LAUSANNE (Jul. 29)
An Arab-Israeli agreement at the conference here sponsored by the United Nations Conciliation Commission on Palestine appears nearer today than at any time in the long and tangled history of the relations between the two disputing groups. After the Commission met today with the Arab delegates, it appeared that the “constructive period” of the conference had begun at last.
Progress is coming in a series of apparently small steps forward. It is hoped they will bring about a full settlement by the time the United Nations General Assembly meets next September in New York. That is the view expressed by almost all the delegates and members of the Commission. In fact, Paul Porter, the new chief United States representative on the U.N. body, feels so strongly that the back of the Palestine problem will be broken by then that he has proposed that the Commission adjourn to New York at that time, and there complete any of its unfinished business.
Moreover, progress has also been made by the new Commission technical committees in the course of the last two days. After obtaining Arab agreement to the Israeli proposal for the reunion of broken families, the committee concerned is now considering the unfreezing of blocked Arab funds in Israeli banks. Here, too, essential progress toward settlement has been recorded. It is by means of such technical agreements that final settlement will be forged, in the opinion of the Commission.
THERE IS NO LONGER ANY DANGER OF ARAB ATTACKS ON ISRAEL, GEN. RILEY SAYS
Major Gen. William E. Riley, U.N. chief of staff for Palestine, who has spent two days here and who today met with the full Commission prior to his scheduled return to Jerusalem tomorrow, informed that body and the Israeli delegation that, in his view, there is no longer any danger of new Arab attacks on Israel; and that none of the Arab armies are at present capable of mounting attacks even if the inclination still existed.
Gen. Riley is returning to Jerusalem where the local situation is causing some anxiety in view of a change in Transjordan policy and the internal situation within Transjordan itself. These changes have led to the withdrawal of almost the entire Transjordan force stationed in Jerusalem. However, any incident provoked under these circumstances might create a fait accompli in the way of total Israeli occupation of all of Jerusalem on the eve of the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
Reuben Shiloah, head of the Israeli delegation here, had informal talks yesterday with each of the three members of the U.N. Conciliation Commission. It was later indicated that Israel is ready to discuss the question of Arab refugees and would be prepared to submit precise figures on the number of refugees who would be repatriated. The Commission, therefore, feels that for the moment the refugee issue is no longer the most difficult on the agenda and is concentrating on preparing its report on the future of Jerusalem for the U.N. General Assembly.
This has been somewhat complicated by a change in Transjordan’s position. Transjordan has informed the Commission that it no longer supports partition of Jerusalem and now agrees with the other Arab states on full internationalization of the city. This Transjordan change-over is not taken seriously by the Israeli delegation which holds to partition as the only possible solution.