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U.S. Britain May Tackle Basic Israel-arab Differences

November 1, 1957
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States and Britain are contemplating tackling basic differences between Israel and the Arab States within the near future, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was informed today. These developments would involve pressures upon Israel at least in connection with the problem of Arab refugees–possibly also on behalf of Britain, for concessions in terms of “territorial adjustment.”

The possibilities of action arose in connection with the Washington conferences between President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan of Britain and the setback to the Soviet Union’s Turco-Syrian war-scare strategy. Out of the latter situation according to one informed source arose another possible threat to Israel. King Said of Saudi Arabia is being credited with having helped deflect the course of the Turco-Syrian. crisis” and consequently is in a strong position to demand some return from the West.

What he is believed ready to seek is the backing of the West for an all-out campaign to halt Israel shipping through the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Akaba, thus choking off Israel’s port of Elath at the head of the gulf.

Both the United States and Britain were said to be determined to press Israel for concessions in regard to the Palestine Arab refugees. The possibility was seen that Secretary of State Dulles would renew the offer he made to Israel in 1955 of aid in secreting substantial loans with which Israel could compensate the Arab refugees. But even if such loans were made Israel might be requested to accept at least 100,000 of the Arab refugees as a token of cooperation.”

Meanwhile, with or without American backing, Britain was considered quite likely to push its own plan for a “solution” of Israel-Arab tensions by requesting Israel to allow its territory to be cut down. Sir Anthony Eden Mr. Macmillan’s predecessor, made such a proposal some years ago and the suggestion was flatly rejected by Israel. Now Mr. Macmillan is said to be entertaining the same idea.

The Israel territorial adjustment problem and the question of the Arab refugees were two points on a six-point agenda relating to the Middle East which Mr. Macmillan reportedly tried to put before President Eisenhower last week. The President, on the advice of Mr. Dulles declined to accept these points although he was willing, reportedly, to discuss the other four points which dealt with proposals for the offer of economic aid to the Middle East, including Israel. It is understood that Mr. Macmillan was informed that the Administration would not tackle the two questions at this time.

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