JERUSALEM (Nov. 19)
Israel reiterated today its willingness to admit additional Arab refugees who fled from the West Bank in the wake of the June, 1967 Arab-Israel War. The Ministry of Interior, in a statement issued today, said that 7,000 unused permits issued to refugees in Jordanian camps last summer may still be used by their bearers; If not they will be transferred to other refugees who will be admitted after usual processing of their applications. The permits were issued to heads of families and actually cover about 25,000 persons including minors registered to them.
The Israeli announcement was an apparent response to yesterday’s appeal by the United States and British representatives at the United Nations for a “greatly expanded program” for returning refugees displaced by the 1967 hostilities. The appeal was made by U.S. Ambassador J. Russell Wiggins and Great Britain’s Ambassador Lord Caradon during the special Political Committee’s deliberations on renewing the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
Israel announced about a year ago that it was willing to re-admit the refugees. Application forms were distributed in refugee camps and other centers in Jordan by the International Red Cross. Over 20,000 persons returned the completed forms but 7,000 of the permits issued had not been used when the deadline for return was passed. Today’s announcement extended the deadline until mid-January, 1969 after which the permits will be transferred to other refugees who apply for repatriation.