JERUSALEM (Jul. 8)
Details of recent meetings between Israeli officials and representatives of Arab refugees which took place in Europe, evidently in Rome, were revealed here today by official circles.
Three weeks ago Ezra Danin, a special adviser on Arab affairs in the Foreign Ministry, returned from Rome after making contact with the Arabs. A week ago, Joseph Palmon, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Middle East Division, came back from a second such meeting.
However, the feeling here is that the meetings–not unlike others which have taken place in the past–do not represent a major new development. Most of the leading Arab refugees with whom Israeli officials have met were personal friends before 1948 and what is involved are informal, unofficial contacts rather than negotiations. Observers believe the time is not yet ripe for the Arab governments to permit the representatives of the refugees to negotiate with Israel.
(In London, the Daily Telegraph reported today from Rome that an attempt has been made to keep the Arab-Israel meetings there secret, so as not to compromise them at the outcome, but that the Egyptians had given them wide publicity in an attempt to kill any possibility of an early success in the talks.)