UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Nov. 6)
Members of 12 African delegations, composing the “Brazzaville Group” of newly liberated states that are part of the French community, have taken the initiative to invite the Israel delegation to brief them on the entire “Palestine Question,” it was learned here today.
The so-called “Palestine Question” embraces all phases of the many Arab-Israeli disputes, including the Suez Canal, the Arab refugee problem, and the fact that the four armistice agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors call for transforming the truce arrangements into ultimate peace talks.
Members of the Israel delegation have declined to discuss the conference with the Africans, merely confirming, in reply to questions, that it had taken place. The Israelis maintain that they met with the Africans “just as we meet with many other delegations, as part of our continuing contact here with all members.”
But some Africans disclosed that they had initiated the talk with the Israelis. The Israel delegation was led by Ambassador Michael S. Comay, chairman of the delegation, who was asked by the Africans to inform them about various phases of the Arab-Israeli conflicts, including the Arab refugee problem. The refugee problem is slated for debate later this month or early in December before the General Assembly’s Special Political Committee.
The fact that the Africans had asked for this meeting was interpreted by non-Israelis as an indication of the desire on the part of the Africans to sift truth from falsity, as a result of the Arab efforts here to garner favor from the Africans by distorting basic historical facts concerning the entire “Palestine Question.”
One African told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “We are somewhat tired of the attacks against Israel brought before us constantly by Arab spokesmen and, now and then, by other Moslem representatives obviously anxious to please their Arab friends. We have begun to feel that they are insulting our intelligence by assuming we would swallow their charges against Israel without checking into the facts.”
“It is true,” this African leader said, “many of us have been too busy over the years with our own struggles against colonialism and imperialism to follow the ins and outs of important developments in other parts of the world like the Middle East. If the Arabs have facts to give us, we should be happy to study those facts. But we want to know Israel’s side of the story because the very nature of the charges shouted by the Arabs and their friends make us suspect that they are generating more heat than light.”