New York Post Thursday, October 27, 1955
By PAUL SANN
The Arab line today can be summed up in 10 words:|
Peace, it's wonderful, but the other side doesn't want it.
The most eloquent of the Arab world's spokesmen, Premier Nasser of, Egypt, has driven this theme home with much vigor since he made his cut rate $80,000,000 arms deal with the Communists.
Nasser says he needs to streamline his creaky war machine to defend himself against Israeli's "aggressive intentions." He says he wouldn't have to hustle for heavy weapons if the Israelis weren't so hungry for conquest.
The Arab line didn't always read that way.
Right up to this past summer the printed and spoken t record had quite another sound, and a very ominous one at that. It bears looking at now as the Arab-Israel conflict moves closer and closer to a showdown.
On June 24, 1951, the Iraq newspaper Filastin quoted Dr. Fadhil Jamali, the oil-rich Arab kingdom's Ambassador-at-Large and delegate to the UN:
"Whoever thinks of making peace with the enemy signs the death warrant of all the Arab nations."
Dr. Jamali at that moment was on his way to Washington to buy his army some weapons.
In mid-August, 1952, Cairo's Al Ahram quoted Brig. Gen. Adib Shishekly, then president of Syria:
"The Middle East is not large. enough for both Jews and Arabs."
When Mohammed Naguib was Gamal Nasser's hand-picked president of Egypt, back in June, 1953, a story in Cairo's Al Yakzah quoted him as follows on the situation in the Middle East:
"The only solution is Israel's disappearance."
On Aug. 24, 1953, Egypt's Al Misri quoted Mohammed Salah-ad:.Diri, a former foreign minister:
On Nov. 15, 1953, The New York Times quoted Fawzi Mulki, then prime minister of Jordan:
"Jordan's policy will continue to be 'no peace with Israel.' "
On Jan. 10, 1954, The Times quoted King Saud of Arabia:
Israel is like a cancer to the human body, and the only way of remedy is to uproot it . . . We Arabs total about 150,000,000. Why don't we sacrifice 10 million of our number and live in pride and self-respect?"
On May 13, 1954, while he was pulling the strings as leader of Egypt's revolutionary Command Council and letting Maj. Gen. Naguib take the bows as the nominal head of state, Nasser was quoted by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini:
"Israel is an artificial state which must disappear."
On July 2, 1954, Nasser's Minister of National Guidance, Maj. Salah Salem, was quoted by Cairo's Al-Ahram:
". . . We shall prepare the forces that will liberate Palestine. And, with the help of God, there will be a great revival."
(Major Salem, like Naguib, has since been tossed out--but not for his utterances about Israel. He talked too much about other items. Naguib went into oblivion, also known as "house arrest," developing the quaint notion that Nasser had really put Egypt's destiny in his hands.)
On April 12, 1954, Cairo's Al-Misri quoted Mohammed Salah-ad-Din (mentioned above) :
"We shall only have completed satisfaction when Israel is finally blotted out from the map of the Middle East. The Arabs will find no rest until this cancer has been removed from their heart."
(By the way, you need have no concern about the accuracy, authenticity or official nature of quotes in the Egyptian newspapers. The military junta controls them.)
On Oct. 15, 1954, Nasser's official mouthpiece, El-Gomhou1ia, said this:
"Egypt and the Arabs must turn in the name of humanity and culture to all nations of the world who will aid in wiping Israel off the face of the map. . . ."
(It turned out that Nasser had to gobehind the Iron Curtain to get help "in the name of humanity and culture.")
On Nov. 8, 1954, Syrian Prime Minister Faris AI Khoury told his Parliament:
"How can we possibly make peace with them (Israel) while they remain there? This (the Arabs' 1948 war against Israel} was only the first round, and, unfortunately it was not successful. The Arabs--we included--should prepare for a second round and do their utmost. . . ."
On Nov. 16, 1954, the Egyptian regime's official radio, "Saut el Arab" (Voice of the Arabs), aired this statement:
"Egypt sees Israel as a cancer endangering the Arab peoples. Egypt is the physician who can uproot this cancer. Egypt does not forget that it is her obligation to take revenge, and she is mobilizing all her forces in anticipation of the hoped-for day."
Come now to 1955 and see what the Arabs were saying just before they began to talk about an imminent attack from lsrael.
Egyptian radio oracles aired this: statements:
"Israel . . . is like a hopeless prisoner doomed to be hanged. Israel needs a lesson to teach her that the Arab armies can put an end to the problem and restore peace in the Holy Land."--May25.
"The way to peace is to cleanse Arab soil from the Zionist scourge."--June 2.
"We cannot always remain at a state of war with Israel. We are therefore compiled to mobilize all Arab potential to exterminate her finally. Therefore let us plant in the hearts of the younger generation a hatred of Israel."--June 7.
Jordan's Al Jihad quoted the Syrian Army Chief of Staff Shauket Shukeir on July 29:
"The Arabs will soon succeed in regaining the rights of the Palestine nation in their entirety--the day of liberation is near."
That statement, coming in July from a Syrian spokesman via a Jordan newspaper, reflected a not uncommon short-circuit in the public relations apparatus of the Arab states.
For by then Egypt was singing another tune--at least in the statements put out for export. Egypt had begun to turn away from vows about destroying Israel to talk more and more about the Jewish State's alleged thirst for taking over the whole Arab world.
Nasser himself has furnished the best clue. He has said that when his $27,000,000 arms deal with the U. S. fell through in June, he let our State Department know that he would have to do business with the Russians.
Washington has denied that the Egyptian Premier said any such thing, but whether he said it or not it has since become clear that he did start talking to Moscow in the summer.
So when Nasser began to soft pedal threats against Israel and tell the world that the infant statfe was fixing to push the Arabs around, but soon, the Czech deal was on the fire.
It is a tortured fact of history that Israel itself received arms from the Czechs until Moscow purged the Rudolf Slansky-Vladimer Clementis regime iln Prague via the hangman's rope in 1952.
Israel defends its own Czech deal by saying that it was negotiated during the Arab-Israeli war with the pre-Communist Masaryk regime but. that Slansky and Clementis continued to honor the contract and send arms after Moscow took over.
One of the charges against Slansky, Clementis and nine other Red Czech government leaders was that they participated in a "Zionist conspiracy" against the Kremlin--and sending arms to Israel was one of the counts in the indictment.
To get back to Nasser, it is only fair to say that Egypt and the smaller Arab states talked about Israel's "aggressive intentions" before last summer, too. There was always Some' talk of aggression but the emphasis--particularly for domestic consumption in the Arab press and on the radio--was usually on the need to wipe out Israel to avenge the defeat of 1948.
Last month Nasser told a New York Times reporter that "No Arab state would say that we must destroy Israel." When he said it Nasser was ignoring the harsh printed record cited in this article.
Actually, all the pieces fit together now.
Both at home and abroad the young ruler needed a strong case to justify going behind the Iron Curtain to shop for destructive playthings.
In the outside world, surely, he would have looked awfully bad buying arms from the Russians to push Israel into the sea just to put out the fire smoldering in Arab breasts for seven years.
Indeed, the Russians themselves might have been embarrassed selling arms in the Middle East for a war of aggression while the sweet smell of Geneva was still in the air.
So the Arabs' familiar we-must-destroy-Israel theme had to go and did.
In the Middle East I encountered some non-government observers--in Israel and Cairo--who thought that both the Czech deal and the new Nasser arms-for-defense line had been made in Moscow.
In any case, there was a fine professional touch to the shift in emphasis. It looked slicker than anything that bad come out of Cairo, propaganda-wise, in the three years of Gamal Nasser's reign.
TOMORROW: Portrait of Egypt in the third year of the Nasser Revolution.
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