JERUSALEM (Aug. 28)
The Israel Cabinet took up today the proposals put forward by United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles with regard to border guarantees, border revision, a loan for compensation of Arab refugees and United Nations review of the status of Jerusalem. An official communique issued following the first Cabinet meeting on the subject said that the proposals contained in Mr. Dulles’ speech required further elucidation through direct contact with the Government of the United States.
Meanwhile, an article by Premier-designate David Ben Gurion in Davar, organ of the Histadrut, Israel Federation of Labor, on his negotiations for the formation of a broad coalition cabinet, gave a strong hint on probable Israel reaction to at least one point implicit in the Dulles address–the question of redrawing borders in the Middle East.
Mr. Ben Gurion’s article said that there were no divergencies among the parties to the coalition talks on one point, and that was territorial integrity. “It is clear beyond doubt,” the Mapai leader wrote, “that all parties who may come up for consideration as partners in any future coalition want peace with their neighbors, and none of them contemplate any military conquests. But they’re ready for it (peace) under one clear condition–there shall be no change in the borders detrimental to Israel nor may her sovereignty be affected in any way. It is clear to me that no government will come into existence in Israel which is not ready to guard Israel’s borders and her sovereignty at all costs.”
Israel newspapers made their initial comments on the Dulles proposal today, since they do not regularly publish editions on the Sabbath. In general, the tone of press response tended to see more unfavorable possibilities in specific proposals by Mr. Dulles than favorable ones, although it was generally conceded that they at lease represented a beginning of earnest effort on the part of the Western Powers to seek a solution to a vexing problem.
The main objections to the Dulles plan, as reflected in editorial opinion, fell under the heading of territorial integrity Most of the papers took the position that any allusion to new borders would inevitably mean new borders at Israel’s expense. All were at pains to note that Israel did not view the Negev as “wasteland” to be held for “sentimental” purposes, but rather as a vital development for Israel’s future. It was also pointed out that in the view of the newspapers, the borders now in existence are not mere “accidents” of the war and that they should be given more earnest consideration than Mr. Dulles speech indicated.
Still another question raised in the editorials was related to the Arab refugee compensation loan. Almost all papers pointed out that the Iraqi Jews who fled to Israel were also entitled to compensation, although Mr. Dulles had not mentioned it, and some questioned whether compensation to the Arabs would really aid in their resettlement in view of the known attitudes of Arab leaders. One newspaper stated flatly that the proposals are “sabotage for Israel,” and referred to the proposal as a “plot” by Mr. Dulles, which is impossible of realization.