JERUSALEM (Nov. 4)
Israel will ask, in the next few days, for a new aid grant from the United States Government, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett announced in the Israel Parliament today. The Knesset was crowded as deputies and visitors came to hear Minister Sharett’s statement of Israel’s attitude toward a Middle East defense command and on American assistance.
The Israel Minister paid tribute to President Truman and leaders of both major political parties in the U.S. who made possible the $65,000,000 in grants for Israel included in the recently passed U.S. foreign aid program. He declared that these grants are of “considerable help” in Israel’s current difficult economic situation, and that they will improve the financial condition of the country. Mr. Sharett also told Parliament that Israel’s interests lie in those countries whose Jewish communities can assist in bringing immigrants to the Jewish state and in stabilizing the nation.
In a resume of events at the Paris Arab-Israel conciliation conference, which has completed seven weeks of frustration, the Foreign Minister said that the success of the talks was doubtful from the beginning and it is now clear that the Commission has failed. Until the Arab states agree to Israel’s condition that the armistice agreements be converted into peace treaties Israel will not enter into further negotiations with them, he stated.
He declared that it was the responsibility of the Arab states to absorb the Arab refugees, while Israel was prepared to pay reparations for abandoned Arab lands. However, he pointed out, Israel cannot in her present situation make such payment without international contributions, and that damages suffered by Israel as a result of the Arab invasion would be deducted from the total payment.
OUTLINES ISRAEL’S STAND TOWARDS MIDDLE EAST COMMAND
Outlining Israel’s stand on the question of establishing a Middle East command, Mr. Sharett emphasized that the Western Powers have not invited the Jewish state to participate in such a command, but merely informed her of their plans to establish it. No Middle East command has been established as yet, he assured the deputies.
In this connection he pointed out that Israel views with anxiety the delivery of arms to any state in the Middle East which refuses to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state. “The arms,” he said, “might be turned against us at any moment and under any circumstances, therefore Israel must look for closer ties with those democratic countries where the Jewish communities can assist us.”
Mr. Sharett stressed Israel’s wholehearted desire to see world peace preserved. However, the hard facts show that the international situation remains tense, he said. This, he added, compels Israel to safeguard her interests, security and independence “as we defended it during the War of Liberation.”
Referring to the question of Israel’s claims of $1,500,000,000 in reparations from Germany, the Foreign Minister mentioned the fact that major Jewish organizations from various countries last week conferred in New York on this subject and said that Israel waits for Germany to offer “practical proof of its intentions.” He made it clear that reparations do not mean forgiveness or forgetfulness of the Nazi crimes against Jews.
The highlights of Mr. Sharett’s speech were approved by the Israel Cabinet prior to its delivery in parliament. A debate scheduled to last eight hours began immediately after the Foreign Minister concluded his review.