Eden and Sharett Discuss British-israeli Relations, Middle East

Problems concerning British-Israeli relations and Israel’s role in the Middle East, as well as international problems, were discussed here today by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Israel’s Foreign Secretary Moshe Sharett. The meeting of the two Ministers lasted one hour. No details of the discussion were revealed.

Later, addressing a Foreign Press Association luncheon tendered in his honor, Minister Sharett made it clear that Israel does not contemplate establishment of any relations with Germany. The German-Israeli reparations talks which are to start within a fortnight are not the first step in this direction, he insisted.

Outlining Israel’s stand on conciliation with the Arab countries, Mr. Sharett said it was the absence of peace with the Arabs which forced Israel to strengthen its fies with countries further afield. “These contacts,” he declared, “will stand Israel in good stead long after her relations with her immediate neighbors are normalized. Therefore, far from weakening Israel, in the long run the Arab challenge has enhanced her immunity to the dangers of isolation. But Israel is not in the least anxious to perpetuate her loneliness. She is only too eager to reach a settlement with her Arab neighbors.”

Mr. Sharett said that the Arab attitude toward Israel is based on two outdated and irrational notions: “the first, that one can indefinitely disregard a solid fact created under one’s very nose; the second, that it is possible under modern conditions to strangle a country, or at least bring it to its knees, by sealing off its land frontiers.”

This policy, he emphasized, had worked harm to Arab interests. He said that Israelihad found other suppliers for materials it could have bought from the Arab states and found other markets for goods it could have shipped to the Arabs. He pointed out that the Arab boycott could not cripple the Jewish State as long as the air and sea lanes were kept open, adding that aviation had assured Israel’s survival at this critical stage.

Turning to the problems of the Arab refugees, the Foreign Minister maintained that vital security considerations forbid Israel’s acceptance of their return to their former homes. He stressed that the best that could happen to the refugees this year would be for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to proceed with its task of finding homes and jobs for them. Israel is willing to accept on a permanent basis the 20,000 displaced Arabs now living in Israel and to pay compensation for the lands of the Arabs who fled, he stated.

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