Menu JTA Search

Arabs Approach Israel with Peace Proposal, Epstein Announces at U.p.a. Conference

The Special Representative of the Israeli Government in the United States, Eliahu Epstein., disclosed here today at the United Palestine Appeal national conference that, “one of the most important Arab states has approached my government with peace proposals.”

In revealing this new development in the Palestine struggle, Mr. Epstein also flatly declared that Israel would not recognize the British-Chinese resolution passed Thursday by the U.N. Security Council which calls for a falling back to previously held military positions in the Negev.

“There is not the slightest chance that Israel will give up the Negev,” Epstein stated, “and there is no way back now to the military situation of October 14.” Mr. Epstein said his government had not yet taken an official stand on the question but that on the basis of his knowledge of his government and his people such a statement could be made.

Disclosing that the new Arab peace overtures were on a more serious and urgent level than any others in the past, Mr. Epstein voiced the belief that there would be “peace in Palestine by the end of the year if action on the Security Council resolution is suspended.” He said the resolution “seriously jeopardizes this peace prospect.”

“We think this Arab state has been impressed by the election victory of President Truman,” Epstein said, adding that he could not reveal which Arab nation was involved. “They feel that Truman stands for a permanent settlement rather than continuation of the truce and that this will bring an end to the tug of war in the U.N.,” he said.

Admitting that the Jews had been approached on various occasions before by the Arabs for peace negotiations, Epstein emphasized that the latest overtures, which he said, came “several days ago,” were on a now level of seriousness.

ELECTION OF TRUMAN CHANGED ARAB PERSPECTIVE ON ISRAEL, EPSTEIN SAYS

“There have been approaches made before and more of them by the Arabs then by him,” he said, “but every time the tug-of-war in the U.N. has lead the Arabs to believe they would get more through political moves than through military adventures. We expect that now the Truman election has changed their perspective. They also know for certain today that the war will boomerang against them.”

Announcing that “we too want and are seeking direct peace negotiations,” Epstein declared: “We now challenge the U.N. to carry out the provisions of the Oct. 19 resolution calling for the bringing together of the two parties in the struggle.” Epstein, in discussing the Angle-Chinese resolution, explained that Israel could not agree to leaving the positions its army holds because “it is a question of safeguarding 24 Jewish communities,” but added that “we feel the British are using this resolution to shut us out of the Negev to make it easier to implement the Bernadette plan. We shall never allow this to happen.”

The Israeli envoy also related to the Angle-Chinese resolution publication of a report concerning alleged secret shipments of arms to Israel. Labeling the story a “time bomb,” he said the Israeli Concernment “suspects very much the story has been published to smear our name in U.N. councils.” He termed the story a “complete fabrication,” adding : “our victories over the Arabs have not come from superior arms. We have been like David against Goliath. It has been the spirit of David possessing nothing but a stone that has made our victories.”

SILVER, GOLDSTEIN URGE TRUMAN TO HALT “STATE DEPT. INTRIGUE”

Addressing the 3,000 delegates attending the U.P.A. national conference, Drs. Abba Hillel Silver and Israel Goldstein last night urged President Truman to “halt the State Department’s intrigue against Israel” and to carry out his pro-Israeli pledges. Dr. Silver told the delegates from all sections of the United States that “it is the clear policy of Great Britain to keep Israel in a military and economic strait-Jacket,” because England “covets the oil and potential military bases of the Negev.”

Charging Britain with responsibility for the present truce in Palestine, the chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency demanded: “How long will Truman permit the initiative to remain in the hands of Bevin, who has contributed only war and chaos to both Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land?” He also regretted that some “officials in the State Department are pursuing Bevin’s policy.”

Dr. Goldstein, treasurer of the Jewish Agency and national chairman of the United Palestine Appeal, asserted that pledges to Israel were part of the mandate President Truman recently won at the hands of the American people. He warned that “American Jews will not relax their vigilance on this political front under the instigation of Great Britain.”

Turning to the economic needs of Israel, Dr. Goldstein–who will leave in two weeks to take up his new duties as Jewish Agency treasurer in Jerusalem–disclosed that Israel requires the sum of $240,000,000 for its current immigration and resettlement program. “At least 75 percent of this sum will have to come from the Jews of America,” he added. Dr. Goldstein cautioned that failure to provide Israel with the necessary funds for this program would in effect mean telling tens of thousands of Jews in Europe “to stay where you are.”

Other speakers at last night’s session included Dr. Chaim Greenberg, member of the World Zionist Executive, and Rabbi Max Kirshblum, vice-president of the Mizrachi Palestine Fund.

NEXT STORY