5 MAY 1961, Page 4

Thirteen years ago this month, the State of Israel was

proclaimed: and the Arab refugees, who until that time had been simply displaced persons,• became people without a country; squatters on the borders of what had been their homeland. There are now over a million of them, most of them surviving on rations from UNWRA; and their plight has many times been shown on television and movingly described in articles. But virtually nothing is done: and one reason why nothing is done is that a doubt remains: are they genuine refugees? Need they have fled from Israel in 1948? Or are they—as a character puts it in Leon Uris's 'Exodus'—'kept caged like animals in suffering as a deliberate political weapon'?

Erskine B. Childers has been doing some research into The Other Exodus; and under that title he will describe, as far as it can be reconstructed, what really happened thirteen years ago, in next week's 'Specta- tor.'