TEL AVIV (Jun. 15)
Demands advanced by the U.S. Government in a recent note to the Government of Israel were vigorously rejected today by Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett in an address delivered before the Knesset.
Israeli soldiers, he said, had not died in conquering essential territory only to have it later relinquished by Israeli “politicians.” He revealed that “certain parties” are attempting to sever the Negev from Israel, and warned that the Israeli Government will oppose any such attempts.
Praising the “partition decision” of the United Nations which gave birth to the Jewish state, Mr. Sharett pointed out that this decision constituted a basis for territorial adjustment, but cannot serve as a criterion now. He refuted any territorial compensation to the Arab states and stressed that Israel rejects any agreement allowing Syrian forces to remain on Israeli territory. He also emphasized Israel’s desire for negotiations and settlement of the Gaza problem.
The Israeli Foreign Minister emphasized that although the government refuses to allow the wholesale admission of Arab refugees–because it considers such mass admissions suicidal to the interests of the country previous to a final peace settlement–nevertheless, entry visas will be granted to Arabs in special cases, primarily when wives and children of residents in Israel are involved. There are 155,000 Arabs now residing in Israel, he reported.
CONDEMNS ANTI-ISRAELI PROPAGANDA; APPEALS TO POPE TO LEARN FACTUAL SITUATION
Condemning the anti-Israeli propaganda now being conducted with regard to the Holy Places, the Foreign Minister said that false horror stories are being spread in coordination with propaganda regarding the admission of Arab refugees. They aim to create tension between the people of Israel and the Catholic Church, he added. He pointed out that Christian rights are safeguarded in Israel and expressed the hope that Pope Pius XII will examine the facts and learn the true situation.
“Israel,” he said, “insures religious freedom and is safeguarding the Holy Places under the supervision of United Nations authorities.” He expressed the belief that a solution will be found with regard to the Jerusalem problem which will be satisfactory to all sides involved. He stressed that the existence of a Jewish population in Jerusalem outside of Israel is inconceivable.
Israel desires peace but not at any price, Mr. Sharett declared. He concluded by expressing hope that diplomatic relations will be established between the Jewish state and the Arab states in the near future. President Weizmann and a large number of foreign diplomats attentively listened to the review given by the Foreign Minister.
“Yaacov Riftin, a leader of Mapam, the left-wing United” Workers Party, open the debate on Mr. Sharett’s speech by criticizing the government for not seeking support against the “pressure” which the American Government is now trying to exercise over Israel. Menahem Beigin, leader of the Herut Party, demanded that the Israeli Government resign immediately “because of its failures. He also requested the Kneset not to recognize the British-Trans Jordan alliance of 1948 which allows British forces to enter Transjordan territory.