PARIS (Sep. 22)
A spokesman for the Israeli delegation today announced that “the Israeli Government is giving most serious study to Bernadotte’s report to the General Assembly.”
The people of Israel, he said, are eager for peace with their Arab neighbors and they will earnestly explore all proposals put forward as a basis for a final and lasting peace. He emphasized that while Israel welcomes the fact that Bernadotte’s report expresses the central fact of Israel’s independence and of its vitality as a state, it would nevertheless be premature at this stage to accept its conclusions in entirety.
“A careful study and discussion is obviously essential,” the spokesman stated. “Thus one of the conclusions which calls for the most critical scrutiny is the suggestion that the Negev be exiled from the state of Israel. The U.N. Special Committee on Palestine, after an exhaustive study of the Palestine problem, recommended that the territory of the Negev be included in the Jewish state. This recommendation was accepted by the General Assembly.”
The spokesman then pointed out that “to exclude the Negev from Israel would be to take away two-thirds of its area, reduce it to a miniature state, restrict its growth and demand from the Jewish people the only available land reserve which offers prospects of large-scale development.” He also emphasized that the people of Israel, especially of Jerusalem, will not look with equanimity on any plan which would jeopardize the fate of 95,000 Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem by cutting them off from direct contact with Israel.