Israel Rejects Gromyko Demands for Withdrawal, Damages to Arabs
Menu JTA Search

Israel Rejects Gromyko Demands for Withdrawal, Damages to Arabs

Download PDF for this date

The Israeli delegation here reacted sharply today to the Soviet position regarding the Israeli-Arab crisis as described in the General Assembly’s general debate over the weekend by USSR Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko. The formal reply to Mr. Gromyko, who had reiterated his Government’s stand against Israel, will be made here tomorrow, when Israel Foreign Minister Abba Eban will speak in the general debate.

Mr. Gromyko called Friday for withdrawal of Israel’s armed forces from the areas it occupied as a result of the Six-Day War in June. He again demanded that Israel draw back to the Arab-Israel armistice lines that were in existence as of last June 5, the day the Israeli-Arab war broke out. He also warned that Israel would face sanctions if it did not comply with the United Nations resolutions invalidating Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem, and demanded that Israel pay for damages inflicted on the Arab states as a result of the war.

As for sanctions, which he said should be voted by the Security Council, Mr. Gromyko threatened that the Soviet Union would “be ready to participate in the implementation of that decision.” He insisted that “the first step” toward the pacification of the Middle East region must be the “freeing of Arab lands from the forces of the Israeli aggressor.”


The rejection of Mr. Gromyko’s stand was voiced by a spokesman for the Israeli delegation, who pointed out that the Soviet Union’s demands and proposals were precisely the ones that had previously been “emphatically rejected” by the emergency special session of the General Assembly and by the Security Council.

Mr. Gromyko, said the spokesman, had proposed measures that “were nothing but a return to the conditions which led to war last summer and would, if reproduced, bring about another war in the future.” The spokesman added that “the tensions and instability in the Middle East in recent years are very largely of Soviet manufacture.” “A more self-critical and constructive statement,” said the Israeli, “would have been more appropriate” on behalf of the Soviet Foreign Minister.

As for Israel’s position, the spokesman said, it remained unchanged. “So long as there is no formal peace between Israel and the Arab states,” he declared, “Israel will base her security on the maintenance and respect of the cease-fire agreements” between Israel and the warring Arab states.

In contrast with Mr. Gromyko’s position, the Foreign Minister of Japan, Takeo Miki. who also addressed the General Assembly, called for direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab states toward solving the Middle East crisis. Mr. Eban, who busied himself Friday with conferences with leading statesmen here, conferred, among others, with Mr. Miki as well as with Britain’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, George Brown, and with the French Foreign Minister, Maurice Couve de Murville.


A preview of the position he will take at tomorrow’s General Assembly meeting was given by Mr. Eban this weekend in an address before the Edward R. Murrow World Affairs Forum of the Overseas Press Club, in New York. Mr. Eban declared that “in direct negotiations with Arab governments. Israel will present specific and tangible proposals compatible with the sovereign rights, mutual interests and national dignity of all Middle Eastern states.” He said “every Arab state which negotiates with us will improve its own prospects of stability and economic progress, as well as advancing the welfare of our common region.”

Mr. Eban added that “on the other hand, the principles adopted by the Arab summit conference at Khartoum — ‘no recognition, no negotiation, no peace’ — are simply a prescription for immobility. The result of this policy can only be the indefinite continuation of the cease-fire situation. Israel is ready for this result if it is forced upon her, but she has not renounced the better hope of a negotiated peace establishing the new political, juridical, territorial and security conditions on which the Middle Eastern future must be built.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund