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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1948. The Near East, South Asia, and Africa (in two parts)

Israel,   pp. 533-1707 ff. PDF (461.4 MB)

Page 902

the absence of trust between the parties at issue. Neither side would
believe the other and this, coupled with the fact that the problem was
overlaid by side issues and affected by politics, made the matter one
of immense difficulty. I said that on the military side I could clearly
foresee what was going to happen. The Jews had won the first round
and were encouraged by their successes. At this point Dr. Magnes said
that time was on the side of the Arabs. The Jews were short on time.
They sought to strike quickly, without realizing that the Arabs could
afford to wait and would eventually overwhelm them.
  Dr. Magnes said that the first of the points he desired to make was
that great pressure could be brought to bear on both Arabs and Jews
if the United States would impose even partial financial sanctions. He
pointed out that the Jewish community in Palestine is an artificial
development and that, although the work of the Jews had resulted in
many beautiful accomplishments such as farms, universities, and
hospitals, which resulted from contributions from the United States,
the money now contributed to the Jewish community was being used
solely for war "which eats up everything." Dr. Magnes said that
Hagannah costs $4 million a month to run. He was certain that, if
contributions from the United States were cut off, the Jewish war
machine in Palestine would come to a halt for lack of financial fuel.
  On the Arab side Dr. Magnes said that Syria was in very shaky
financial straits, and that the.situation in Iraq was also precarious. I
asked him if his proposed embargo would apply to all financial rela-
tions with Palestine and the Arab States, or only to contributions. He
said that at this juncture he thought it should refer to the latter and-
not to ordinary commercial transactions.
  Speaking of the truce, Dr. Magnes greatly doubted that a truce
could be worked out by the United Nations, operating some six or
seven thousand miles distant from the scene. He thought a real truce
could only be developed on the spot in Palestine. As for the nature of
a truce, there were two possible alternatives. There could be a volun-
tary truce, which Dr. Magnes thought was now almost out of the ques-
tion, or an imposed truce, which would call for the use of force. It
seemed from the debates at Lake Success that no country was willing
to take up the American offer to send troops to implement a trusteeship
provided other governments did likewise. Accordingly, the prospects
for an imposed truce-unless this could be accomplished by financial
sanctions-did not seem bright.
  Dr. Magnes then turned to the problem of Jerusalem. He said he had
lived in Jerusalem for 25 years. He knew its people, both Arabs and
Jews, perhaps as well as any living man. He assured me with great
conviction and intensity that the populace of Jerusalem-Arab and
Jew alike-is heartily sick of the situation in which they find them-
selves and thtat their burning desire is peace.

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