Abba Eban (1915-2002) was israel's ambassador to the United Nations during the Six Day War in 1967. He delivered an eloquent and influential speech to the UN Security Council on June 6, which articulated Israel's yearning for peace. Here are excerpts:
I've just come from Jerusalem to tell the Security Council that Israel, by her independent effort and sacrifice, has passed from serious danger to successful resistance. Two days ago, her condition caused much concern across the humane and friendly world. Israel had reached a somber hour.
Let me try to evoke the point at which our fortune stood: An army, greater than any force ever assembled in history in Sinai, had massed against Israel's southern frontier.
Egypt had dismissed the United Nations forces, which symbolized the international interest in the maintenance of peace in our region. Nasser had provocatively brought five infantry divisions and two armored divisions up to our very gates. Eighty thousand men and 900 tanks were poised to move. A special striking force comprising an armored division with at least 200 tanks was concentrated against Eilat, at the Negev's southern tip. Here was a clear design to cut the southern Negev off from the main body of our state. For Egypt had openly proclaimed that Eilat did not form part of Israel and had predicted that Israel itself would soon expire.
The proclamation was empty. The prediction now lies in ruin.
...I have said, Mr. President, that the situation to be constructed after the cease-fire must depend upon certain principles. The first of these principles surely must be the acceptance of Israel's statehood and the total elimination of the fiction of her non-existence. It would seem to me that after 3,000 years, the time has arrived to accept Israel's nationhood as a fact. For here is the only state in the international community which has the same territory, speaks the same language, and upholds the same faith as it did 3,000 years ago...How grotesque would be an international community which found room for 127 sovereign units and which did not acknowledge the sovereignty of that people which had given nationhood its deepest significance and its most enduring grace.
...For there will never be a Middle East without an independent and sovereign state of Israel in its midst.
...I think that Israel has proved her steadfastness and vigor in recent days. She is now willing to demonstrate her instinct for peace. Let us build a new system of relationships from the wreckage of the old. Let us discern across the darkness the vision of a better and a brighter dawn.