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British De Facto Recognition of Israel Demanded by Eden in House of Commons

Although Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin did not mention the Palestine issue in his report introducing a two-day foreign policy debate in Commons today, the question was raised by Conservative and Liberal Party leaders, with Former Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden demanding de facto recognition for Israel.

Speaking for the Conservatives, Eden first raised the issue. He asserted that the Middle Eastern question was a throat to the cordial relations between Britain and America and urged that all possible action be taken to bring about a settlement without further delay. “I firmly believe that it would be in the interest of the Arabs as much as anyone else that we consider establishing a political representative in Tel Aviv on a de facto basis,” Eden said.

Such conditional recognition would depend on an undertaking not to resume military operations and to enter immediately into negotiations for a settlement, Eden said. The Conservative leader also demanded that Jerusalem be placed under an international regime as outlined by the late Count Folse Bernadotte. Describing the Palestine situation as “very pressing,” Eden referred to the alleged Jewish incursions into Transjordan territory and for the first time stated that the reports of the alleged invasions came from a British resident of Tel Aviv.

For the Liberals, Clement Davies urged recognition of Israel, declaring that the government’s present Palestine policy is “far from good.” While the Arab state in Palestine has failed to materialize, Davies stated, Israel has been recognized by 19 nations, including the United States. “Let us drop this peevish attitude and get the United Nations to recognize Israel and admit her to the Council of nations,” Davies pleaded. “This would go a long way to bring peace to the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Although we have done much for the Jewish race throughout the years, we have succeeded in alienating the sympathies of even the best and most moderate Jews,” he stated. “We have succeeded in irritating and alienating every one of the Arab states,” he added, stressing that there is a real opportunity to settle the problem, even “at this late hour.”

Seymour Cocks, Laborite, declared that it was about time the Foreign Office “abandoned this anti-Semitic policy,” and recognized Israel. He insisted that the Foreign Office reflects the views of neither the Parliamentary Labor Party nor the country at large. He stated that the Foreign Office was backing the “camel against the airplane,” since the situation in Palestine is a “struggle between the Tenth and Twentieth Centuries.”

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