Heated Debate on Refugee Problem Marks Session of U.N. Committee
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Heated Debate on Refugee Problem Marks Session of U.N. Committee

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The debate in the Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Committee of the General Assembly about United Nations plans for solution of the European refugee problem has developed into an all-out battle on two fronts, with all the Arab delegates attacking Israel and backing the Soviet Union’s insistence on repatriation for all refugees. At the same time, the Soviet stand is being fought vigorously on other grounds by the American and British delegations under the leadership of Jacob Blaustein, the United States delegate on the committee.

Emil Najar of Israel today replied forcefully to repeated Arab attacks which brought in the situation of the Palestine Arab refugees–an issue which is not even under the jurisdiction of this committee. Dr. Yorgui Hakim of Syria delivered an attacks against “the Zionists” whom he charged with ignoring “the call of the United Nations for repatriation.”

Mr. Najar told the committee last week that he would not answer these “irrelevant” attacks. Today, however, the Israel delegate asked for the right to reply to “defamation of my country.” To Dr. Hakim’s charge that the Arab refugees had been driven forcefully from their homeland, Mr. Najar pointed out that the Palestine refugee problem was a direct result of the Arab decision to oppose with arms an earlier UN decision regarding Palestine. He reminded the committee that Israel had admitted many refugees, among them 300,000 destitute Jews from Arab countries who had been given “a fraternal reception.”

When Mr. Najar had finished, not only Dr. Hakim but three other Arab delegates–Jamil Baroody of Saudi Arabia, A. Khadhim of Iraq and Karim Azkoul of Lebanon–asked to be given the right to reply. Egypt’s Omar Loutfi, who is chairman of the committee, promised them such time later.

At a second session this afternoon, a vote was taken on two opposing resolutions: one sponsored by the USSR and backed by the Arab bloc, the other sponsored by the Western Powers. The Western resolution won out, dealing the Soviet-Arab bloc a decisive defeat.

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