CHAPTER XII
Blocked Accounts

THE CCP devoted one of its major efforts to obtaining the release of about 6,000 Arab refugee accounts with a total value of approximately £P four million, which were included in the 1948 Israel Government order freezing absentee property. After the failure of the Paris Conference in 1951, it treated the blocked accounts issue as a separate problem. From 1949 until the end of 1956, the only tangible result of the CCP's work was the agreement by Israel to release the Arab accounts. For this reason, the act assumed a significance far beyond Israel's contribution to a settlement of Palestine problems.

Both Israel and the United Nations underscored the importance of the release of the accounts. Israelis repeatedly emphasized that the first and only direct contact through the CCP between their Government and the Arab states had taken place on the occasion of the negotiations on this question. The CCP felt that agreement on blocked accounts was a step toward peace and used it as a touchstone of the two antagonists' attitudes toward a conclusive settlement.

Parleys leading to the first release of blocked accounts late in 1953 extended over a four-year period because of a complex of technical and political factors. There were problems of transfer, procedure and responsibility. Israel's tenuous foreign exchange position and the Iraqi Government's decision to freeze Jewish property further complicated the matter. Misunderstandings caused a constant recurrence of difficulties. Political implications of the issue of blocked accounts generated internal commotion within Israel and the Arab states. In the latter the question threw open the whole issue of recognition of Israel and once again emphasized the violent psychological reactions to any step which might involve official acknowledgment of the new state's de facto existence.

It was claimed that release of the accounts would help to improve the living conditions of the Arab refugee. However, its significance in relation to the over-all social and economic situation of the, approximately, more than 900,000 refugees is illustrated by

-222-

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Israel and the Palestine Arabs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface *
  • Chapter I - Introduction and Background 3
  • Notes 17
  • Chapter II - The Arab States and the Refugee Problem 19
  • Notes 30
  • Chapter III - Early Repatriation Attempts 33
  • Notes 56
  • Chapter IV - The Shift to an Economic Solution 58
  • Notes 70
  • Chapter V - The Failure of Repatriation Attempts 72
  • Notes 88
  • Chapter VI - Israel's Arab Minority and National Security 90
  • Notes 118
  • Chapter VII - Israel's Arab Minority and Social Integration 121
  • Notes 139
  • Chapter VIII - Israel's Initial Absentee Property Policy 141
  • Notes 164
  • Chapter IX - Absorption of Absentee Property 168
  • Notes 187
  • Chapter X - Early Problems of Compensation 192
  • Notes 201
  • Chapter XI - U.N. Progress on Problems of Compensation 203
  • Notes 219
  • Chapter XII - Blocked Accounts 222
  • Notes 237
  • Chapter XIII - Conclusions 240
  • Select Bibliography 249
  • Index 261
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