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Israel Starts Relaxing Restrictions on Arab Residents in Galilee

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Premier David Ben Gurion’s promise to relax restrictions on Arab residents was partly implemented today when the Arabs of Galilee were told that they were free to move into the towns of Acre and Nazareth, previously closed to them. The order excludes only tribesmen along the Lebanese border and the inhabitants of two southern Galilee villages.

The Israeli press this evening gave considerable prominence to stories that Joshua Palmon, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Middle East Division, was returning to Europe presumably to renew contacts with representatives of the Arab refugees. However, well informed political circles asserted that Mr. Palmon’s trip, while connected with his official duties, had nothing to do with Arab refugee contacts.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said tonight that while Israel officials have been having contacts with Arabs during the past nine years, nothing has happened lately which can be described as an unusual development. Contacts continue, the spokesman declared. It is understood that all such contacts concern unofficial approaches to ascertain under what conditions and what kind of compensation would best facilitate the absorption of refugees in the host countries.

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