Israel Cabinet Rejects Johnson’s Proposals on Arab Refugees

The Israel Cabinet and the Knesset Committee for Foreign Affairs have rejected the proposals for the solution of the Arab refugee problems advanced by Dr. Joseph E. Johnson, special envoy of the United Nations Palestine Conciliation Commission, it was reported here today from official sources.

Israel’s position was then transmitted to the United States, France and Turkey, the three members of the United Nations Commission. Dr. Johnson’s proposals have not yet been submitted to the United Nations but the content has been widely publicized in the world press.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Dr. Johnson stated that the proposals were his own and had not yet been adopted by the PCC. The spokesman added that Israel’s formal position will be published at the appropriate time.

The Johnson proposals are considered completely unacceptable and unrealistic in Israel. Haaretz, the independent daily newspaper, rejected Dr. Johnson’s basic approach that the refugees should be permitted a free choice of returning to Israel or settling elsewhere. The daily contended that the Arab states in which the refugees are now living would force them to choose to return to pursue the declared Arab goal of destroying Israel.

Haaretz recalled that in his 1961 report to the General Assembly, Dr. Johnson said that the problem could be solved only in the framework of a general Arab-Israel settlement. The newspaper added that there were no economic barriers to resettlement of the Arab refugees in Arab countries and that the problem remained a political one.

Haboker, the organ of the Liberal party, declared that the reported Johnson proposal to name a refugee administrator to supervise which refugees would return would only add to the dangerous confusion. The newspaper said that Dr. Johnson “knows that Israel cannot open its gates to the Arab refugees” and that he also knew that the Arab rulers “want to continue to use the refugees as a political football. “

The newspaper added that Israel should conduct an information campaign so that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency would have to reveal “what it really knows about the growing willingness of the refugees to accept rehabilitation. “

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