State Dept. Official Says Israel Should Concentrate on Refugees, Not Rockets

A State Department source, advanced today an admittedly “unofficial” view that Israel’s security would be better assured if funds spent for “presumptuous” rocket projects were applied to compensation and repatriation of the Palestinian Arab refugees. There was no official State Department reaction to the Israeli announcement.

This source, insisting on anonymity, said Israel’s main emphasis should be on settlement of the Arab refugee issue as a “giant step” toward regional peace rather than on plans for rockets with atomic warheads. In this view, “responsible small nations” should address themselves to pursuit of peace through implementation of principles of peace and justice rather than embark on an “obvious” drive for nuclear rockets.

Arab fears of Israeli expansionism, while described here as possibly unjustified, were “reinforced” by Israeli rocketry and atomic research. Also, according to this line of thinking, any “unilateral” atomic testing by Israel, in its small territory, could justifiably arouse Arab fear of radiation contamination of the region.

Since Israel is an isolated enclave in the Arab world, it should seek formulas for resolution of differences with the Arabs, beginning with the Arab refugee problem, rather than a policy indicated by today’s rocket launching. This, according to the Department source, showed attendency toward militarism rather than peaceful accommodation because such rocketry could not be reasonably linked with realistic Israeli economic and industrial needs considering Israel’s size.

It was contended that Israel, dependent on outside aid and philanthropy should respond to the desire of the international community to limit atomic testing, avoid “presumptuous” rocket projects of enormous expense, and concentrate on concessions leading to peace with neighboring states.

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