Golda Meir Reports to Knesset on U.N. Decision on Arab Refugees

Israel is ready for direct negotiations with the Arab states now regarding settlement of the Arab refugee problem, “but no resolution will force Israel to accept a single refugee,” Mrs. Golda Meir told the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, today. She made that statement in reporting on the actions that were concluded two weeks ago by the Special Political Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, where a resolution sponsored by the United States had been adopted by a vote of 83 to one. Israel had cast the sole negative vote in that ballot, calling the American resolution “unacceptable.”

Since the U.S. resolution tied the possible solution of the refugee problem to one clause of a 1948 Assembly resolution, calling only for “repatriation” of the Arab refugees or their compensation by Israel, Mrs. Meir told the Knesset that the 1948 clause was being interpreted “out of context and incorrectly.”

Mrs. Meir told the Parliament that Israel appreciates the action of 19 members of the UN that that had co-sponsored another draft, later withdrawn, calling for direct Israeli-Arab negotiations on the Arab refugee problem. She said that draft, had it come to a vote, would have obtained the support of 40 UN members and, perhaps, even a simple majority in the 111-member committee.

“Unfortunately, however,” she said, “none of the Big Powers supported this move. While the Soviet bloc simply went along with the Arabs, others argued that the time for direct talks was not ripe and that the proposed resolution was impractical.” She added that the United States, by its stand, undertook a great responsibility. That stand” also tends to create among the Arabs the illusion of the possibility of a mass return of Arab refugees.”

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