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Israel Refuses to Discuss Arab Refugee Problem Before Consideration of Peace Terms

The Israel Government today rejected an Arab offer to discuss peace terms only after prior consideration of the return of the Arab refugees to Israel. (In Geneva last night Claude de Boissanger, chairman of the U.N. Conciliation Commission for Palestine, said that Egypt, Syria and Lebanon would talk peace only on this basis.)

An Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the Israel Government refuses to consider the problem of peace divisable nor can it see any useful purpose in singling out any one aspect of the problem for consideration outside the entire issue.

Pointing out that the Arab states have not yet said that they are willing to enter into a peace discussion with Israel, the Foreign Ministry spokesman pointed to the Arab League’s decisions to stiffen the economic blockade of Israel and to impose economic sanctions against any Arab state which concludes peace with Israel.