Israel Voices Requests at U.N. on Relief Given to Arab Refugees
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Israel Voices Requests at U.N. on Relief Given to Arab Refugees

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Israel requested the United Nations this weekend to deny relief to Arab refugees who enlist in the Palestine Liberation Organization and to cleanse its relief rolls of ineligibles, instead of expanding aid to others not on those rolls now.

The requests were voiced by Ambassador Michael S. Comay, Israel’s permanent representative here, as the first speaker in the annual Arab refugee debate, opened by the General Assembly’s Special Political Committee. Discussing specifically the annual report of the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, filed by that body’s Commissioner-General, Laurence Michelmore, Mr. Comay said:

1) Mr. Michelmore seems to be willing now to open the UNRWA relief rolls to many more Arabs, including some who had not lived in Mandate Palestine during the period 1946-48. Under the existing rules, only an Arab who lived in that area during the two years prior to 1948 is eligible to UNRWA relief, if he is destitute.

2) The UNRWA rolls are still swelled by ration claimants who are ineligible for relief, many of them being self-supporting.

3) Mr. Michelmore seems willing to bow to the Arab demands to extend relief to the third and subsequent generations, expanding UNRWA’s burden “into the indefinite future.”

The basic problems, said Mr. Comay, involve resettlement of the Arab refugees in Arab lands and political negotiations between Israel and Arab states. As to compensation for property left by the refugees in Israel, he said, Israel has already released $10,000,000 from frozen bank accounts and is willing to participate in an overall solution of the problem, taking into account Jewish properties confiscated in the areas of Mandate Palestine on in other lands from which Jewish refugees had come into Israel.


Mr. Comay stressed that the United Nations must recognize that, actually, there had been a two-way movement of refugees in the area. He referred to the fact that “the bulk of the Jewish residents of the Arab states started moving into Israel” at the very time the Arab refugees swarmed out of Israel into Arab lands. In connection with that point, he said that, from Iraq alone, 135,000 Jews had come into Israel.

The Israeli representative told the committee that “the solution of the Arab refugee problem lies not in Israel but in the Arab world.” He cited the fact that the latest Michel-more report took cognizance of the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and of the declarations by Arab summit conferences calling for “a collective Arab struggle for the liberation of Palestine.” Noting that the aim is “the forcible dissolution of Israel,” Mr. Comay pointed out: “This commitment to a renewed struggle is already facing UNRWA with the paradox of refugees recruited for armed action against a United Nations member-state, while they are being supported by United Nations funds.”

Mr. Comay was answered by Hazen Musseibeh, Foreign Minister of Jordan, and Adnan Pachachi, Ambassador of Iraq, both of whom voiced the customary anti-Israeli attacks expected here from the Arab delegations. The debate is scheduled to continue Tuesday, when the committee must decide whether to admit representatives of the PLC officially as a “delegation.”

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