NEW YORK (Sep. 29)
Emphasizing that the recommendations on Palestine submitted by the late U.N. mediator Count Folke Bernadotte to the United Nations do not guarantee peace for that country, Eliahu Epstein, Israeli representative to the United States, today told a press conference here that Israel cannot afford to give up any part of the Negev, which was allotted to the Jewish state under the U.N. partition decision.
“The western part of the Galilee is no compensation for the Negev,” he declared. He pointed out that only the Jews would be interested in developing the desert land of the Negev and converting it into fertile soil since this part of Palestine offers opportunities for settling large numbers of displaced Jews on the land. He also stressed the fact that Bernadotte’s recommendations for amputating the Negev from Israel would deprive the Jews of the Dead Sea with its considerable mineral resources.
Epstein drew attention to the fact that the Arabs have rejected the Bernadotte plan and that the U.N. would therefore meet with great difficulties in implementing it. He reported at length on the present mood among the Jews of Israel and stressed that all forces there are united in their determination to secure Israel’s independence and peace. He expressed the hope that public opinion in the United States will support Israel’s opposition to that part of Bernadotte’s report which seeks to deprive the Jewish state of territory assigned to it under the November 29 partition decision of the U.N. General Assembly.