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Israeli, Arab, American Scholars Join in Research Effort to Find Peaceful Mideast Solution

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An international research group composed of Arab. Israeli and American scholars will undertake a broad-ranging program of research in an effort to promote a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis, it was announced today by The Fund for Peace, a New York educational foundation supporting the project. Joseph P. Lyford, president of the Fund, termed the collaboration of Arab, Israeli and U.S. experts “an encouraging and desperately-needed initiative” which the Fund hopes will “stimulate other rational efforts by the world academic community to examine the possibilities for conciliation of Arab-Israeli differences.” The Arab-Israeli Research and Relations project will operate on the fundamental assumption. Mr. Lyford said, that “the issues in the Middle East which threaten the security of the entire world cannot be allowed to drift or be solved by force. It is a tragic fact that despite the growing threat of a large-scale war, the expenditure of huge amounts of money, and increasing loss of life, very little has been done by the world academic community to subject the key issues of the Middle East crisis to the sort of persistent examination which can lead to practical operational recommendations.”

The Fund for Peace, formerly known as the Fund for Education in World Order, was founded in 1957 as a private non-commercial organization comprised of educators, businessmen, bankers and lawyers. Mr. Lyford told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the scholars who will be working on the project have requested anonymity in order “to preserve their academic objectivity.” Some of the scholars, he said, will be working in the Middle East interviewing Arab and Israeli leaders while others will be working in archives and libraries around the world. A spokesman for the Fund also told the JTA that the project will last “for at least a year” and that the first part of the project is to start “soon.” A committee of AIRRP coordinators, which will supervise the project, includes Professors Don Peretz of the State University of New York at Binghamton. Ahmed Haffar of the State University at New Paltz, and Simha Flapan, editor of The New Outlook in Tel Aviv. Mrs. Louise Berman, executive secretary of the research project, stated that the “studies would be conducted in as impartial a manner as possible” and will include “an examination of the whole range of Arab-Jewish negotiations beginning as far back as 50 years, and focus on the Palestinian question, on the implications of US/ USSR confrontation on the Middle East, and on internal, little-publicized ideas on conciliation that have been advanced by nongovernmental sources in both Israel and the Arab countries.” Additionally. Mrs. Berman said, the studies will strive to “devise practical guidelines and procedures which could help promote both this reconciliation and other steps essential to a final and peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli problem.”

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