UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Nov. 24)
After nearly two weeks of abuse by Arab delegates debating the Arab refugee problem in the General Assembly’s special political committee, Abba Eban, chairman of the Israel delegation to the United Nations, delivered today an address to the committee replying to most of the Arab charges.
Speaking for over an hour, Mr. Eban challenged the Arab states on their claims that repatriation of the refugees is the only solution. “Why do they not accept integration? Why do they not permit the free movement of the refugees within their own areas?” he asked. He pointed out that the Arab “host” governments are constantly obstructing rehabilitation and reintegration of the refugees. He reminded the committee that altogether, including the various United Nations agencies that have participated in the work, more than $200 million has been spent in an effort to alleviate the lot of the refugees, “yet now their number is greater than ever.”
Israel, he declared, has shown what can be done, having fully reintegrated “within its limited capacity” a total of 45, 800 refugees. Iraq, Mr. Eban continued, has absorbed only 5,000 refugees, while at the same time, 120,000 Iraqi Jews found integration in Israel. He cited this fact to illustrate a contention he made repeatedly that the “Arab governments do possess the capacity for integration” but instead have constantly obstructed all efforts in that direction. Mr. Eban “earnestly invited” all members of the United Nations to visit Israel and see for themselves whether the Arabs living in Israel do live in freedom and dignity.
Syrian delegate Ahmed Shukairy, who followed the Israel diplomat, repeated the usual anti-Israel allegations and spelled out in detail the fact that the Arabs want nearly all of Israel to be opened for “repatriation.” He named specifically the following areas: Northern Palestine,” obviously meaning all of Galilee; “the center, west of the armistice line,” and all of the Negev.