for creative growth. There is only one road to that end: the road of recognition, of direct contact and of true co-operation, of peaceful coexistence. And this road leads to Jerusalem.
172. Jerusalem, now united after its tragic division, is no longer an arena for gun emplacements and barbed wire. In our nation's long history there have been few hours more intensely. moving than the hour of our reunion with the Western Wall. A people has come back to the cradle of its birth. It has renewed its link with the mystery of its origin and its continuity. How long and how deep are the memories which that reunion evokes.
173. For twenty years there has not been free access by men of all faiths to the shrines which they hold in unique reverence, This access now exists, Israel is resolved to give effective expression, in co-operation with the world's great religions, to the immunity and sanctity of the Holy Places.
174. The prospect of a negotiated peace is less remote than it may seem. Israel waged its defensive struggle in pursuit of two objectives-security and peace. Peace and security, with their juridical, territorial, economic and social implications, can be built only by the free negotiation which is the true essence of sovereign responsibility. A call to the recent combatants to negotiate the conditions of their future coexistence is surely the only constructive course which this Assembly could take.
175. We ask the great Powers to remove our tormented region from the scope of global rivalries; to summon its Governments to build their common future themselves; to assist the Middle East, if they will, to develop social and cultural levels worthy of its past.
176. We ask the developing countries to support a dynamic and forward-looking policy and not to drag the new future back into the outworn past.
177. To the small nations which form the bulk of the international family we offer the experience which teaches us that small communities can best secure their interests by maximal self-reliance. Nobody helps those who do not help themselves, We ask the small nations, in the solidarity of our smallness, to help us stand firm against intimidation and threat such as those by which we are now assailed.
178. We ask world opinion which rallied to us in our plight to accompany us faithfully in our new opportunity.
179. We ask the United Nations, which was prevented from offering us security in our recent peril, to respect our independent quest for the peace and security which are the Charter's higher ends, We are going to do what the Security Council decided should be done-maintain the cease-fire-and reject the course which the Security Council emphatically and wisely rejected but a few days ago. It rejected the concept of returning to the situation of belligerency out of which the crisis arose-back to the old situation.
180. It may seem that Israel stands alone among numerous and powerful adversaries. But we have faith in the undying forces in our nation's history which have so often given the final victory to spirit over matter, to inner truth over mere quantity.
181. The Middle East, tired of wars, is ripe for a new emergence of human vitality. Let the opportunity not fall again from our hands.
182. The PRESIDENT: The representative of the United States has asked to speak in exercise of the right of reply, and l now give him the floor.
183. Mr. GOLDBERG (United States of America): Today we have listened with great interest and close attention to the statements made by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union, Mr. Kosygin, and the Foreign Minister of Israel, Mr. Eban. I do not wish to take the time of this Assembly today in giving a detailed answer to the remarks made by Mr, Kosygin about my country. The basic position of the United States has been stated this morning by the President of our country and I am content to leave it to all here to compare the temper and content of what these two leaders have said.
184. Tomorrow I shall elaborate our position in detail, but today, briefly, I shall respond to statements of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers that cannot be reconciled with the facts and must be dealt with immediately. I shall speak both today and tomorrow in the spirit,of President Johnson's statement of this morning: that our purpose is to narrow our differences with the Soviet Union where they can be narrowed, and to try to enlarge the arena of common action with the Soviet Union-all in the interest of helping to secure peace in the world for ourselves and for posterity.
185. I deeply regret, however, that the leader of a great nation should repeat the entirely false charge that my Government incited, encouraged and promoted Israel to conflict. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every resource of the United States inside and outside the United Nations was devoted to an effort to prevent the recent war; and Mr. Kosygin, perhaps better than any world statesman, should know what these efforts were. And he must also know of our efforts to stop the fighting as soon as it started. It is particularly incomprehensible that he should allege that we sought to gain time in the Security Council to permit Israel to consolidate its military operations. Quite the contrary, as the records of the Security Council show.
186. As soon as the war broke out we joined with others in the Security Council in seeking an immediate end to the military conflict. It was not the United States, but others, that delayed action for more than thirty-six hours on this simple demand.
187. The charge that United States participation in international efforts to assure freedom of innocent passage through the Gulf of Aqaba was encouragement of Israeli aggression is a particularly topsy-turvy version of history. Since closing the Gulf of Aqaba clearly increased tension and entailed the risk of starting a conflict, our efforts to defuse the situation were obviously designed to forestall war, not to promote it. More generally, the description of the origins of the conflict, the denigration of United States efforts to avert it, the misstatements about the efforts of the Security Council to prevent it and then to stop it, were plainly a partisan presentation.
188. Let me say only that I must categorically reject the unfounded and unworthy insinuation that the United States had any part whatever in the recent conflict in the Middle East except to try to stop it by every means at every stage, And tomorrow I shall set the record straight in all respects to corroborate this statement.
189. As for Viet-Nam, I have only a very simple statement to make. I would invite the distinguished Chairman of the Council of Ministers to co-operate with the Security Council of the United Nations or with the Geneva machinery to bring peace to Viet-Nam. The United States is ready to join with him in such an effort, and to join with him today.
190. But I do not believe that our debate is furthered by discussing in this special Assembly irrelevant subjects-Viet-Nam, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Germany. Tomorrow I shall deal with the real question on our agenda, which is the need for a just and stable peace in the Middle East, so ardently desired by all people of the world.
191. The PRESIDENT: I call on the representative of the United Kingdom to speak in exercise of his right of reply.
192. Lord CARADON (United Kingdom): We listened with the closest attention to both of the remarkable speeches made to us today, and I wish to keep the Assembly only for a few minutes in referring to the one made by Prime Minister Kosygin.
193. We shall continue, respectfully, to search for ideas and proposals made in that speech which are constructive and may give hope for the future. My Foreign Secretary will today be on his way to New York, and when he comes to this Assembly he will fully state the record and the policy of my Government. For the moment, I have only three things to say about the speech Prime Minister Kosygin made to us today.
194. First, a suggestion was made that encouragement was given to Israel by British naval and air forces. It was noticeable that it was not claimed today that there was any British participation. Such a claim could not be made. Prime Minister Kosygin could not do so, for he knows very well that the charge made by others-that there was British naval and air support to Israel, direct or indirect-is totally untrue.
195. Secondly, Chairman Kosygin implied that my delegation had delayed in the Security Council. Had he been here he would know that this is the opposite of the truth. We were amongst the first to advocate that the Security Council should meet and act and take hold of the situation. And had our initiative been accepted in time, the war indeed might have been averted; had our proposal been adopted, the cease-fire might have been called for sooner.
196. The third suggestion was that we have failed to give our attention to the practical action now required. On the contrary, the records of the Council show that we have sought throughout to direct the Council not to mere declarations, but to the practical ways and means through the United Nations for working without any delay whatsoever towards a just settlement.
197. There will be ample opportunity to pursue consideration of all the questions before us. We shall wish to direct our effort not to recrimination but to constructive settlement. We trust that in doing so all will co-operate.
198. We paid special and particularly respectful attention to Prime Minister Kosygin's appeal that we should find a common language in order to reach peace in the Middle East. We earnestly support that appeal. But the three suggestions to which I have referred demanded immediate refutation.
199. The PRESIDENT: I call on the representative of Saudi Arabia to speak in exercise of his right of reply.
200. Mr. BAROODY (Saudi Arabia): Mr. President, I want to assure you that I am not going to engage in debate. When the turn of Saudi Arabia comes we shall have our say on this question.
201. However, I have asked to speak in exercise of my right of reply. I should like to quote the following passage from Mr. Eban's speech:
"I would have no difficulty at all in swelling the General Assembly's records with a thousand official statements by Arab leaders in the past two years announcing their intention to destroy Israel by diverse forms of organized physical violence." (Supra., para. 104.)
202. The leader of my country has time and again made it explicit, in various capitals of Western Europe, that the Arab world cannot accommodate Zionism in our midst. It is not a question of thousands of official statements, I should like to tell Mr. Eban. If our leaders did not reflect the mood of the Arab people, they would not remain leaders. This is something which should be noted by all countries, especially the Western countries which were instrumental in creating Israel. They have forgotten that this artificial State has destroyed the indigenous people of Palestine. Forget that they are Arabs: they were the natives of Palestine.
203. I should like to tell Mr. Eban, who is conversing with a colleague now-all right, he will read this in the record-that he knows better than anyone else that the Arabs have never had a grudge against any Jew as such, whether an oriental Jew or a Jew from elsewhere. Incidentally, we worship the same God. But our problem is not with Judaism; our problem is with political Zionism, which made of Judaism, a noble religion, the motivation for its own political ends.
204. We consider the leaders of Israel as Europeans, as representing a new form of colonialism. We do not wish to destroy the Jews. We protected the Jews throughout our history. But we cannot accommodate a European political incursion in our midst. Any leader who does not reflect the mood and the ethos and the thinking of the Arab world will be liquidated by none other than the Arab people. Let this sink into the minds of those who created Israel.
205. We have a history of 6,000 years in the area. This dark cloud will be dissipated by time, not through rancour and hatred. If the same European Zionists were to come as Jews to worship their God with us, to worship the same God as we do, we would have no quarrel with them. But to bring their own culture from Europe and impose it upon us-that is something which the Arab people will not accept.
206. We tried to reason with them, I amongst others, before the creation of the State of Israel. Face to face, man-to-man we reasoned with them. But they insisted on colonizing a part of the Arab homeland.
207. Again, we will have our say in the general debate. But I must repeat that there is no quarrel between Islam and Christianity and the Jews and Judaism. at we expect of the imperialist Powers is that they leave us alone and not colonize us by proxy, The Holy Land Is holy to all of us. The religious argument does not hold, because to both Muslims and Christians, who are more numerous than the Muslins, to both Islam and to Christianity, Palestine is as holy as it is to Judaism, if not more so. And if we go by the historical argument, that, again, does not hold any water. On that premise, any country that had occupied another country would be able to confront the vanquished with a fait accompli. Why did the small European peoples from underground organizations to fight the Nazis and the Fascists in Europe? They did not consider their situation as a fait accompli. Why should the Arabs, in the face of this colonial incursion in their midst, accept it as a fait accompli? That is not what I, or you, Mr. President, or the Secretary-General, or any one of us who are dedicated to peace would want to see-war, and strife. But since this is a momentous occasion which, as the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union said, may engulf us all in war, I should like to say that the policy of the European Zionists is like what Samson said: "On my head and on the heads of my enemies I would bring down this structure". I do not speak for the Soviet Union, but from the tenor of their speeches in the Security Council and here, they must know that the leaders of European Zionism are capable of plunging this world into a conflict, and if they are treading softly, we do not blame them.
208. But whatever arrangements are made among the great Powers, the Arab peoples will stand up for their rights-if not right away, then perhaps at some time when there will be a day of reckoning, which we would all deplore because only the innocent usually suffer in such conflicts.
The meeting rose at 1.20 p.m.