LAKE SUCCESS (May. 26)
The Arab League tonight formally rejected the Security Council’s cease-fire request and countered with a virtual ultimatum to the Council setting a 48-hour limit upon any new proposal for the solution of the Palestine problem to be considered by the League’s political committee.
The Iraqi delegate, Al-Asil, delivered the declaration in the name of all seven Arab League states. He insisted that the present cease-fire request would aggravate rather than improve the situation so long as Jewish immigrants and Jewish arms flowed into Israel. He requested the dissolution of all Zionist groups in Palestine, the stoppage of Jewish immigration and the renunciation by the Jews of their newly-proclaimed state.
Maj. Aubrey Eban, Israeli representative, termed the Arab reply a “flat and defiant” rejection. “All the ambiguity of the Arab position has now been stripped away,” he said. “If the Arabs want peace, they can have it. If they want war, they can have that, too. Israel will not commit suicide at their request. They are seeking the fruit of a victory which has not even been won.”
BRITISH DELEGATE SAYS ARABS MUST CAPTURE JERUSALEM TO SAVE FACE
John Fletcher-Cooke, a member of the British delegation, declared that the Arab League “could not possibly accept” the Council’s cease-fire order “until they score a major military success. He admitted that the military situation was unfavorable to the Arab armies, adding that if the Transjordan Legion should eventually capture Jerusalem, the Arabs might then be ready to cease firing. Otherwise, the Arab leaders would lose face at home, he said.
American readiness to give Bevin more time for his interventions with Abdullah and the other Arab leaders, which amounts to countenancing further bloodshed until the Arabs can retreat with dignity, was indicated today by a spokesman for the U.S, delegation.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Israeli Government declared that exaggerated Arab claims had given the public a wholly distorted picture of the Jerusalem fighting. Israeli forces control “almost all” of modern Jerusalem, the spokesman pointed out, and, in the Old City, he said, Jews there were outnumbered 15 to one even before the mandate ended.
He asserted that elsewhere in Palestine Haganah holds the upper hand. Israel is in “complete control of the populated territory allocated to it under the General Assembly’s resolution and its forces have not merely repelled the attacks of five armies but have taken the offensive and today control all of Galilee,” he declared.
United Nations circles expressed great interest today in a Moscow announcement that the Soviet Government has agreed to exchange diplomatic representatives with Israel, following a request by Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok.