LONDON (Nov. 16)
Support for Israel’s position on the Arab refugee questions came this week-end from an unexpected quarter: the “Church of England Newspaper.”
The newspaper, in a lengthy editorial, blamed the Arab leaders for the existence of the refugee problem, hit them for exploiting it for their own ends, parcelled out to the British Government its share of criticism for its role in the Middle East from 1948 to the present and recommended that the United States and Britain, possibly in cooperation with the United Nations, insist upon a Middle East peace settlement.
After pointing out that the Arab leaders ordered the initial movement of Arab refugees out of Palestine, the editorial contrasted the reception given Jewish refugees by Israel and that given the Arab refugees by the surrounding Arab states. The Arab states keep their refugees in “wretchedness,” the church paper declared, to “distract the thoughts of the depressed social classes from their own misery” and because they want to “keep anti-Semitic feeling at faver heat in case the opportunity should ever arrive for renewing the war against Israel.”
The editorial turned to the British role today, asserting: “The Jews are under boycott from the Arab nations. Their own oil refineries at Haifa are still closed down. They see the British preparing to hand over the (Suez) Canal bases with all they signify to their enemies, the Egyptians. They are aware of British help in arms and finance to the Arab Governments. Their own economic plights is dire. Is it really astonishing if they too feel desperate?”
Of the British part in the Arab invasion of Israel in 1948, the newspaper stressed that when the British Army evacuated Palestine it “left troops of the Arab Legion under command of a British citizen (Brig. John) Glubb in a central position in the country where they could do the greatest possible damage to the Jewish cause. That part of the affair is one of the most discreditable episodes in the recent history of this country. It precludes us from passing facile judgment upon the Israelis.”
The newspaper also suggested that “if we depend upon the Arab states for oil they depend upon us for the use and exploitation of it and for finance, as also for defense against the Russian threat. There should be adequate material here for a bargain.”