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Rabin Calls for Resettling Refugees on East Bank; Heckled by Arabs

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Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin said the Palestine refugee problem could be solved by resettling most of them on the east bank of the Jordan River within the area, he said, was originally declared to be Palestine. (The area east of the Jordan River, like Palestine, was part of the pre-1914 Ottoman Empire. It was placed under British mandate in 1921 and designated Trans-Jordan. The Hashemite dynasty was founded in that year under British auspices and the Kingdom of Transjordan, later Jordan, was proclaimed in 1946.) Ambassador Rabin spoke at the American University, scene of a two-day student-sponsored seminar on the Middle East this weekend attended by more than 900 students and faculty from Washington area universities and by faculty and observers from other universities. Heckling occurred during a question period when Gen. Rabin was called “a liar” by a member of the audience, Wassef Kozem, who identified himself as an Arab. But about a dozen Arab young men who asked questions of Ambassador Rabin and other speakers, received responses without any stir. The Arabs were presumed to be students at area universities. About 50 non-Jewish college-age men and women participated.

During his presentation, the Israeli Ambassador who led Israel’s armed forces to victory as Chief of Staff during the Six-Day War, stated that Israel will not resume firing at the expiration of the current 90-day cease-fire on Nov. 5. “Regardless of political developments,” he stated, “we will not be the first (to begin firing).” He declared that Israel would “enter indirect talks” under the auspices of the United Nations Middle East peace envoy, Dr. Gunnar V. Jarring “as long as the other side proves capable of maintaining the agreement that has been achieved.” Ambassador Rabin emphasized: “It is as simple as that.” Responding to the heckling by Kozam and several Arab supporters, Mr. Rabin said: “It is possible to reach an understanding between Israel and the Arabs” but added that he was “not certain about Arabs who feel like you.” The 400 persons in attendance were generally friendly. The two-day symposium on the Middle East was sponsored by a new American University campus group. Concerned Students in Quest for Peace in the Middle East.

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