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Lebanese Radio Callson Arab Leaders to Open Direct Negotiations for Peace with Israel

The Lebanese Government-controlled radio, in a statement monitored here today, said that direct Arab negotiations with Israel might bring a “reasonable solution” of the Palestine problem. This is the first official statement of any Arab League state on the matter of direct negotiation.

The Lebanese broadcaster, speaking in Arabic, declared that “the Arab Leaders should decide without western pressure either to open direct negotiation with the Jew or to fight for the occupation of all Palestine. The Arabs cannot lose by direct negotiations,” he stressed.

The commentator said that if the Arab leaders decide upon negotiations they would not be betraying their people, but would be trying to save life and restore the rights of the Palestine Arabs. The other alternative, he warned, was war in an attempt to occupy all Palestine at a cost of many Arab lives.

An Israeli spokesman here, commenting on the surprising broadcast, said that “if the report were correct, it shows a sense of reality as well as common sense, which if it grew would be a stabilizing factor is the Middle East.”