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London is Skeptical over Reported Iraqi Proposal for Population Exchange with Israel

The recent Iraqi proposal for the transfer of Iraq’s Jews to Israel has thus far caused no appreciable stir in London. Indeed, so far it remains wholly unnoticed in the British press and, furthermore, the Foreign Office has expressed itself as extremely skeptical about it.

The importance of the Iraqi proposal, it is emphasized by top Foreign Office officials, lies in that it was made at all, and not in the details of the Plan for the exchange of Iraqi Jews against Palestine Arab refugees. The British view, it is stressed, is still the one originally proposed to the U.N. Economic Survey Group by Sir Desmond Norton. That view was that such an exchange of populations was both feasible and possibly desirable.

The British foresaw this population exchange as part of a general Middle Eastern settlement between the Arab states and Israel and as a process which would require from three to five years in which an orderly and equitable transfer could be arranged. The reported Iraqi proposal, in the British view, does not meet this criterion and is regarded more in the nature of an expulsion of the Iraqi Jews than an orderly transfer of populations.