JERUSALEM (Sep. 20)
Indications of an American initiative regarding current Middle East issues, which may become more evident during the current 17th General Assembly of the United Nations, do not point to any substantial change in the United States Government attitude toward Israel, informed sources here said today.
That consensus emerged despite a spate of rumors and reports of a more favorable United States policy toward Israel. The sources here agreed that while there was an American understanding of Israel’s security situation, there were wide divergences of opinion between Israel and Washington policy-makers on specific political issues.
Observers here cited as a particular example the refusal of the United States delegation to support the 16-nation resolution at the General Assembly last year calling for direct Arab-Israel peace talks. Another example cited here is the United States approach to the Arab refugee problem, Israel regards this problem as a humanitarian one which should be treated separately from the complex of political issues in which Israel and the Arab states are involved.
In that connection, it was indicated today that Israel would oppose a reported proposal by Dr. Joseph Johnson, Palestine Conciliation Commission emissary to the Middle East, for a poll among the Arab refugees on their wishes–whether they wish to return to Israel or to be permanently resettled in Arab countries. Under current conditions, it is felt, such a referendum could not be carried out free of pressures from governments of the Arab lands which theoretically at least could make room for such Arab resettlement.