Gathering Storm in U.S.-Israeli Relations:
The Issues Behind the Conflict
Inside Israel a visitor needs only to look around to persuade himself that it is academic to discuss taking back any large number of Arab refugees or giving away any substantial piece of Israeli-held territory.
Fifteen minutes after I landed at Lydda last March I was a leper in a busload of passengers bound for Tel Aviv because I asked my neighbor in a whisper what the Arabs’ chances were for regaining the town and airport of Lydda, lopped off from the Jewish state by partition but tied back on again by the Israeli Army. During the next nine weeks I inspected the leaking tents and windy barracks of the sardine-packed immigrants. I watched their angry protest marches for work and housing. I saw immigrants being moved into partially-destroyed Arab villages. I walked through other Arab villages so completely ruined by war and neglect that neither new settlers nor old inhabitants seemed likely ever to populate them again. I went to Acre and Nazareth, where many of the Arabs who did not flee Israel are concentrated, and assessed the huge difficulties of getting them off the dole and reintegrating them into a land from which the Arab community that constituted their market and livelihood had disappeared. Finally, I went north to Galilee and south into the Negev. There I observed the Jews erecting settlements, as fast as money and suitable manpower allowed, on mountains and waterless wastes, to siphon off the younger, more pioneer-minded immigrants from the crowded camps and fortify Israel’s exposed frontiers against the constant threat of fresh invasion. After all this who could see any realistic possibility that the people of Israel would seriously entertain propositions that they should surrender some of this territory or welcome home an army of destitute Arabs?
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