Jordan Willing to Settle Palestine Refugees Permanently, Premier Says

The Kingdom of Jordan is willing to accept all the Palestine Arab refugees for permanent settlement within its territories, the Jordanian Premier, Hazza Majali, declared today, according to Jordanian broadcasts.

About half the estimated 900,000 displaced Palestine Arabs now live in Jordan, mostly in the northern and central areas of the old mandated Palestine territory which Jordanian forces occupied during the fighting in 1948 when the British forces withdrew from the country.

The Jordanian offer was seen here today as keyed directly to the forthcoming Casablanca conference of Arab Foreign Ministers to discuss the refugee question, and as a move to forestall a possible attempt to establish an Arab (refugee) state in the Arab-held parts of Palestine.

A proposal along these lines was made several days ago by a Lebanese Government spokesman, Minister of Labor Pierre Jumeil, who has been the chief Lebanese Government authority on the refugee problem in recent months. Jumeil has been a sharp critic of the Arab League action in proclaiming opposition to long-range plans for solution of the problem offered by United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold.

The Lebanese, with some 100,000 refugees on their territory, have been insistent that some constructive approach must be found to the refugee question. The Jordanians, however, were believed to be more concerned over suggestions that an “All-Palestine” Government might be set up in the Gaza Strip which would, in effect, give the United Arab Republic a claim to control of the areas of Palestine now held by Jordan.

Premier Majali’s statement today was probably designed to torpedo these two proposals and give Jordan the authority to speak at Casablanca in the name of the refugees.

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