Israel Must Remain Sovereign, Abba Eban Declares at Rally

Former Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban told a Yard solidarity rally for Israel yesterday that Israel's existence must be a permanent one.

Speaking to a crowd of 200 on the steps of Memorial Church, Eban said Arab states must not be allowed to achieve total Middle Eastern sovereignty because the Middle East is the "birthplace of many nations."

"We are a part of the Middle East--of its past glory, its present reality, and its future destiny," Eban declared.

"The question of whether there will be 20 or 21 Arab states in the Mideast is morally trivial compared to the question of whether the Jewish people should possess its only home," he said.

Eban said that Israel is willing to negotiate with Jordan and the "West Bank Arabs" the establishment of a Palestinian state "side-by-side and together with Israel."

Israel From Israel

But Israel cannot negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, he said, because "the PLO wants to expel Israel from Israel."

Eban said that although it was "disquieting" that a 26-year-old state needed public demonstrations of support, rallies for Israel were necessary because the forces threatening Israel also threaten Western civilization's "principles of international civility and order."

Before Eban's speech, George H. Williams, Hollis Professor of Divinity, told the audience that the American people--and the American religious community in particular--would never back away from their commitment to Israel.

Maccabean Liberation

An ad hoc group of Jewish students and faculty organized the solidarity rally. It was scheduled during the holiday of Chanukah to emphasize the "connection between the Maccabees' liberation struggle and the struggle to keep the homeland," Daniel H. Rothstein '77, one of the rally's organizers, said.