Menu JTA Search

Basic Problems of Israel Settled, Open War Unlikely, Acting Mediator Says in Tel Aviv

Although difficulties lie ahead, the “basic problems” of the establishment of the Jewish state and immigration to Israel have already been solved, acting mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche today told newsmen here after a visit with Premier David Ben Gurion and high officials of the Foreign Office.

The mediator, who arrived in the Israeli capital today over the land route from Jerusalem, stated that to all “practical purposes” a settlement has been reached and added that he does not expect the resumption of open warfare, although minor incidents are always possible. “If all parties try hard enough it will be possible to make the transition from truce to armistice and then to a final settlement,” Dr. Bunche said.

He insisted that after meeting with Egyptian Premier Nokrashy Pasha, King Abdullah of Transjordan, Ben Gurion and President Weizmann, “The biggest hurdles have already been taken.” The armistice, unlike the truce, he declared, “will mean a withdrawal and reduction of forces and the establishment of normal conditions.”

He revealed that he had heard from the Israelis this morning that a solution of the Cyprus refugee problem is near and that direct British-Israeli talks have taken place. The United Nations never saw a “valid reason” for the detention of the Jews, he continued.

The mediator will make a full report of the current situation to the Security Council in Paris, he said, adding that he hoped to have more positive news by the time he reports. He asserted that the situation in the Negev was “satisfactory to the Jews and less so to the Egyptians, while the United Nations feels that the resolution has not been realized fully.” In a joking aside, he said that the arrival of the armistice and the departure of the U.N. truce machinery from the Middle East would be a “welcome reward” for all concerned.

BEN GURION AND BUNCHE DISCUSS NEGEV WITHDRAWAL AND ARMISTICE

During the meeting between the mediator and the Israeli officials, the discussion centered about “who will arrange outstanding matters in the Negev, the armistice prospects in the light of the Paris resolutions and the refugee problem,” it was announced here.

A group of Palestine Arabs yesterday submitted a memorandum to Dr. Bunche in Amman asserting that they were representatives of the Palestine Arabs and favoring “Abdullah’s rule over the Arab part of Palestine,” George Barnes, the mediator’s press officer, disclosed here today. The Palestine Arabs added that they felt that there was already too much outside interference in Palestine’s affairs. Dr. Bunche spent three hours with Abdullah yesterday and several more hours with the Transjordan Foreign Minister, Barhes added.

The entire U.N. party left Tel Aviv for Rehovoth to pay a courtesy visit to President Weizmann, after which they were slated to fly to Haifa where they will remain overnight. The mediator will fly to Paris tomorrow and from there will leave for the United States on Dec. 12 when he “assumes that the conciliation commission will take over.” Special Security measures were taken during the visit here, with military police and truckloads of soldiers scattered throughout the area and military Jeeps, armored and radio care patrolling the road in the vicinity of the government seat.

NEXT STORY