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Senate Report Urges U.S. to Promote Direct Arab-israel Peace Talks

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The United States Government was called upon today to take leadership in promoting direct peace talks between Israel and the Arab countries. It was also urged to work for the resettlement of Palestine Arab refugees in Arab lands and to increase food assistance to Israel.

These recommendations were made in an official report published today by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The report was prepared by Sen. Hubert H Humphrey, chairman of a Senate subcommittee on the Near East. The Minnesota Democrat said in his report that the U.S. policy in the Near East has concerned itself too much with kings and oil, and too little with people and water. To promote regional stability, he urged solution of the Arab refugee problem and steps to bring about Arab-Israel rapprochement.

The resettlement of Arab refugees in Arab lands, the Senator said in his report, is “the only effective and realistic way of solving the Arab refugee problem. He called attention to the fact that “half of the refugees are now under 15 years of age This he said, meant that despite the clamor of professional refugee leaders for a return to Palestine and the insistence of the Arab governments on repatriation to their former homes, half of the refugees have in fact no roots in Palestine at all.”

“They were either less than five years old when they left that country, or were born in the refugee camps in the Arab states,” he pointed out, To return them now to an alien society they have been taught to despise would be as self-defeating and unsatisfactory as abandoning them to mature in the appalling atmosphere of hopelessness which now pervades the refugee camps. The destiny of these young Arabs clearly lies in an opportunity for a productive and self-reliant life in an Arab environment and culture.

RECOMMENDS RESETTLEMENT OF ARAB REFUGEES IN IRAQ AND SYRIA

Calling upon the United States to take the initiative in and out of the United Nations “to bring about a generous and effective solution” of the Arab refugee problem. Sen. Humphrey said Israel should make a commitment “to accept a limited number of token repatriates but the “vast majority” should find new homes in Arab lands. He mentioned Iraq and Syria specifically.

Sen. Humphrey charged that “the Arab states have for ten years used the Palestinian refugees as political hostages in their struggle with Israel. While Arab delegates in the United Nations have condemned the plight of their brothers in the refugee camps, nothing has been done to assist them in a practical way, lest political leverage over Israel be lost.

In his view, “repatriation of all, or even a large number of refugees, by Israel is no longer possible.” He said Israel had accepted many Jewish refugees, including those forced to flee Arab nations, “Furthermore,” he stated, “surrounded by nations which insist upon exercising rights of belligerency against her, it would be suicidal for Israel to admit a large group of immigrants whose whole indoctrination for the past ten years has been one of hatred for the Jewish State. To do so would be to establish a fifth column inside the country.”

American policy should be based, he said, on the assumption that resettlement in Arab lands, with compensation for property left in Israel, is in fact the only effective and realistic way of solving the Arab refugee problem.” United States policy also was urged to accept a view that Near Eastern security and stability require an early settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In demanding that the United States Government promote Arab-Israel peace talks, Sen. Humphrey said. American policy should maintain a constant and unrelenting leadership for the states of the region to resolve this conflict once and for all through direct negotiations.” He stressed that “not since 1952 has the United States either in or our of the United Nations made a determined effort to bring about a peace discussion between the parties.”

In urging increased food assistance to Israel under Public Law 480, the Minnesota Democrat stated that Israel is going to need more food assistance and deserves to get it, on the basis of its record of self-improvement.” Requests are now pending to obtain $78900,000 worth of wheat, feed grains, cotton, cheese, edibile oil, dry milk, butter, tallow, and beans.

Sen. Humphrey reported he was “astonished to learn that Israel is not included in our military exchange program.” He said he recommended prompt correction of this omission. Sen. Humphrey also suggested that Israel could give the United States assistance by providing specialists in development of desert regions.

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