WASHINGTON (Sep. 20)
Israel-Jordan relations are reviewed in a study published today by the State Department in which American hopes for a “definitive and just” Arab-Israel peace is expressed. The statement recalls that King Abdullah of Jordan had advocated peace with Israel but was assassinated in 1951 for this move.
“The exact location of the Jordan-Israel border has not been finally determined,” the State Department stresses. It also points out that “there remain unsettled such serious questions as the future of almost 900,000 Arabs–about half of whom are now in Jordan–who left their homes in Israel during the fighting, the establishment of friendly relations and the resumption of trade, the status of Jerusalem, as well as the location of permanent boundary lines.”
The study reports that Arab refugees in Jordan, under certain circumstances, might wish to remain there in preference to returning to Israel. “While many cling passionately to claims for repatriation, experienced observers have said that most of the refugees would actually prefer to stay in Jordan provided they could get adequate compensation for abandoned lands and property and aid in getting a fresh start,” the State Department review says It notes, however, that “until more arable land can be made available, it is doubtful if Jordan can absorb these refugees. Jordan’s great hope lies in irrigation development from the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers.”
Even though the signing of a formal treaty of peace between Jordan and Israel may be a still-distant hope, the report says, “it now appears possible to solve the problems of Jordan water needs without such a treaty.” In any event, it declares, the United States will continue efforts to bring about “an equitable sharing of the disputed waters and their development for the benefit of the peoples concerned.”
The State Department traces the United Nations partition plan and recalls that “Jerusalem and its environs were slated for territorial internationalization.” It adds that “many Zionist groups wanted still more territory than the plan proposed. Others of Jewish faith both in and out of Palestine, voiced objections to partition on the grounds that it was not necessary to achieve independence as a separate political unit in order to preserve identities that are essentially spiritual. However, most Zionist leaders acquiesced in the plan because it gave them the long-sought opportunity of founding a nation in the area.”
Today the report says, the unresolved Arab-Israel issue “is weakening the area to the detriment of the security of the free world. This is among the chief reasons why the United States hopes for a definitive and just peace between the parties.”