Israeli Government Criticized in Parliament for Its Plan to Readmit Arab Refugees

Attacks from the left, center and right last night greeted Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett’s statement in the Knesset that the government was prepared to discuss plans to readmit an unspecified number of Arab refugees provided a solution of that problem was achieved within the framework of a general peace.

Herut representative Arieh Ben Eliezer attacked the suggestion, quoting Mr. Sharett’s speech of five weeks ago in the same chamber. At that time he said the readmission of a substantial number of Arabs would constitute a grave security threat and a danger to the country’s economic structure. The Herut leader insisted that no refugees should be readmitted until all the invaders had left Palestine soil and Israel received all of Palestine as its territory.

He attributed the government’s “weakness” in this situation to the fact that it had neglected its international obligations to “meddle” in the “intrigues of American Jews.” He also demanded that the Knesset enjoin the government from making any further concessions or commitments at the Lausanne parley without prior approval by the parliament.

General Zionist deputy Joseph Saphir said that he suspected that the Foreign Minister’s statement foreshadowed further concessions. He also called it a mistake to make concessions on the refugees in advance of obtaining counterbalancing concessions from the Arab states. Rabbi Mordecai Nurok, of the Mizrachi, said that his party favored the readmission only of those Arabs whom the war had separated from their families.

Samuel Mikunis, communist leader, stated that his party favored the return of peace-loving Arabs. This, he said, was not only a matter of justice but one of self interest since Israel must consider its future situation among the Arab nations of the Middle East. He insisted that the initiative in this matter should have come from the Israeli Government rather than as a “result of submission to American imperialism.”

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