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Javits Describes Plight of Palestinian and Jewish Refugees in the Middle East

Sen. Jacob K. Javits Republican of New York, said today that the Palestinian refugees are becoming as much of a problem to the Arabs as they have been to the Israelis. In accepting the International Rescue Committee Freedom Award at a dinner at the Waldorf Astoria, Javits said: “Life has been very harsh for the Palestinian refugees –largely because that is the way radical Arab politicians insisted it be, for their own political purposes. Now those who sowed the seeds of discord, and nourished them for twenty years, are reaping the whirlwind.”

Javits said that the refugee guerrillas “have no more respect for (the Arab) governments than those governments have shown for their welfare, rights and aspirations over the past two decades.” He added, however, that he felt the new Palestinian nationalism and self-assertion might lead to a bettering of the refugee’s condition. “The Arab refugees, however, are not the only large body of refugees who have been set adrift in the Middle East,” Javits said. He said that the Jewish community in Iraq has gone from 150,000 twenty years ago to 2,500 today; in Morocco the Jewish population went from 450,000 to 50,000. In Algeria, 178,000 of the 180,000 Jews emigrated, and only a handful of Jews remain in other Arab states.

Many of the refugees went to Israel. Others settled in Italy, France, the U.S. and Canada. “At least they are resettled and free,” Javits said, “not so, tragically, for the estimated 100,000 Jews remaining in Arab lands.” He added, “these Jews in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other Arab lands, are the other Middle Eastern refugees, the final remnant of ancient communities, who cry out not from camps or billets, but from the terror filled prisons and cities of land that hold them hostage in ignorance and in fear.”

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