Socialist Congress Urges Israel and Arabs to Negotiate Peace
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Socialist Congress Urges Israel and Arabs to Negotiate Peace

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A resolution urging the negotiation of a peace settlement between Israel and the Arab states was adopted here today at the concluding session of the International Socialist Congress. The resolution said that such a settlement “would open the way to fruitful cooperation to the benefit of all.” It added that “the new State of Israel represents a new ferment and a progressive, democratic approach to the problems of the important Middle East region.”

An American delegate, speaking on the resolution, said it was “unfair” to blame Israel for the plight of the Arab refugees. This is a United Nations responsibility, he insisted, and Israel cannot be expected to admit elements whose aim is to destroy the state.

Reuven Barkatt, Israel delegate to the Congress, sharply denounced a speech by Dr. Edith Summerskill, chairman of the British Labor Party. Her speech also brought forth a statement by Morgan Phillips, chairman of the Congress, designed to remedy the impression left by her remarks.


Referring to her visit to Jordan and Israel this year, Dr. Summerskill opened a discussion on Asia and Africa by speaking of the bitterness she found among Arabs because of the plight of the Arab refugees from Israel. There were two steps which should be taken immediately, she advised the Israel Government. The first was that Arabs who left property in Israel should either be allowed to return or be compensated. The second, according to Dr. Summerskill, was that the demarcation lines, which were too hastily drawn should be revised immediately.

Dr. Summerskill said that Israel’s representatives spoke of peace, but the way to prepare for peace was to settle legitimate grievances. “I hold no brief for the reactionary Arab governments,” the Labor Party head asserted, “but I say to Israel, “You’re giving those reactionary governments the very weapons they need against their own people.”

Mr. Barkatt, replying to her address, said that his delegation had been more than surprised to hear the Arab case put in so able, one-sided and biased a way by the chairman of the British Labor Party and said he was pleased to know that Dr. Summerskill had spoken in a purely personal capacity. He asked if she had forgotten who declared war, who was determined to exterminate Israel, who had really created the refugee problem and who had opposed the United Nations resolutions. He also asked whether Dr. Summerskill’s speech was an example of the British tradition of fairness and impartiality.

Mr. Phillips said that describing the present misery of Arab conditions could not affect the attitude of the Labor Party toward Israel and the Mapai, which was one of the greatest admiration and respect for the advances made by Israel under the leadership of the Mapai. The Laborites, he said, wished Mapai every success in the forthcoming national elections. He then proposed, and the Congress agreed without dissent, to send a message of good wishes and solidarity in the coming electoral struggle to the Mapai.

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