JANUARY 19, 1956
NEW YORK—The dinner in San Antonio last weekend for Bonds for Israel was a particularly successful one. The committee seemed very pleased at the large attendance and was particularly happy at going far beyond what it had hoped to achieve that evening in the sale of bonds. Mayor George W. Rice of San Antonio, or City Manager as he is called there, was very kind and even made me an honorary mayor, which is a distinction I had never before achieved. He also presented me with a memorial plate showing scenes of San Antonio, which is most interesting. I shall add it to my collection of plates from a number of other places, a truly fine collection.
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Somebody handed me the other day a column by the well-known columnist, Dorothy Thompson, which was headed: "Israeli Concessions Needed for Peace in the Middle East."
That seems to me a most misleading statement, for no concessions would satisfy either the Soviets, who do most of the instigation of the trouble there, or the Arabs, who state quite frankly and demonstrate in all their dealings with Israeli delegates at the United Nations that they will never recognize Israel as a nation.
We must remember that after the U.N. had set the partition the Arabs did not accept it. It was the Israeli fighting that extended the boundaries originally granted and it was only because they won that the armistice lines set the boundaries where the soldiers actually were. Today the influx of immigrants into Israel and the extraordinary amount of work, which is gradually reclaiming the Negev, would make it impossible to ask Israel to change its boundaries.
Israel is beginning to look as the Biblical descriptions of the country describe it. That had not come about in all the years that the British had a mandate there or that the Arabs controlled the land.
In her column Miss Dorothy Thompson speaks of the Palestine refugees. No one who has seen them in their miserable camps could help feeling a deep sympathy for them, but that must not obscure for us what actually happened in Israel. In a war there are always atrocities on both sides, but it was the Mufti in Jerusalem who called upon the Arabs to leave their country and promised them that the Arab armies would soon reconquer their country. He told them to leave everything behind because on their return they would recover not only their own possessions but would gain everything the Israelis ever had. The British furnished the lorries to take those poor people out of their country and the Arab armies never did bring them back.
Our memories must not be so short as to allow us to forget what really brought about these present situations. Miss Thompson also says that the Arabs who remained are restricted in their movements and labor under great difficulties. It is true that all minorities everywhere feel that they are not treated on an equal basis, but I went to Nazareth and saw much of the country where the Arabs live. They have eight representatives in the Israeli parliament, and I doubt if they labor under any more difficulties than do the Israelis who live along the borders.
It seems to me the fair way to handle the situation today is for Great Britain and the United States to ask the U.N. to see that there will be no more aggression in the area and that all borders remain as they are. They could also ask the U.N. to call for volunteers for enforcement of peace if it becomes necessary to do so, and promise their support.