Menu JTA Search

Pro-arab Spokesmen Attack Israel at Senate Group Hearing

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Bitter attacks against Israel were made today by pro-Arab witnesses who testified before a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the subject of the Arab refugee problem.

Monsignor Thomas J. McMahon, representing the Catholic Near Eastern Welfare Society, called for the internationalization of Jerusalem, stressing the Christian claims on Palestine could not be separated from the Arab refugee problem.

The priest approved testimony given earlier by George M. Barakat, an Arab propagandist, and said that he thought the Administration’s pro-Israel policy of the last five years should be changed. Stating that he spoke as a representative of the Church, Monsignor McMahon declared: “We are not anti-Semitic; we are anti-nothing when we are pro-human.”

Testifying on behalf of the “National Association of Federations of Syrian and Lebanese American Clubs,” of which he is president, Mr. Barakat demanded that “the United States should insist that Israel restore the territory seized by it beyond the boundaries assigned to it by the United Nations.” Mr. Barakat said the U.S. Government could bring “enough pressure” through the United Nations to “compel compliance.”

The Arab spokesman maintained that a solution of the Arab refugee problem involved the “re-adjustment” of Israel’s borders and the internationalization of Jerusalem. He also asked the Senators for an “internationalized corridor” from the Mediterranean to Jerusalem. Israel should be made to permit return of the Arab refugees, Mr. Barakat said, and should be forced to “compensate them for property losses” and release Arab funds he said were frozen in Israel banks.

Another attack on Israel was made by Stephen B. L. Penrose, president of the American University of Beirut. Mr. Penrose asked Senators how Israel could say there was no room for the Arab refugees when a request was recently made for the release of 2,500,000 Jews from behind the Iron Curtain. He asked that an effort be made to see if the Arabs can be re-established in Israel, warning that the present situation threatened world peace. A “border adjustment,” he said, “will have to be a part of the solution of the refugee problem.”

ACTING SECRETARY OF STATE PRESENTS GOVERNMENT VIEWS

Acting Secretary of State Walter Bedell Smith, testifying before the same sub-committee, said that the State Department has concluded that the Arab refugee problem “is a world problem which it is proper for the United Nations to deal with.” Mr. Smith told the subcommittee that the United States should continue to support the

The Acting Secretary recommended the termination date for the refugee care program be extended from June 30, 1954, to June 30, 1956. A request was also made for an overall increase of $50,000,000 in the relief fund. The settlement of this issue, he said, would have a great effect on the progress of the Mutual Security Agency and the solution of other issues in the Near East.

Arthur Z. Gardiner, political and economic adviser of the Near Eastern Division of the State Department, told the subcommittee that the reason for the recent Arab-Israel border disturbances was that the Arab refugees could look across the border from the Arab countries and see the land which they had formerly inhabited. Asked by subcommittee members whether there were Communists among the Arab refugees, Mr. Gardiner said that there were Communists on “both sides” of the border.

NEXT STORY