Israel Denies U.S. Submitted Proposal on Arab Refugee Problem

An Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman today denied reports in the Israel press that the United States proposed a settlement of the Arab refugee problem involving the return of 120, 000 refugees. The spokesman also said he knew nothing about the reported arrival shortly of a high Washington official.

While no details have been disclosed concerning the recent consultations held here with the participation of Israel’s Ambassador to Washington, Avraham Harman and United Nations delegation head, Ambassador Michael Comay and although it is known that the consultations were prompted by American initiative aimed at breaking the refugee deadlock, it is understood that no new proposals have so far been submitted by Washington.

It is also known that contacts between Israel and the United States on the problem were to be renewed with the return of Ambassador Harman to Washington. It is believed here that the United States will not ask Israel to take in a specific number of refugees as a unilateral concession and without a move representing part of a settlement agreement. It is understood that, so far, Israel’s contacts with the United States and consultations on the issue here have centered on the question of a general approach.

(In Washington, the State Department today officially denied reports that president Kennedy planned to send a special envoy to Israel to negotiate with Prime Minister Ben-Gurion on the return of the Arab refugees. A Department spokesman said “we know of no plans of sending an envoy to Israel at this time. “)

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