APRIL 7, 1949
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I was interested to read in one of our metropolitan papers the other day a plea that we insist that the new State of Israel pay for the resettlement of the Arab refugees.
No one who served at the United Nations session in Paris last fall will forget the impassioned plea of the British in behalf of the humanitarian objective of immediate relief for these refugees and their final resettlement. This plea met with great sympathy and the United States was among those who pledged a great part of the funds to be used for these purposes.
In this newspaper article the writer, who says she has just returned from several months in the Near East, intimates that the Arabs were driven from their homes. It is odd that she did not happen to find in Israel the many communities in which the Arabs remained and are quite happy living side by side with the Jews and even taking part in the government of the community. This fact makes some of us wonder why the Arab refugees ran away from a "danger" which was certainly no worse than the danger they took themselves into.
There was a time when perhaps the best solution would have been for these people to return to Israel. However, now with the great influx of Jewish immigration from Cyprus and Central Europe the Arabs probably will be better off if the funds already in hand are used to resettle them in some of the other Arab countries where there are vacant lands that need people to work them.
The article is very hostile to the new State of Israel. It seems regrettable that this whole problem cannot be examined in an entirely objective and calm manner in the same way that the negotiations for the armistices have been carried on. The people in those troubled areas should not be the target of too much criticism; they must make the decisions that seem to them wisest.
Yesterday I read an editorial concerning the Children's Emergency Fund that I think is not quite correct. In allocating money to the Children's Emergency Fund, our government said that the sum must be matched by the money of other governments. The suggestion made in the editorial that eleven million dollars collected in the 1948 appeal from individuals and organizations should be considered as tantamount to government appropriation would mean that certain governments who had made little or no direct appropriation would find themselves free of obligation through the action of their individual citizens or organizations. This would mean, in the long run, less sense of responsibility on the part of governments.
No matter how successful the Children's Emergency Fund may be, in appealing for support to individuals or organizations and in raising a large amount of money that way, the authorities will still not be able to do a job comparable to that which might be attained through direct government contributions. The pressure should be on the governments at the present time.
The Children's Emergency Fund is desperately in need of money, and no one doubts the extraordinary importance and value of the work done by this group. We cannot ignore the needs of the children in the world and there is no reason why the governments of the world should not feel this responsibility as much as do individuals and organizations.