JERUSALEM (Feb. 18)
There are no contacts of any importance between Israel and the Arab states, except for Egypt, Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok stated at A press conference here last night.
He said there had been some sporadic contact, but it was unimportant and did not obligate any party However, he stressed that the Israeli Foreign Office is preparing for the time when such contact will be of significance in paving the road to peace.
The Foreign Minister also emphasized that no negotiations will be undertaken with Trans Jordan or any other Arab state until the Rhodes armistice talks are concluded. In reply to a query whether Israel will accept Transjordan’s rule over the non-Jewish parts of Palestine, Shertok declared: “We would like to have a Palestine Arab state in the non-Jewish parts of the country, but we will not fight for its establishment.”
Turning to the future of Jerusalem, he asserted that Israel will never give up the Jewish part of the city, but that it is ready to discuss the internationalization of the Holy Places. He also said that the Jews will not overlook any attempt to solve the Jerusalem problem, “but we will not retreat from a clash if a solution us.”
Speaking of Israel’s foreign policy, he said that like other peace-loving nations it does not want and does not intend to interfere in the struggle among the various states. He revealed that Israel is prepared to negotiate with France concerning French property throughout Israel, including Jerusalem, Just as it is now doing with the Soviet Union.
Shertok disclosed that immediately after President Weizmann’s inauguration the members of the Cabinet handed in their resignations, but the President asked them to continue to function until a new government is formed. Summing up the results of the Assembly’s session in Jerusalem, he said that it laid down the foundations of a parliamentary, republican regime and marked the end of the Jewish community’s maintenance of national institutions on a voluntary basis.