40. The area of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan now under Israel military control, which is bounded by the Israel-Jordan armistice demarcation line and the river Jordan, is commonly known as the West Bank. The population was approximately 600,000 to 700,000, including the Jordanian sector of Jerusalem, plus about 430,000 UNRWA registered refugees, or a total of about 1 million to 1.1 million persons. During and after the fighting an estimated 200,000 persons left for the East Bank. In addition, a substantial number of persons were displaced within the Bank area.
41. The West Bank area came under Israel military administration after the hostilities, while the Jordanian sector of Jerusalem and some surrounding areas were promptly incorporated in the Israel municipality of Jerusalem.
42. Complaints by the Jordanian authorities relevant to the safety, welfare and security of the population of the West Bank could not all be investigated in detail or verified by the Special Representative. They can be grouped into the following categories:
(a) Efforts to expel the population from the area;
(b) Acts of deliberate intimidation, terror and oppression of the population;
(c) Atrocities against civilian populations;
(d) Demolition of houses, buildings and entire villages after hostilities had ended;
(f) Use of napalm and fragmentary bombs during the fighting;
(g) Limitations and conditions put up by Israel and impeding the free return of all refugees;
(h) Inhuman treatment of prisoners of war.
43. Israel has either rejected these complaints as unfounded, or has put forward. Its views on them, particularly as regards demolition of villages.
44. Before proceeding to the West Bank, the Special Representative paid a first visit to Amman on 18, 19 and 20 July. The discussions between the Jordanian Government and the Special Representative were almost entirely devoted to two problems of particular concern to the Government; namely, the provision of adequate relief to those persons who had fled to the East Bank as a consequence of the hostilities, and their return to the West Bank. In this connexion the Special Representative visited a number of refugee camps on the East Bank which were providing temporary shelter for the displaced persons.
45. During several tours of the West Bank, the Special Representative visited towns of Nablus, Qalqiliya, Bethlehem and Hebron, as well as a number of villages and refugee camps. During these visits contact was made with the Israel military authorities and their advisers concerned with the restoration of normal civilian life, and also with Arab representatives of local government bodies and spokesmen for local economic interests, the Moslem religious authorities and the refugees.
Efforts to expel the population
46. In letters circulated to the Security Council (e.g. S/7975, S/8004, S/8110, S/8115 and S/8ll7), Jordan complains in general terms about Israel attempts to create "yet another Arab exodus", and in precise detail about the expulsion of specific numbers of inhabitants and about intimidation of the population, for example, by dynamiting houses in Nablus.
47. These complaints raise two distinct but related issues: the alleged Israel attempts to create another exodus to the East Bank, affecting the whole West Bank population, and the expulsion of populations from specific localities on the West Bank (which were subsequently demolished), whether or not the populations involved in fact moved to the East Bank.
48. On the first issue, affecting the West Bank as a whole, the Special Representative finds difficulty in defining what constitutes "expulsion" or "use of force" in relation to the movement of populations. During his visit to the area, the Special Representative received no specific reports indicating that persons been physically forced to cross to the East Bank. On the other hand, there are persistent reports of acts of intimidation by Israel armed forces and of Israel attempts to suggest to the population, by loudspeakers mounted on cars, that they, might be better off on the East Bank. There have also been reports that in sever localities buses and trucks were put at the disposal of the population for to the East Bank.
49. During his visits to several refugee camps on the East Bank, newly displaced persons consistently informed the Special Representative that they had left the West Bank under pressure and that they had suffered many atrocities.
50. The truth seems to lie somewhere between an Israel statement that "no encouragement" was given to the population to flee, and the allegations about the use of brutal force and intimidation made by refugees. The inevitable impact upon a frightened civilian population of hostilities and military occupation as such, particularly when no measures of reassurance are taken, has clearly been a main factor in the exodus from the West Bank.
Demolition of villages
51. More specific details are available concerning the second category of persons displaced by Israel military forces in connexion with the demolition of certain villages and towns. Jordanian complaints submitted to the Security Council claim that 12,000 people from Qalqiliya were living in the open air around 22 June, that the villages of Beit Awa and Beit Mersim as well as three villages in the Latrun area had been levelled,1 leaving 5,000 to 7,000 inhabitants homeless. The Special Representative has been able to gather information covering those and Other localities mentioned in other Jordanian complaints submitted directly to him.
52. Qalqiliya was a town of some 13,000 to 14,000 inhabitants located west of the city of Nablus and near the Jordan/Israel border where a large number of houses have been destroyed.
53. Israel, in a letter to the Security Council (S/8013), mentions that Qalqiliya was one of the concentration points of the Jordanian general attack on Israel and that large numbers of troops and artillery pieces were located in and around the town from which shelling of Tel Aviv and Israel villages took place. The letter states that the inhabitants left before the arrival of the Israel troops, that only houses in which Jordanian troops were found were damaged and that since the end of the battle no further buildings had been destroyed. In support of the statement that destruction had been caused by actual fighting, reference is made in the Israel statement to the nearby town of Tulkarm where allegedly no damage was done since no fighting took place there.
54. During a visit by the Assistant to the Special Representative, the Arab Mayor of Qalqiliya stated that most of the people had left the city and taken cover in the hills before and during the fighting and that about one quarter of the population had remained in the city. After the occupation of the city by the Israel forces, the remaining population was advised by the Israel Military Commander to leave. The Mayor asserted that up to that moment, perhaps some fifteen to twenty houses had been destroyed or damaged through actual fighting. The population was taken to the town of Azun, twenty kilometres from Qalqiliya; from Azun they left for Nablus, where they stayed for about three days, when they were told they could go back. But when they were going back they were stopped in Azun. The Mayor requested and was allowed to see the Minister of Defence in Jerusalem; three weeks after they left their city, the population was allowed to go back to Qalqiliya. Upon their return they found that out of a total of some 2,000 dwellings approximately 850 had been demolished. The Mayor repeatedly stated that he did not know the reasons for this large-scale destruction.
55. The Israel military governor stated that the destruction had been caused partly by tanks and partly by dynamite. He stressed that Qalqiliya "fought", by which it was meant that there was general resistance to the Israel military forces, and that it was the first Jordanian town taken. Houses from which sniping took place were dynamited. Others were destroyed for "safety" reasons, e.g. houses on the point of collapsing and possibly containing unexploded ammunition, or for sanitary reasons, e.g. because of the presence of dead bodies. Fear of the possible collapse of houses was also given by the military governor as a reason why the population was not allowed to return for some time.
56. The military governor said that he was willing to support the population in their plans for reconstruction and that he had already taken measures to get food supplies to the city and to get shops opened again.
57. The city was heavily guarded by Israel military personnel and no signs of friendly contact between local inhabitants and the occupying forces were observed.
Villages in the Latrun area
58. In the Latrun area are located the border-line villages of Emwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba, together containing a population of some 4,000 according to Israel information, and 10,000 according to information from the refugees. In the same area are located the villages of Beit Likquia, Beit Sira and Beni Hareth, with an estimated total population of 3,300. The first three villages mentioned have been destroyed.
59. An Israel liaison officer stated that the destruction had taken place mostly during the fighting, that the Jordanian Army in the area had been assisted by one battalion of Egyptian commandos, that the area had been heavily shelled, that fighting had gone on all through the night and that tanks had gone through the villages because these are located on the way from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
60. The Israel Minister of Defence, in his meeting with the Special Representative, stated that he had ordered the destruction of these damaged villages for strategic and security reasons since they dominated an important strategic area.
Representative, the State of Israel had informed the representatives of these three villages that it would help their population "to develop other areas".
62. According to accounts from displaced persons, the Israel forces entered the . three villages of Emwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba at 4.30 a.m. on 6 June and called the inhabitants to assemble, after which they were ordered under threat to leave in the direction of Ramallah. They were joined on the road by people from the "second line" villages of Beit Likquia, Beit Sira and Beni Hareth. After three days they were told that they could go back but they were allowed to reach the "second line" villages only. Those who wanted to go on to Emwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba were turned They then returned to Ramallah and some of them went to the East Bank.
63. According to the same sources, those who stayed behind in and around Ramallah In the "second line" villages persisted in their demands to the Israel Commander that they should be allowed to return to their homes. After two days, the Commander of the Latrun area came to Ramallah and met with representatives of the displaced villagers, who were informed that 70 per cent of their houses had been 5 destroyed but that arrangements for their return could be made if they so desired. They were also told that there was a need for their labour in order to cultivate the extensive monastery lands in the Latrun area. The representatives of the villagers replied that their people wanted to go back, even though their houses had been destroyed.
64. According to the information available to the Special Representative, however, these displaced villagers had not yet been able to return. They felt encouraged, apparently, by the Israel decision to allow the people of Qalqiliya to return.
65. As regards the "second line" villages, to which the population has now been allowed to return, the situation can be summarized as follows:
(a) At Beit Likquia out of a pre-war population of about 2,000, including fifty UNRWA refugees, 300 had left for unknown destinations (probably the East Bank). Five hundred had come from the above-mentioned frontier villages; these people, who were living in houses, schools or under trees, wanted to go back. The food situation was under control, although there was a slight shortage of water.
(b) At Beit Sira, where there was a pre-war population of 1,250, about had remained. Two hundred and fifty additional persons had come from the three above-mentioned villages.
(c) No information was available as regards Beni Hareth, which consisted of a few houses only. Both UKRWA and the Lutheran World Federation were providing emergency relief to the populations now living in these "second line" villages.
66. At Beit Awa in the Hebron area (original population some 2,500 persons), out of some 400 houses, more than 90 per cent have been completely demolished and the remainder partly damaged. A second village in the area, Beit Mersim (original population approximately 500), was completely destroyed.
67. The Special Representative visited Beit Awa on 11 August. The Arab stated that Israel troops entered the village on 11 June at 5.30 a.m. The inhabitants were then asked to take two loaves of bread and to go to the hills surrounding the village. At 7.30 a.m. the Israel troops started to demolish houses with dynamite and bulldozers. Groves around the village were burnt. The belongings of the inhabitants were also burnt since they were unable to take them along. The population stayed in the hills for a week. They were then authorized to return by the military governor. Cut of the original population of 2,500, some 300 had left for other areas.
68. The Mukhtar said he presumed that the reason for the demolition was that the Israel authorities believed that there were members of the "El Patah" organization coming from the village. He claimed that members of this organization used to pass through the village but did not live in it and that the inhabitants never co-operated with them. In this connexion, the Israel authorities informed the Special Representative that this village was an "El Fatah" base where members of this terrorist organization used to stay overnight and where they received ammunition and supplies.
69. The Israel military liaison officer informed the Special Representative that a decision had been made to rebuild the village but that it had not yet been decided whether this would be done by the Government alone or with the help of voluntary organizations. In principle, he said that the Israel authorities were going to supply technicians and provide cement to help in the rebuilding of the houses. The Mukhtar said that the Israel authorities had promised them all this, but that so far nothing had been received.
70. In Beit Mersim, located fifteen kilometres from Beit Awa, a similar situation prevailed, according to the Mukhtar of Beit Awa.
71. Some other villages where destruction had allegedly taken place were Beit Illo (near Ramallah), Kharas, Sourif and Edna. According to the Israel military liaison officer, only the village of Beit Illo had suffered some war damage, while the villages of Kharas and Edna had not been touched. According to one of the villagers of Beit Awa, eighteen houses had been demolished in Sourif.
Number of homeless persons
72. As regards the number of people from the town of Qalqiliya and from the villages located in the Latrun and Hebron areas, rendered homeless for a shorter or longer period, the situation can be summarized as follows:
(a) In the Latrun area at least 4,000 persons from the front line villages of Emwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba had not yet been allowed to return to their villages. About 3,300 persons from the "second line" villages of Beit Sira, Belt Ltkquia and Beni Hareth had been allowed to return.
(b) In the Hebron area 3,000 persons had been allowed to return to Beit Awa and Beit Mersim.
(c) Qalqiliya. According to the Arab Mayor, about one quarter of the total population of approximately 14,000 stayed in the town during the hostilities. Thus a maximum of some 4,000 persons might have remained and teen ordered out by the Israel military authorities after actual fighting had ended. Houses destroyed belonged both to this group and to the persons who left before complete, or partial destruction of the 40 to 50 per cent of the housing had taken place. The populations had been allowed to return, but it was not known how many actually did return.
73. There are Jordanian complaints about alleged looting "of everything" found , in banks by Israel occupying forces. This allegation has been rejected by Israel as "unfounded". During his tour of the area, the Special Representative was informed by Israel spokesmen that in fact Israel had taken away the bank books and money found in the banks, but against duly signed receipts and for the sole purpose of making a systematic check on the situation of these banks at the time Israel took over control of the area.
74. Jordanian complaints also allege looting of commercial stores, houses, the hospital in Nablus and the theft of church jewellery from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. According to press reports, the latter items had been found and restored. The Special Representative received the specific Jordanian complaints about looting only after his visit to the areas concerned and was therefore unable to look into the alleged looting of the Nablus hospital.
75. The Special Representative also received reports concerning looting in Jerusalem by Israel military personnel, including cars, vacant houses and shops. Since the alleged events took place, some two months before the arrival of the Special Representative, it was difficult for him to form a firm opinion about these allegations.
76. The Assistant to the Special Representative, during his visit to the hospital of Qalqiliya, was informed by the doctor in charge that the X-ray machine, the Operating table, overhead lights and other equipment in the operating theatre, as well as stocks of hospital linen had disappeared. Israel officers present during the tour of the hospital stated that the Israel authorities had promised to provide the hospital with a new operating theatre.
77. Israel spokesmen informed the Special Representative on several occasions that the Israel authorities had taken measures to prevent looting and to stop it when it occurred, including the court marshalling of army personnel caught in the act of looting.
Economic and social conditions and needs
78. Views on the economic and social conditions of the civilian population on the West Bank were conflicting. According to statements by spokesmen of the Jordanian Government, the economy of the area was paralysed, there was a threatened shortage of food approaching a situation of famine for the population, there was no circulation of money owing to the confiscation by occupying forces of cash on hand in the Jordanian banks which were closed for business by these forces, and moreover, confiscation of property has taken place. The Jordanian; views of the situation are presented in more detail in statements presented by the Jordanian Government to the Special Representative. These statements are attache as annexes to this report (see annexes II to IV).
79. The Israel views on the situation, set forth in statements also attached as annexes to this report, stress the speedy return of normal life in the occupied area and the measures taken by the Israel Government to facilitate and encourage, this process in relation to local government, currency problems, price level, employment, the reactivation of agriculture, industry and commerce, the re-establishment of basic services such as electricity, water, communications and transportation, and the resumption of services in the fields of health, education welfare and religious and judicial life.
80. The Special Representative was not able, in the time at his disposal, to assess completely the social and economic situation prevailing on the West to establish a complete review of measures taken by the Israel Government, and less to analyse all the implications of Israel measures taken so far. He has been able, however, to obtain an impression on these points by direct observation during his visits to the main West-Bank towns of Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus and Qalqiliya, and through detailed and specific discussions with representatives of the local population and of the Israel authorities.
81. The information gathered in this way is presented here classified to main items relevant to the situation prevailing in each of the four towns. Since these situations differ, not all subjects are covered for each town. Secondly, because of the variations in the time at the disposal of the Special Representative in each town and the differences in background and knowledge the spokesmen consulted, the information is more complete on some subjects for some towns than for others.
82. The information concerning Qalqiliya, which was visited by the Assistant, to the Special Representative on 12 August 1967, was as follows:
(a) Local government. The Arab Mayor stated that the employees of the municipality had returned to work and that the municipality had received 4,000 pounds from the Jordanian Government and 3,000 pounds from the Israel Government and that he was expecting more funds from the Israel Government. He stated that it was necessary to strengthen the budget of the municipality to carry out the reconstruction of this largely destroyed city. Moreover, additional funds would be required once the agricultural season began. So far, he said, no plans had been made regarding reconstruction, but a budget had been submitted to the Israel authorities. The legal adviser to the Israel military governor stated that in a few days the municipality would receive long-term loans to help the shopkeepers to start buying goods. According to the Mayor, the main problems facing the city were the financing of the budget and the general shortage of money.
(b) Banks There were no branches of Israel banks in the area.
(c) Basic amenities. The Mayor stated that the Israel Government had helped in restoring of the water and electricity systems.
(d) Food. Food was provided by UNRWA. For the first month UNRWA supplied food to everyone; as from the second month, no rations were issued to those who had their own means.
(e) Shelter. Some of those whose houses were destroyed are at present living with relatives or outside Qalqiliya (in Nablus, for instance) or in their former houses in Qalqiliya, where they had covered the destroyed parts with tents. About 200 tents were distributed by the Israel Government and about 30 by UNRWA. The tents provided by the Israel Government were cut into pieces and shared by several families in order to cover damaged parts of their houses. The Mayor stated that there were no official plans to reconstruct the town but that he had read in newspapers that the Israel Government intended to carry out the reconstruction.
(f) Education. The Mayor stated that the schools would be functioning. He had heard of teachers elsewhere who had been asked to fill in a special form before resuming their work, but this had not happened in Qalqiliya.
(g) Health services. The Mayor stated that when the population returned to Qalqiliya there were a number of human and animal remains in many places; the Health Department proceeded to their removal and to a disinfection campaign. A medical doctor was now visiting the city twice a week, but the Mayor considered the present health services inadequate. He would prefer that the doctor be permanently stationed in Qalqiliya. The UNRWA hospital was still functioning, but without its previous operating theatre, as stated elsewhere in this report.
(h) Economy. The main source of livelihood for the 12,500 non-UNRWA residents was agriculture and remittances of money from those who emigrated to other countries. Agriculture was being resumed since no fields were destroyed. However, there was a problem of unemployment. Through the Israel Government about 120 workers were now working on cleaning the town.
(i) Confiscations. The Mayor stated that no goods or properties had been confiscated in Qalqiliya.
83. The information regarding Nablus, visited on 24 July, may be summarized as follows:
(a) Curfew. There was a curfew throughout the area from 7 p.m to 4 a.m., when farmers start going to their work.
(b) Municipality. An Israel spokesman said that the Israel military authorities had authorized the head of the municipality to run the services himself and that they had given him the practical possibilities to do so by providing supplies and assistance. The Mayor was the elected Arab Mayor of the city who did not leave the city during the hostilities.
(c) Police. The police force was operating and consisted of about eighty-five policemen in Nablus only. Those who were found were all remobilized and back on duty. They were wearing uniforms, and the Israel authorities had supplied them with weapons to safeguard the town against looting.
(d) Employment of government officials. According to an Israel official, there were 1,300 teachers in the district of Nablus. All of them would receive their salaries. Moreover, salaries were also being paid to policemen, to the staff of government hospitals, and to the personnel of post offices. In principle, all officers working for the administration would be paid. The Israel official stated that already some 350 workers were working in the projects of the municipality, such as construction of municipal roads and new buildings. the Arab Mayor stated that even though the present Government was paying most of the teachers, unfortunately most of the other departments had not yet received pay money, from either the Jordanian or the Israel Government. This situation, in his opinion, affected "thousands of people", many of whom were coming to see him daily about their problems. He mentioned in this connexion the Department of Land Registry, the religious courts, the pension office, the civil law courts, which were located in Nablus and served the wider Nablus district. The Israel spokesman stated that the Israel authorities did not know about the existence of these offices and their specific tasks. According to their information, there were about twenty-one government departments in Nablus, and payment of salaries to their officer was now beginning, except for some civil servants who were felt by the Israel authorities to be redundant.
(e) Banks. According to an Israel official, the banks were functioning.
(f) Basic public facilities. An Israel spokesman said that the electricity supply had not been interrupted; postal and telephone services were operating.
(g) Water. According to an Israel spokesman, the water pipeline was blown up during the fighting and was being renewed. In midsummer it was usually dry in Nablus, and the city needed water from outside.
(h) Food. An Israel spokesman said that the Israel authorities supplied the most essential things which were not in stock in sufficient quantity in Nablus, such as flour. In some villages around Nablus there was no flour either. The Israel military authorities told the village Mukhtars that they could bring their problems before the municipality in the areas in which their villages were located, and through the Mayors the population had been supplied with flour. There was no problem of starvation whatsoever. The Arab Mayor stated that there was enough food but the population lacked the money to buy it and that the municipality had started to give help to about 16,000 people in Nablus city alone (but of a total population of 75,000 to 80,000).
(i) Health. According to an Israel spokesman, hospitals were operating. The Israel authorities gave the head of the municipality the power to run the services in town, including the health services. The Arab Mayor stated that medical services were working, but not as they used to. Some of the personnel the clinics and some of the manual workers had left, some of the instruments been lost, and there was not as much transport as was needed. Moreover, apart the traditional medical services, there were some special projects, such as a malaria eradication project and a tuberculosis centre and a maternity and child health programme, all of which had come to a standstill. The Arab Mayor stated that the municipality had discussed these problems with the Israel authorities who showed "an eagerness to co-operate" and that weekly meetings had been with the health authorities in Jerusalem.
(j) Agriculture. According to an Arab spokesman (formerly Minister of Agriculture in the Jordanian Government), at least 50 per cent of the harvest in the Nablus area was destroyed during the war. However, an Israel agricultural specialist felt sure that more than 80 per cent of the crops of the area had saved. After hostilities ended, the Israelis had proceeded to the harvesting abandoned crops; in the case of wheat, to prevent it from burning out; in the case of tomatoes and melons, to avoid rotting. Surplus perishable agricultural products had been sent to Israel canning factories. He stated that the Israeli authorities had assisted local agriculture, first, by doing this emergency harvesting, sometimes using machines brought in from Israel, and secondly, by assisting in the sale of agricultural surpluses to industries in Israel now the usual export outlets to countries like Kuwait had been closed. In addition the authorities would be willing to supply seeds for the new agricultural Arab spokesmen stressed the difficulty of resuming agricultural activities of the great number of people who had left for the East Bank. Difficulties soon be felt when the olives had to be picked. They felt that the reduced la force would lead to a reduction of agricultural production which would a shortage of food in the area. The Israel agricultural spokesman said that the Israel authorities had started to prepare plans for the next agricultural season and felt sure that they would be able to plant all the areas where no war damage had been done. He was surprised to hear that there was so much concern about the alleged shortage of agricultural labour.
(k) Commerce. All marketing had been arranged as from the first week after the war, according to an Israel spokesman. During the war the Israel military authorities stopped all traffic. The day after the war traffic resumed with private cars. Commodities which were lacking were brought in from Israel. The Israel authorities arranged for the sale of manufactured products from Nablus in the Arab part of Jerusalem. However, the Arab Mayor stated: "The commercial situation is a little better but is not what it should be."
(1) Shops. An Israel spokesman said that shops were open; everything was as before. A few of the shopkeepers had left, and some others kept their shops closed. Some travel agencies had closed down because they had no business. He stated: "We give all the opportunities, but it is up to the municipality." He drew attention to the fact that much tourist trade was now coming from Israel. The Arab Mayor stated that a large number of shops had opened and that a large number Of Israelis had started to come to the area and were buying; but apart from these visitors, there were no tourists of the usual kind.
(m) Price level. According to an Israel spokesman, prices generally were going up, but compared with Israel prices in Nablus were lower as the local standard of living was lower.
(n) Unemployment situation. The Arab Mayor indicated that there was a problem of unemployment affecting a large number of labourers. This was unusual as, before the war, there had been no unemployment during the summer season but only in winter. He declared that unemployment was felt in all sectors of the economy and gave as examples both private and public building and, related to this, unemployment in many industries, such as ironwork and furniture, in which a large number of labourers worked. Unemployment was also found, for example, in dressmaking, he Observed. According to an Israel official, soap factories in Nablus were resuming work gradually and would again provide employment to about a hundred workers.
(o) Unemployment relief. An Israel official said that efforts were being made to relieve unemployment in the area, especially through the initiation of public works. Many roads were being repaired, and there were plans to enlarge other roads. These works were expected to absorb hundreds of labourers. Moreover, the military authorities had asked the municipality to operate projects which had been planned before the war. If the municipality needed money to start the projects, the Israel Government would be ready to give it and had in fact already done so to some extent. Many people were working on these projects, which included the reconstruction of the pipeline, road construction and road repair, and the continuation of construction work on schools, hospitals and other public buildings.
(p) Looting. An Israel official said that there had been complaints about the looting of shops at night. The Israel defence forces had been able to catch the looters, who had been tried before a military court, since breaking the curfew and looting were military offences.
84. The information concerning Bethlehem, which was visited on 11 August, was as follows:
(a) Municipality. The Mayor of Bethlehem informed the Special Representative that the services of the municipality were running 100 per cent. Some projects were being carried out with the help of the Israel Government. Salaries for the month of June had been paid. As regards July salaries the Mayor had roughly half of the amount required available for payment. Approval of the budget was expected for August and September. As soon as the budget was approved, work could be given to another 155 municipal workers.
(b) Banks. He stated that all money was frozen in the banks and that there was no liquidity. Only one Israel bank had opened, with very limited transactions. The Mayor had been informed that efforts were being made to obtain funds from London to reopen the Ottoman and British banks in Bethlehem, which were still closed.
(c) Food. Immediately following the end of hostilities, there had been a shortage of flour, but new supplies had arrived within a few days. There were no food problems.
(d) Education. The Arab Mayor asserted that schools would be opening in September. Most of the teachers were from the area.
(e) Health. The Arab Mayor remarked that the health situation was good and that hospitals were working.
(f) Courts. There were no problems, according to the Arab Mayor.
(g) Economy. Bethlehem's main source of income was tourism, but foreign tourists had stopped coming. The head of the department of tourism in Jerusalem had promised to give the fullest attention to this point. The Israel military governor stated that Bethlehem could not exist without tourism coming through Israel and that therefore it was in the economic interest of the local population to co-operate with the Israel authorities.
(h) Employment. The Arab Mayor stated that there were some "jobless" but that road construction works were going on. However, construction on the Bethlehem-Jerusalem road, involving some forty to sixty employees, had been interrupted because the contractor had disappeared.
(i) Movement of population. According to the Arab Mayor, there were three camps of Palestinian refugees in the area, with a total refugee population of some 20,000. About 3O per cent of them had left. Very few of the local residents of the Bethlehem area had left, however.
85. As regards Hebron, which was also visited by the Special Representative on 11 August, the information received by him may be summarized as follows:
(a) Municipality. The Arab Mayor informed the Special Representative that the officials who originally were working with the Government had all been re-employed except for about 20 per cent who had to be terminated upon the request of the Israel authorities.
(b) Food. Immediately after the war, basic commodities had been gathered together, and the municipality, together with the chamber of commerce, had carried out an inventory of stocks. The Israel authorities had supplied flour and fuel, of which there was a shortage.
(c) Education. Schools would reopen on 1 September. Some teachers, mainly those who had been recruited from outside the area, had left. The places of teachers who did not return would be filled by university students.
Economy. The main economic activity in the region was fruit-growing. The Mayor observed that at present it was not possible to export fruit to the Bank, and that, moreover, it was not possible to send trucks to the Jericho area or the West Bank. Secondly, a large number of people from the area used to work in.^ the Arab peninsula and to send money home or to come to Hebron themselves for holidays and thus spend their earnings but they were no longer doing so.
(e) Commerce. He stated that except for the absence of imports, commerce was going on normally. Before the war a large number of merchants had; through Amman for all sorts of goods which were now waiting in the port of and the merchants were now unable to bring these goods to Hebron. During his subsequent visit to Amman, the Special Representative took this matter up with the authorities there, who informed him of their willingness to seek a satisfactory arrangement for the merchants concerned.
(f) Employment. From the point of view of manpower and employment, there, were no difficulties in the agricultural sector nor in other sectors of the economy, where work and life were continuing normally.
(g) Confiscations. The Israel custodian of absentees' property had the houses of those who were away since the houses were empty. However, in cases the inhabitants were only temporarily away on a visit to Amman. In other cases, when a relative of the owner had been present but not the owner himself, the property had still been considered as absentee property by the Israel authorities.
(h) Abraham's Tomb. The Mufti informed the Special Representative that, Moslems had at first been forbidden to go and pray in the main mosque, built –over Abraham's Tomb. They had protested, and the Israel Minister of Defence had to discuss the matter directly with them. It had been agreed that the Moslems conduct their prayers at certain hours, while other hours would be reserved for visitors. An Israel officer explained that the difference of opinion arose from the fact that the shrine of Abraham's Tomb is equally holy to Moslems and Jews. The latter were now allowed to pass through the mosque.
(i) Moslem religious courts. The Mufti also declared that the main chiefs of the Islamic community had met and decided to appoint one of their member to, represent them in Jerusalem and deal with the Israel authorities. Any relevant Israel orders were now received through this representative. No difficulty had been encountered in carrying on the normal Moslem legislation and court affairs. (j) Movement of population. The Mayor mentioned that before the entry of the Israel troops, an agreement had been reached that no fighting would take place in this area, and that in fact no fighting had taken place. Yet when the Arab Legion withdrew from the area, people began to flee. Approximately 15,000 to 18,000 out of a population of 150,000 in the area had left. The majority had left before the arrival of the Israel troops; come were still leaving. They had left of their own free will without any pressure from the army. Many had come back, and about 90 per cent of all those who had gone would like to come back. The army treated the population well. There were about 50,000 Palestinian refugees in the area, out of whom approximately 10,000 left. (Forty per cent of the refugees lived in camps.)
86. The above data from various sources seem to indicate that as a result of the hostilities the general economy of the West Bank came to a standstill. Trade between the West Bank and the East Bank was suspended; banks were closed, and credit facilities had been withdrawn. Many businesses were closed, and employees no longer received their salaries. The general impression was that food had soon become available, but not the money to buy it. The three major problems facing the economy were lack of liquidity, unemployment, and changing price levels.
87. The Israel Government assured the Special Representative that it had taken initial measures to restart the West Bank economy, including the purchase of West Bank agricultural surpluses formerly exported to East Jordan and to other Arab countries, to re-employ former Jordanian Government and municipal employees, including teachers, as well as to create employment by public work projects, and to authorize some Jordanian banks to reopen and create branches of the Bank of Israel in the principal West Bank centres.
88. An economist, a member of the Israel planning committee for the development of areas under Israel control, stated that at the beginning the idea had been to do whatever Israel could do to maintain the existing price levels in the occupied area. However, it was found that it would be impossible to operate separate customs controls for the West Bank and for the Gaza area and that in general it would be physically impossible for Israel to ensure a complete separation between the economies of the three areas. Therefore, at a later stage, a more flexible policy vas adopted accepting the idea that in principle there would have to be an adjustment of the level of prices between Israel and the occupied areas. Thinking then focused on measures to ensure a gradual adjustment so that the shock would not be too great. Such a gradual adjustment would be obtained by ensuring an effective rise in salaries and in the purchasing capacity of the population, in order to nullify the negative effect of the rise in price levels. In this connexion it was found that opening the area for Israel tourists would allow the population to sell whatever they had to sell, which in turn would increase their purchasing power.
89. According to the same spokesman, a representative of the Israel National Bank went to discuss the rate of exchange of the Jordan dinar with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Fund had reservations regarding Israel's rate of exchange for the dinar. Israel informed the IMF of its readiness to modify the rate of exchange, provided that the convertibility of the dinar would be guaranteed for the future. Moreover, Israel was willing to let the local Arab banks resume business if the Jordanian banks transferred back all the balances being held in Amman. The IMF discussed this with the Jordanian authorities. These authorities drew up a list of proposals which, Israel felt, amounted to putting Israel in a situation where the economy of the West Bank would be run from Amman. Therefore, Israel decided, as a unilateral act, to raise the rate of exchange of the Jordan dinar (and of the Egyptian pound) in order to counter-balance the negative effect on the purchasing power.
90. According to the same spokesman, Israel wanted to secure facilities for the transfer of remittances to the population; Israel felt that too much talk about this subject could bring about a situation where some Arab countries would not transfer money to their families in the occupied areas. Therefore, the IMF, the Red Cross and the United Nations were informed of the factual situation, namely, that Israel would see that any remittances transferred to persons in those areas would be made out to them through the banks. The banks were given orders to transfer any remittances which they received directly or indirectly for or on behalf of residents.
91. According to the data provided by the Israel authorities, little damage was done in agricultural areas, and agriculture as an economic activity was functioning fairly well in most areas, with the possible exception of the Nablus region. Israel set up a group composed of various experts attached to the Prime Minister to look into plans for water resources and agricultural development. The immediate problem was, however, what to plan for the next agricultural season. For the moment there were surpluses, and Israel was faced with the problem of what to do with them. Israel policy aimed, according to Israel sources, at maintaining the economic activity at its previous level, but it was not to be expected that next season's agricultural production could be exported to the East Bank. Instead, the Israel market would have to be used as a basis for planning of West Bank agriculture. Agriculturists from the West Bank had already been taken on visits, to Israel to show them the situation and orientation of agriculture there, in order to help them make adjustments in their own plans for the next season. The Special Representative was informed that whatever the future of the West Bank would be, it was the earnest wish of Israel Cabinet Ministers responsible that the West Bank population should be able to conclude that the Israel administration had done whatever it could to raise the standards of living of the population.
92. The Special Representative considered that, if there should be a delay in the resumption of normal economic life both on the West Bank and in the Gaza strip, a considerable portion of the population in these areas would suffer a decline in living standards and that nutritional problems might develop. Under these conditions, there would be a continued need to provide food relief for those persons who were not at present under UNRWA's care. Early consideration would therefore have to be given to the continuation or the expansion of existing feeding programmes, such as those that were being discussed between the Israel Government and CARE. Discussions were also taking place between UNICEF and the Israel authorities on this subject.
C. The United Arab Republic and areas administered
by the United Arab Republic
93. There are striking differences in population density and composition as well as in economic and social life between the United Arab Republic-administered Gaza strip and Sinai. The Gaza strip is a small but densely populated area with a total pre-war population estimated at about 455,000, of whom 315,000 or about 70 per cent, were UNRWA registered refugees. Sinai is a vast peninsula still characterized in the interior by the traditional Bedouin way of life. The settled population in this peninsula is largely concentrated in the town of El-Arish on the Mediterranean coast and in the eastern part of the town of Kantara on the East Bank of the Suez Canal. According to local Arab sources, the pre-war population of El-Arish was, estimated at between 30,000 and 40,000 and that of East Kantara at about 15,000.
94. Prior to his visit to these areas the Special Representative proceeded to Cairo; on 27 July for discussions with representatives of the United Arab Republic Government. These discussions highlighted three issues to which the United Arab Republic attached particular importance: the alleged shortage of food and the starvation of the population in El-Arish, the shortage of water in East Kantara and the responsibility of the occupying authority for this state of affairs, and finally, the alleged expulsion of Palestinians across the Suez Canal by the Israel forces. Arrangements were made for the Special Representative to visit newly displaced persons who had been given temporary shelter in recently constructed villages in the land reclamation projects of the Liberation Province north west of Cairo. A visit to Israel prisoners of war held in the United Arab Republic was also arranged at the request of the Special Representative.
95. The Special Representative visited El-Arish and East Kantara on 14 August Gaza town and its surrounding areas on the next day. In each locality meetings held with the Israel military forces in charge of the administration as well as representatives of Arab local government bodies and other spokesmen for the local Arab population and for Palestinian refugees.
96.The Israel authorities submitted to the Special Representative two aide-memoires on the situation in the Gaza strip and northern Sinai, which are annexed to this report (see annexes VIII and IX).
97. Besides considering the alleged expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza strip, the Special Representative gave attention during his short visit to the area to a number of questions affecting the safety, welfare and security of the population. 98. The information obtained by the Special Representative is set forth below according to subjects. In this connexion it should be pointed out that because UNRWA registered refugees made up 70 per cent of the total population, UNRWA played an essential role in the economic and social life in the area which affected not only the refugees but also the population as a whole.
(a) Movement of population
99. Until recently the population living in the Gaza area could be divided into three categories: the original Gaza population which had inhabited the area for centuries; Palestinian refugees and persons of Egyptian origin, mostly government civil servants, teachers, and professional persons.
100. The Israel military commander of the Gaza area stated that there were still some 200 Egyptian civil servants in Gaza together with their families, who wanted to return to the United Arab Republic. He declared that they did not want to work in Gaza now since if they did so, they would lose their job potential in the United Arab Republic. However, if they stayed in the area under Israel control, they would have to work. According to other sources some 600 or 700 persons were imprisoned initially. Of these the Israel authorities later retained only men between eighteen and fifty-five years of age and allowed the others to leave for the United Arab Republic. The men between the ages of eighteen and fifty-five , were then transferred to El-Arish. The Special Representative had the opportunity to visit 289 United Arab Republic officials detained in El-Arish.
101. Some sources claimed that after the hostilities ended in the Gaza area, Israel military forces rounded up about 3,000 persons who were thought to be members of the Palestine Liberation Army, and subsequently took them to places outside the Gaza strip. During his visit to the prisoner-of-war camp in Athlit (Israel) the Special Representative was informed that some of these Palestinians were detained there. According to various sources, others were taken to Kantara. There they were authorized by the Israel authorities to cross to the west side of the Suez Canal.
102. The Special Representative had not been able to find official confirmation of the above-mentioned figure of 3,000 persons involved, or to determine how many of these had been released and how many were still being detained inside or outside the Gaza strip by the Israel authorities.
1O3. The Israel authorities had made arrangements enabling residents of the Gaza area to visit relatives on the West Bank. At the time of the visit of the Special Representative to the Gaza strip, Gaza residents desirous of visiting the West Bank had to apply for permission to the military authorities. Upon approval of their request they received two passes - one to go to the West Bank and one to come back. It was said that about six large buses were leaving every day for the West Bank. It was not known to the Special Representative whether on an average six bus loads of people also returned every day and to what extent the authorities checked whether individuals returned on or before the return date mentioned on their return passes. According to information subsequently received, the requirement for permits to visit the West Bank had been lifted and only identity cards were required.
104. According to the Israel military governor of the Gaza strip, the municipality was working normally. The Arab personnel of the municipality had not been replaced and were receiving their salaries. All services were functioning.
105. The Arab Mayor of the municipality declared that 50,000 Egyptian pounds belonging to the municipality had been taken from banks by the Israel authorities. Israel spokesmen denied this.
106. The military commander of Gaza town declared that the municipality budget was given priority as regards payments. The municipality had already received 20,000 Egyptian pounds from the Israel military government, but in addition the municipality was requesting grants similar to those received in the past for carrying out projects.
(c) Banks and currency
107. Members of the Gaza municipal council complained that economic life was at a standstill because depositors could not withdraw money from the banks. In this connexion, one Israel senior military officer asserted that 70 per cent of the local currency in the banks had been taken to the United Arab Republic; another Israel officer declared that the Israel authorities found altogether 526,000 Egyptian pounds in the banks in the Gaza strip, that the local banks were bankrupt and that banking was now functioning through Israel banks.
108. During his visits to Cairo, the Special Representative was informed by the United Arab Republic authorities that in the whole of Gaza and Sinai, Israel forces had taken 1 million Egyptian pounds from the banks, as well as 400,000 Egyptian pounds found with the United Arab Republic troops and earmarked for their next salary payment. Israel spokesmen in the Gaza strip and elsewhere insisted that wherever bankbooks or money had been taken from banks, this had been done only upon receipts handed over to the directors of the banks concerned. Moreover, they stated that the cash held in banks did not suffice to refund the deposits made by the inhabitants.
109. Exchanges of currency according to the latest Israel regulations could officially be made in the Gaza strip until 15 August.
110. During his visit to Gaza town, the Special Representative noted that there seemed to be an ample supply of food there. According to the information received by him, supplies left behind by the United Arab Republic authorities had been used to a large extent. Food prices had increased somewhat, for instance, those of fresh meat, canned meat and fish. People were coming from Israel and buying these foodstuffs, and this was one reason for the rise in prices.
111. Though food seemed to be available, money 'to buy it was scarce. The CARE representative stated that CARE was giving food and assistance to approximately 80,000 persons, who were not UNRWA refugees of whom 10,000 were in El-Arish. CARE was carrying on that activity in close co-operation with UNICEF. UNICEF would distribute the same rations as CARE, reaching those persons who were not covered at present by either UNRWA or CARE, particularly nursing and expectant mothers. CARE supplied food to other categories such as old people, widows, orphans, disabled people, and people who were able to work but had been unemployed for at least four weeks.
112. According to the Israel military commander, health services continued under the same conditions as in the past when they were provided by the Government free of charge. He stated that the hospitals were functioning, but that some people had asked the military government to provide them with better hospitals. He stated that an Israel doctor was touring the area regularly.
113. However, according to other sources, the hospital in Rafah had been destroyed, and only the UNRWA hospital there was functioning.
(f ) Education
The military commander informed the Special Representative that he expected the schools to reopen with adequate equipment. He hoped that enough teachers would be available.
115. Some sources indicated that about 200 teachers had left the Gaza area, most of them before the war, and that some equipment had been looted during and after the war.
116. The Special Representative heard from both sides many expressions of grave concern regarding the course of future developments in the education field. Israel spokesmen repeatedly expressed their disapproval of the textbooks in use, which allegedly contained hate propaganda against Israel. According to the latest reports received by the Special Representative but which had not, as far as known, been officially confirmed by the Israel authorities, Israel would continue to use the old textbooks, but would delete from them those passages which were offensive to Israel.
117. Traditionally, the Gaza area is a citrus-growing region. According to the Arab Mayor of Gaza town, citrus exports represented 25 to 30 per cent of the local revenue "before the hostilities. These exports had now been blocked, and there was no prospect as yet of the resumption of these exports. One member of the Gaza municipal council mentioned that there were 40,000 workers involved in the citrus sector, from the groves to exportation.
118. The military governor stated that the matter of exports was under consideration and that the Ministry of Agriculture was studying plans for using Gaza citrus fruits in Israel canning factories and for improving the quality and packing of the fruits for marketing.
119. Before the war salaried workers were mainly dependent on a few main employers, including the United Arab Republic Government, which employed some 5,000 persons, UNRWA and UNEF. An Israel spokesman stated that most of these Government employees were still in the area and that 30 per cent of them were working.
120. A third source of income had been remittances to persons living in Gaza from relatives in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other oil-rich countries. Those remittances had now stopped, but might be resumed through the channels opened by the ICRC. One source indicated that more than half of the Palestinian refugees depended in varying degrees on money remitted from abroad.
121. From persons in each of the above-mentioned three main income categories, the present situation was characterized by unemployment and hardship. A member of the municipal council of Gaza stated that every day about 2,000 workers applied for work, but that only half of them were successful.
122. The military governor of the Gaza area stressed that the military authorities, instead of giving money to able-bodied persons not engaged in any productive activity, had very much encouraged the population to work on projects such as the reconstruction of roads, the building of new roads, the cleaning of streets, and the reconstruction of public buildings but the local population seemed reluctant to work on these projects for a number of reasons. He stated that the Israel military authorities would open a labour exchange shortly. Every unemployed person who wanted to work should register his name. If no work could be given, assistance would be provided to the applicant. He mentioned that the population had been informed that those who:;wanted to go and work on the West Bank could do so.
(h) Civilian casualties and property damage
123. The Special Representative received reports from various sources that not only during but after the active hostilities civilians had been killed and houses destroyed.
124. Regarding the destruction of houses after the war, the Israel military commander of the Gaza strip stated that two or three houses had been destroyed for security reasons because explosives and weapons had been found in them. As regards Rafah, he stated that, after having himself made a tour of the area, he did not have the impression that the town was destroyed, but only that some of the houses were damaged. In Rafah, to his knowledge, there had been no destruction for such security reasons as those referred to above.
125. During the Special Representative's visit to a refugee camp, spokesmen for the refugees drew his attention to continuing searches of the camp by Israel forces and requested that in order to avoid frightening women and children, such searches should not be conducted during the night. The military commander of Gaza town who attended the meetings, stated that until very recently some Egyptian officers and soldiers and ammunition and weapons had been found in the camp and that on questions of military security there could be no bargaining whatsoever.
126. A member of the Gaza municipal council stated that the looting of shops continued creating fear among the shopkeepers. He added that there were fewer police now than in the past. The military commander of Gaza town indicated that there were about 250 local police there and that this number would be increased. According to him, the military authorities were in fact trying to reorganize the whole police force. The police, who used to work only four hours a day were now working eight hours a day. Moreover, the Israel police and the local police would be combined. The military authorities could not rely on the local police, he declared, and mixed patrols of Israel and local police were planned. An increase in salaries was also being considered. The entire reorganization was expected to take approximately two weeks. A new police station had just been opened.
127. During his visit to El-Arish, the most important city of Sinai, the Special Representative gave attention to the food situation as well as to a number of other problems of particular interest to the local population. The information obtained by him is summarized below.
128. During his first visit to the United Arab Republic, the Special Representative was informed by a Government spokesman that the population in El-Arish was starving and that the United Arab Republic authorities therefore had intended to send a ship with food to El-Arish. According to an Israel spokesman, Israel had let it be known that the population was not starving in El-Arish, but if the United Arab Republic wanted to send food, Israel would not object provided the ship flew a Red Cross flag. Subsequently, according to the same Israel spokesman, the United Arab Republic Government had abandoned the idea. The United Arab Republic spokesman Informed the Special Representative that the decision not to send the ship to El-Arish had been taken when the news of the Special Representative's imminent arrival in Cairo had been received. The United Arab Republic Government wished to avail itself of this visit in order, first, to clarify the question of principle that it was the exclusive responsibility of the occupying authority to supply food in sufficient quantity to the local population of El-Arish.
129. According to Israel, as well as Arab and neutral spokesmen, there was no immediate food problem in El-Arish, but there was a scarcity of money to buy the food that was available.
130. Israel sources indicated that food was now brought into El-Arish by rail. As mentioned elsewhere, CARE was supplying rations to some 10,000 inhabitants.
131. According to the Israel military commander, the Israel authorities gave money to the Mayor of the municipality to pay municipal workers (numbering about 400); the water and electricity supplies were functioning. He mentioned also that the local police force was operating.
132. The two banks of El-Arish were closed. As soon as postal services were restored, the military government opened the Israel Postal Bank.
133. From 16 August only Israel currency was to be accepted. The rate of exchange had been established at six Israel pounds for one Egyptian pound. The Israel authorities would not object if after that date customers still paid for goods in Egyptian pounds, but the exchange rate would be different, namely 3.5 Israel pounds for one Egyptian pound.
134. Israel spokesmen claimed that there had been no heavy fighting in the town of El-Arish, and only a few houses had been damaged. The local municipality had called in tenders from local contractors to carry out the repairs, which would be paid for from the municipal, budget provided by the Israel authorities.
135. According to the Arab director of the El-Arish hospital, the health situation was normal. Medical staff cumbering about 100, who had previously been responsible for health services in different parts of the Sinai peninsula, were now concentrated in El-Arish, with the result that there was a relatively high number of medical personnel per hospital bed.
(f) Income and employment
136. According to Arab spokesmen, almost all the population of El-Arish had previously depended indirectly on the salaries and purchasing power of civil servants who were stationed in El-Arish for the administration and servicing of the town itself and of the wider Sinai peninsula, as well as of the army. It was said that there were some 4,000 heads of families of both categories who were now without jobs or salaries. Of these 4,000, some 1,000 heads of families had originally been recruited west of the Suez Canal. Israel spokesmen stated that the Israel authorities in El-Arish were now employing and paying TOO permanent civil servants, namely, 400 employed by the municipality and some 300 employed in the police force and in services such as water supply. In addition, the military authorities needed about 400 personnel to work for the Israel defence forces, but up to that tine, they had found it difficult to recruit as many workers as were needed.
137. Economic production in the primary sector in El-Arish consisted mainly of fishing and date growing. The military authorities had granted permission for the resumption of fishing and were ready to send fish to the West Bank of Jordan.
(g) Civil servants of United Arab Republic origin
138. During his visit to El-Arish the Special Representative's attention was drawn to the presence of about 1,000 civil servants (together with their families totalling about 5,000 persons) who, it was stated, had originally been recruited from parts of the United Arab Republic west of the Suez Canal and who now wished to return to what they considered their homes.
139. Agreement had been reached that these 5,000 persons should be transferred to the West Bank of the Suez Canal. A first group had crossed the Canal, but the United Arab Republic authorities had detected some Palestinians among them and had subsequently stopped the whole project, requesting lists of the names of all officials wishing to return. These lists were immediately forwarded to the United Arab Republic authorities, but the movement of the civil servants from El-Arish across the Suez Canal had not been resumed since.
140. The Special Representative found the 1,000 officials concerned in a difficult position as they had received no salaries since the hostilities and on the other hand were not interested in taking new employment, since they believed they would cross the Suez Canal any day. Neither the Israel authorities nor any voluntary agency had taken steps to assist them for the same reason.
141. On 26 August the Special Representative discussed the problem in Cairo with United Arab Republic Government officials. He was informed that the United Arab Republic Government no longer wished any of these persons to cross the Suez Canal but wished them to stay in the occupied area so that their presence might bolster the morale of the population.
(h) United Arab Republic civil servants from Gaza
As mentioned before, some 290 United Arab Republic civil servants whose original duty station was in the Gaza area had been transferred to El-Arish pending their return to the Nile valley area of the United Arab Republic. Their families had already been allowed to cross the Suez Canal. The Special Representative visited the camp where they were being held. He found they were not under military guard; there was only a local policeman at the gate. The detainees stated that they were allowed to go to town in groups of up to twenty at a time.
143. During his meeting with the spokesmen of the detainees, they made some complaints about the quality of their food, the lack of mattresses, the poor accommodation and the absence of letters from their families. The Israel governor who participated in the meeting, promised to look into these matters. The Special Representative was subsequently informed that improvements had been made.
144. United Arab Republic Government strongly objected to the detention of this group of officials, for which it found no justification .whatsoever. It also requested that they be allowed to rejoin their families now living west of the Suez Canal.
145. The information obtained by the Special Representative during his visit to East Kantara is set forth below.
(a) Water supply
146. In a letter dated 13 July 1967, addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the United Arab Republic Government informed him that the Israel forces had threatened to expel United Arab Republic citizens residing in East Kantara to the West Bank of the Suez Canal if the United Arab Republic Government refused to provide water to the part of the town situated on the East Bank, The United Arab Republic Government stated that the population of Kantara always depended on water from artesian wells in the city, and that additional water from the West Bank had in the past been furnished to the East Bank only to meet the needs of the United Arab Republic armed forces after they moved into Sinai.
147. On the occasion of the first visit of the Special Representative to Cairo, the question of water supply at East Kantara was discussed. The United Arab Republic Government reiterated that the civilian population of the eastern part of Kantara (normally about 15,000 inhabitants) had always used the water supplied by wells in the city, but it stressed that those wells had to be properly maintained. On the other hand, when the Special Representative visited refugees from Sinai in the United Arab Republic, some of those who had come from East Kantara stated that they had always received their drinking water from the West Bank of the Canal.
148. When the Special Representative visited East Kantara on 14 August, it was explained to him on the spot by the Israel authorities that the whole drinking water system of that part of the town was connected with and dependent on supply from the West Bank. Local inhabitants confirmed that this was the case. They stated that for decades water from local wells had been used only for watering gardens but that now they were forced to drink it. Even though they were boiling the water, the inhabitants were afraid that it was still not suitable for drinking water.
149. During his second visit to Cairo, the Special Representative informed the United Arab Republic Government of his findings in East Kantara and suggested that they should resume pumping water across the Canal in sufficient quantity to supply the remaining civilian population only. If the Israel Government would agree to such an operation, the Special Representative would then see to it that the water was distributed to the civilian population under a system of reliable control. However, the representatives of the United Arab Republic did not respond favourably to this suggestion, since they felt it was the sole responsibility of the Israel authorities to provide the population in occupied areas with proper drinking water.
150. The Special Representative discussed this matter with the Israel authorities. They pointed out that water supply was a great problem also for the Israel troops, as drinking water had to be brought across the desert by tanker.
(b) Movement of population
151. The president of the municipality declared that cut of a population of about 15,000, only 1,116 persons had remained. He informed the Special Representative that some 900 of them desired to be allowed to cross the Canal to the West Bank, In this connexion, the Israel military commander of the area informed the Special Representative that the Israel Government had no objection to the population leaving East Kantara if they so desired. This point was raised by the Special Representative with the United Arab Republic Government, which informed him that it wished the inhabitants to stay in East Kantara.
152. The Special Representative was informed by the population of East Kantara that there were shortages of certain foodstuffs in the town. Vegetables, fruits and meat, which they said were usually brought in from the West Bank of the Canal, were no longer available. All shops were closed and the Israel authorities had only supplied a few basic foods, namely, flour, sugar and tea.
153. The Israel commander recognized that some foodstuffs were in short supply in the area. He pointed out that the supply of food was also a great problem for the Israel troops in the area, since most of the commodities now had to be brought there across the desert from Israel in refrigerated trucks and were therefore strictly rationed.
154. During his visit to Cairo, the Special Representative took up this matter with the United Arab Republic Government. He suggested that the United Arab Republic Government might allow vegetables and fruits to be brought over the Canal, perhaps once a week; but the United Arab Republic Government declared that the responsibility for ensuring an adequate food supply rested with the occupying authority.
155. The inhabitants complained that it was not enough for an Israel doctor to be available only once a week. They pointed out that the hospital had been broken into and looted and was no longer functioning. There was no clinic and only two local nurses, neither of them qualified.
156. The Special Representative raised this matter with the Israel military commander of the area who promised to look into the possibility of improving the medical facilities.
157. The population of 1,116 persons consisted mainly of women and children. Some fifty to sixty men were employed with the United Nations observers or had found other remunerated employment in the area.
158. The president of the municipality complained that the people were not receiving letters. The ICRC delegate was, however, going there to arrange the exchange of letters between the inhabitants and their relatives elsewhere.
III. SITUATION OF DISPLACED PERSONS FROM AREAS UNDER ISRAEL
CONTROL AND THE QUESTION OF THEIR RETURN
Situation of displaced persons
159. The number of persons who had fled from the areas under Israel occupation during and after the June hostilities is roughly estimated at about 350,000. This figure includes:
(a) About 200,000 persons (of whom about 95,000 were refugees registered with UNRWA) who had moved from the West Bank to the East Bank in Jordan;
(b) About 110,000 persons according to Syrian sources and not more than 85,000 according to Israel sources (of whom about 17,000 were UNRWA registered refugees) who had moved from the south-western corner of Syria, mainly to the areas of Damascus and Dera'a;
(c) About 55,000 persons (of whom 5,000 were UNRWA-registered refugees in the Gaza strip) who had moved across the Suez Canal from the Gaza strip or Sinai.
160. Immediately after the hostilities, emergency assistance was given to those displaced persons to alleviate their hardship. As the Commissioner General of UNRWA pointed out, this emergency assistance was a combined operation to which the Governments directly concerned, other donor Governments, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, UNRWA, UNICEF, the specialized agencies, national and International non-governmental organizations and individuals in many parts of the world all made important contributions.
161. The assistance provided to the displaced persons included donations in cash, as well as donations in kind, such as tents, blankets, clothing, mattresses, kitchen utensils, food, milk, medicaments and vehicles. Some of this assistance was channelled through UNRWA and the Red Cross or Red Crescent organizations, and some was distributed by voluntary agencies. The Special Representative had discussed in some detail the assistance given to displaced persons and their needs with the Governments and organizations concerned with this problem. These discussions highlighted the importance of continuing and intensifying the assistance given to displaced persons. Certain pressing needs are set forth in the sections below. It should be pointed out that this question will also be dealt with by the Commissioner General of UNRWA in his annual report to the General Assembly.
(a) Needs in Syria
162. The Syrian Government took full charge of the displaced persons, with the assistance of the International Committee of the Bed Cross, the World Food Programme, the Lutheran World Federation, UNRWA, etc., while UNRWA assumed responsibility for meeting the needs of the 17,000 displaced Palestinians already registered with it, with UNICEF's help in providing protein supplements.
163. The Special Representative reported that one of the most immediate and acute problems would be that of shelter, as about 80 per cent of the displaced persons were now accommodated in schools which should be vacated before the new school yea In connexion with this new emergency, the pressing needs would be for 200,000 blankets, 50,000 mattresses and 15,000 tents. The food situation might also become precarious when the present World Food Programme assistance ran out at the end of October.
164. The necessary clinics, sanitation facilities and social services would have to be established before the cold weather arrived and before health conditions deteriorated. New schools would have to be opened and supplementary feeding would be required for the next six to nine months.
165. Emergency feeding would probably be needed also for another three months and World Food Programme assistance in ensuring further supplies would be most desirable.
166. UNICEF had advised the Syrian authorities that it could provide further assistance in the form of equipment for clinics, supplementary feeding kitchens and schools, as well as assistance for sanitary facilities and drinking water supplies, sewing machines and possibly training aid for the production of children's clothing, and supporting transport if required. UNICEF also Indicated that it could give consideration to providing assistance in the operation of supplementary feeding programmes, including the provision of vitamins and other dietary supplements, and, in case of special emergency needs, the supply of imported slotted angle-irons as a supporting framework for local structures to house the facilities mentioned above.
167. The Special Representative noted that, as the Syrian Government had received less external aid in the present emergency in proportion to the number of refugees than the other areas concerned, material and financial aid to carry out the necessary projects for shelter and community facilities would be needed.
168. In connexion with the import of relief supplied for Syria and also for east Jordan, the Special Representative vas informed that since 5 June, vessels flying certain flags had been unable to discharge cargoes at Beirut. These relief supplies had therefore been unloaded at various other Mediterranean ports, entailing losses, delay and substantially increased costs. The Special Representative believed that this difficulty could result in the interruption of some refugee assistance projects at a most critical time.
(b) Needs in East Jordan
169. In this area, the Jordan Government and UNRWA had pooled their resources in a joint effort to assist the displaced persons. The World Food Programme and UNICEF, together with the Bed Cross and other voluntary agencies, were also helping these persons.
170. The Special Representative noted that the new refugee camps which had been hurriedly set up coincident with the hostilities to provide shelter for the displaced persons were unsuitable for continued occupancy, particularly in cold weather. Improved shelters would have to be provided in substantial numbers, together with expanded facilities for health, education and social services.
171. To preserve the health of the children, adequate sanitation was urgently needed, including arrangements for refuse disposal. It would also be necessary to keep the children reasonably dry and warm. For this purpose, footwear, particularly rubber boots, additional blankets and warm clothing would be required. Supplementary feeding schemes in each camp would be necessary to provide at least one hot meal a day for the children.
172. Another urgent problem would be schooling for the children. Although Jordan was normally well provided with teachers, tents, to be used as school rooms, and textbooks were lacking.
173. The displaced persons who were living in the homes of friends or relatives constituted a group which had been overlooked until recently. The distribution of certain food-stuffs might alleviate the economic hardship incurred by their hosts, as they might have difficulties in feeding the relatives and friends they were housing.
(c) Needs in the United Arab Republic
174. During his stay in the United Arab Republic, the Special Representative visited several villages in the Liberation Province, where about 10,000 displaced persons had been given shelter. These villages were recently constructed as part of a vast land reclamation and settlement programme and were intended to house new agricultural communities at the beginning of the next agricultural season. The United Arab Republic authorities had made space available to displaced persons in these villages although this would interfere with the scheduled agricultural development in the area.
175. UNRWA, in agreement with the United Arab Republic Government, undertook to make food supplies available to the 5,000 Palestinian refugees from Gaza, and to contribute towards the provision of medical and sanitation services.
176. In addition, the World Food Programme was arranging for a programme of food assistance and the Pontifical Mission was planning a distribution of blankets, cooking stoves and clothing.
Return of displaced persons
177. In Its resolution 257 (1967) the Security Council called upon the Government of Israel to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who had fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities.
178. The Special Representative devoted much of his time in the area to discussing this problem with the Government of Israel, the Governments of Jordan, Syria and the United Arab Republic, as well as the United Nations agencies and other international organizations. The information obtained by the Special Representative on this subject is set forth below.
(a) Displaced persons in Syria
179. The problem concerning the return of displaced persons was quite different in Syria from what it was in Jordan, for instance. The long-standing and Intense antagonism between Syria and Israel permeated discussions on every issue and at any level. Moreover, the occupied area of Syria was now virtually empty and under military administration, so that there was no civilian organization to take care of the arrangements for the reception of displaced, persons in the case of their return, or to keep the issue alive by its sheer presence and activity.
180. During his discussions with displaced persons, the Special Representative found them divided on their desire to return. Some wanted immediate return, whether Israel continued to control the area or not. Others insisted on the prior condition of complete liberation of the territory from Israel occupation.
181. In their first discussions with the Special Representative, the Syrian authorities indicated their willingness to allow displaced persons to return to the area under Israel occupation. They designated two possible channels for discussion on the return of displaced persons: the ICRC and UNTSO. Later discussions indicated that the Syrian Government in fact strongly desired the immediate return of the displaced persons to their homes.
182. The Israel Government informed the Special Representative of its official attitude to the return of displaced persons to the occupied area in the following terms, applicable to both Syria and the United Arab Republic:
"Israel and Jordan have reached agreement for the return of residents to the West Bank. When talks are initiated with Syria and Egypt the Israel Government will be prepared to discuss with them any outstanding issues including the return of civilians who have left the territories under Israel control".
l83. On the last visit of the Special Representative to Damascus on 29-50 August, the question of the return of displaced persons to the occupied area became the main topic of discussion. The Syrian Government advocated an intervention by the United Nations to negotiate such a return. Pointing out the agreement reached with the Government of Jordan on this subject, the Special Representative stressed that the Israel Government had not refused the return of displaced persons but had left the door open for discussions. Since the Government of Syria was not willing to enter into direct negotiations with Israel, and since the Special Representative was about to leave the area, he drew their attention to the possibility of pursuing this matter through the ICRC, which had acted with success as an intermediary between Israel and Jordan on the matter of the return of displaced persons.
184. In .this connexion it should be mentioned that a return of the displaced persons in Syria would be a much more complicated and difficult operation than the return of the residents to the West Bank, since the occupied areas in Syria were almost completely abandoned and had been so for a considerable period. More detailed and thorough planning would therefore be necessary, including the reconstruction of whole villages, as well as a major relief and rehabilitation programme.
(b) Displaced persons in Jordan
185. In early July the Government of Israel announced its intention of authorizing the return of displaced persons to the West Bank on certain conditions. In order to obtain the authorization to return, each head of family was to fill in an application form for himself and his family, and submit it with adequate Identity documents. The date of 10 August 1967 was set as the deadline for the return.
186. Agreement was reached between the Israel and Jordan Governments through the ICBC acting as Intermediary on a draft text for the application forms and the Israel Government undertook to print them. The forms as first printed carried a heading reading "State of Israel; Ministry of the Interior".
187. When the first batch of several thousand application forms with this heeding was transmitted to the Jordan Government on 17 July, it returned them four days later as unacceptable. An Israel Government spokesman later explained to the Special Representative that the printing of official documents with this heading by the Israel State Printing Office was such a routine matter that in this case the heading was included in the application forms without prior explicit instructions from the Government authority concerned. All subsequent efforts to persuade the Israel Government to delete the heading or to accept the insignia of the Red Cross instead proved unavailing. Israel spokesmen accused the Government of Jordan of having unnecessarily made a political issue of what they considered a rather unimportant formality.
188. Meanwhile, the Israel Government insisted that in order to settle the many practical arrangements concerning the return of the displaced persons, direct contact with the Jordan representatives was essential. On 6 August, during a meeting at the Allenby Bridge, in which representatives of the Israel Government, the ICRC, and the Jordan Red Crescent participated, it was agreed to adopt a heading on the application forms mentioning the ICRC in the centre, the State of Israel on the left side and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the right. In addition, a number of other problems were discussed, in particular, the question of the deadline for return set by the Israel Government. It was agreed that the new forms would be printed In Israel and transmitted by the ICRC to the Jordanian authorities, who would distribute them to the displaced persons. The distribution of the application forms began on 12 August. Subsequently, the Israel Government agreed to postpone the deadline for the return operation until 51 August.
189. On 18 July, before this operation began, some fifty families had already returned to the West Bank, following an Israel Government decision to allow the return of special hardship cases on that date.
190. After agreement on the application forms had been reached, information was received from the Jordan Government that it had transmitted through the ICRC about 40,000 applications, involving some 170,000 persona. According to the Jordanian authorities, the Israel Government approved, during the period of 15 through 28 August, only 4,765 applications, covering 16,266 persons. The first displaced persons under this scheme crossed the Jordan river on 18 August. On 9 September, the total number of those who had returned was given by Jordanian sources as 14,150 persons and by Israel sources as 14,056.
191. Later, the Israel Government claimed that "for reasons never satisfactorily explained by the Government of Jordan, the Jordanian authorities did not make full use of the permits issued, and only 60 per cent of the displaced persons who had been authorized to return did actually show up at the crossing points". It further claimed that it had opened two bridges across the Jordan river to receive returnees at the rate of 5,000 a day.
192. The Jordan Government asserted that the procedure insisted upon by the occupying authority had proved to be an impediment to a smooth functioning of the return operation, and mentioned in this connexion that only a fraction of the forms submitted had been approved and that only short notice, often of less than twelve hours, had been given of this approval on a day-to-day basis. The lists of approved cases submitted daily by the Israel authorities were said to cover, in a single document, refugees accommodated in several localities and camps, who then had to be contacted and transported to the crossing points over the Jordan river within a few hours.
193. The Jordan Government also complained that the Israel authorities sometimes approved the return of some members of one family while denying its approval to other members of the same family. Moreover, displaced persons were not allowed to bring with them all their personal belongings, such as their cars. These factors had had, according to the Jordanian authorities, a negative effect on the desire of displaced persons to return.
194. Finally, the Jordan Government claimed that the approvals given by the Israel authorities excluded UNRWA-registered refugees and those displaced persons accommodated in emergency camps on the East Bank as well as displaced persons originating from the areas of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Jericho. These restrictions had made the organization and administration of the operation extremely difficult for the Jordanian authorities and this was the main reason why many displaced persons authorized to return did not actually appear at the crossing points.
195. The Jordan Government expressed through many channels its insistence on the inalienable right of every displaced person to return to his home and on the necessity of extending the deadline beyond 51 August.
196. The Special Representative considered that, even without the many initial difficulties which were bound to arise during such an extensive and delicate operation, the deadline set by the Israel Government could not have allowed the return of all those who wished to do so. Even if the potential dally rate of 5,000 returnees mentioned by Israel had been reached every day during the period of 18 through 51 August, only some 55,000 displaced persons could have returned.
197. In a letter to the Secretary-General dated 16 August, the Israel Government asserted that while it was directing its efforts to alleviating the consequences of the hostilities in order to bring back normalcy and to restore peaceful conditions, including the return of displaced persons to their former homes, the Government of Jordan was conducting a campaign of increasing violence, vituperation and direct incitement, both of the prospective returnees and of the Arabs in Israel-controlled territories.
198. The Israel authorities repeated these allegations to the Special Representative during his stay in Israel and claimed that the alleged attitude of the Jordan Government seriously impeded the whole question of the return of the displaced persons. After a short visit to Amman, the Special Representative brought to the Israel Government the assurance that the Jordan Government wished, to proceed with the return operation in an atmosphere of restraint and in accordance with humanitarian principles.
199. In a note dated 24 August addressed to the Permanent Representative of Israel, (see A/6789, S/8155), the Secretary-General requested the Government of Israel to extend the deadline for the return of displaced persons beyond the date of 51 August. In a reply dated 11 September (see A/6795, S/8155), the Permanent Representative of Israel informed the Secretary-General that the Government of Israel had decided:
(a) To allow former West Bank residents holding previously issued permits who were unable to make use of them before 51 August to return to their former homes within a fixed period of time. Arrangements to this effect were being made.
(b) To authorize the Israel authorities to accept applications from residents of the West Bank for the reunion of their families. Such applications would be reviewed in each case by the Israel authorities with sympathetic consideration.
(c) To study individual applications based on conditions of special hardship.
(d) To discuss with UNRWA representatives in Israel ways by which Israel might contribute to a solution of the urgent problem arising from the adverse physical conditions in the camps now occupied by those who were previously UNRWA refugees, particularly in the Jericho camps. It would be noted that the category of displaced persons referred to under point (a) above would include 4,086 persons according to Jordanian estimates and 6,602 persons according to Israel estimates.
(c) Displaced persons in the United Arab Republic
200. The displaced persons whom the Special Representative met during his visit to the United Arab Republic all expressed their desire to return to their homes. The governor of the Liberation Province stated that upon their arrival in the land reclamation project he had offered free plots of land to some displaced persons but that they had refused, insisting on their desire to return to their areas of origin. It may be noted in this connexion that some of these displaced persons, particularly bedouin families from the Sinai peninsula, had no agricultural experience.
201. The official position of the Israel Government concerning the return of displaced persons from the United Arab Republic is similar to that concerning displaced persons in Syria and has been set forth earlier in this report (see paragraph 182).
202. The Government of the United Arab Republic, in its second round of talks with the Special Representative on 26 August, held the view that discussions concerning the return of displaced persons should be initiated by the Special Representative in pursuance of Security Council resolution 237 (1967), while the ICRC might assume responsibility for the practical implementation of any agreement reached on this subject.
IV. TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR
203. In paragraph 2 of its resolution 237 (1967), the Security Council recommended to the Governments concerned the scrupulous respect of the humanitarian principles governing the treatment of prisoners of war contained in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.
204. Under the Geneva Conventions it is incumbent on the ICRC to work for the faithful application of these conventions and to take cognizance of complaints regarding alleged breaches of the conventions and to endeavour to ensure the protection of and assistance to prisoners of war. Consequently the Special Representative kept in close contact on this question with the ICRC headquarters in Geneva, with the Regional Representative of the ICRC stationed in Cyprus as well as with its representatives in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the United Arab Republic and had ample opportunity to appreciate the untiring efforts of these officers in pursuing their delicate mission.
205. In this connexion it should be stressed that the ICRC had, in view of the increasing tensions in the Near East, already sent representatives about ten days before the outbreak of hostilities to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus and Tel Aviv, and that this organization was therefore on the spot from the very beginning of the conflict and has been there ever since to verify the application of the Geneva Conventions. On the whole the ICRC has, as far as is known to the Special Representative, been able to play in the area of conflict its important role as agent and neutral intermediary.
206. Jordan, Syria, and the United Arab Republic, in letters to the Secretary-General of the United Nations accused Israel of inhuman acts against, and maltreatment of, prisoners, of war from their countries and also of executions of prisoners of war. Israel denied these allegations in letters addressed to the Secretary-General. It also expressed grave concern over the treatment and conditions of the Israel prisoners of war in the Arab countries, alleging that public lynching of Israel pilots had taken place in the United Arab Republic and that of two Israel pilots brought down over Syrian territory during the war, one had been murdered and the other mutilated.
207. The Special Representative was not in a position to investigate any of the above accusations, which referred, to events alleged to have taken place well before his arrival in the area, but he paid a visit to the remaining,prisoner-of-war camps in Israel and the United Arab Republic and gathered the impression that the treatment of prisoners was correct on both sides. The contact between the prisoners of war and their families had been established, after some initial difficulties, through the ICRC and on both sides they had received mail and parcels, all of which had helped to bolster the morale of the prisoners, who were extremely unhappy about the slow pace of the negotiations concerning their exchange.
208. An exchange of prisoners of war had been successfully concluded through the ICRC between Israel on one side and Jordan, Syria and Lebanon on the other. Negotiations between Israel and the United Arab Republic concerning an exchange were continuing through the intermediary of the ICRC but had apparently not yet led to any agreement.
209. Israel stated that it had returned some 200 wounded prisoners of war to the United Arab Republic, and immediately after the cease-fire had carried out an extensive operation, in which the ICRC also took part, aimed at tracing and assembling those United Arab Republic soldiers who were scattered all over Sinai and in great distress. According to Israel sources, some 12,000 soldiers were allowed to return to their country and were not taken prisoner.
V. THE QUESTION OF THE TREATMENT OF MINORITIES
210. In paragraph 2 of its resolution 237 (1967), the Security Council recommended to the Governments concerned the scrupulous respect of the humanitarian principles governing the protection of civilian persons in time of war contained in the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949.
211. Certain information concerning the safety, welfare and security of the civilian population in or from Arab territories at present under Israel control and the situation of the prisoners of war is presented in other chapters of this report.
212. Since the outbreak of the recent hostilities, Israel has expressed concern about the treatment of Jewish minorities, particularly in certain Arab States. Upon his arrival, the Special Representative was approached on this subject by the Israel Government. The Special Representative, not being sure whether this particular humanitarian problem should be inquired into under his terms of reference, consulted the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General informed him that the provisions of Security Council resolution 237 (1967) might properly be interpreted as having application to the treatment, at the time of the recent war and as a result of that war, of both Arab and Jewish persons in the States which are directly concerned because of their participation in that war.
213. Since this particular aspect of the protection of civilian persons in time of war could be taken up only towards the end of his stay in the area of conflict, the Special Representative had very little time for discussion or investigation of the actual situation of minorities.
214. On 17 August, i.e. shortly before his return to New York, the Special Representative requested in writing, the Governments of Israel, Syria and the United Arab Republic, information on the treatment and protection of Jewish persons in Syria and the United Arab Republic and of Arab persons in Israel. He stressed that it would be particularly helpful for him to know how the personal and property rights of such persons had been affected by the recent war, how many of them might have been and continued to be confined and for what reason, and whether they were free to leave the country in which they were resident.
215. The Government of Israel, in a letter dated 27 August, informed the Special Representative that, according to Special Emergency Defence Regulations, forty-five Arab citizens considered as security risks had been placed in detention on the outbreak of the war. Most of these had been released by 18 June and the others twelve days later. Moreover, a curfew from 1900 hours to 0500 hours had been ordered in one or two areas contiguous with Israel's border with Arab territory, and for exit from those areas a special permit had been required. All these precautions had, however, been rescinded on 21 June.
216. Except for the above security measures, there had been, according to the Israel Government, no discrimination against Arab citizens: their property rights had been fully upheld and respected and they were at liberty to leave the country whenever they so wished.
217. For reasons explained above, the Special Representative was not able to look into this particular problem extensively while visiting Israel. In Arab countries, the Special Representative heard allegations that the Arabs in Israel were looked upon and treated as second class citizens. Against this, the Israel Government maintained that the Arab citizens of Israel, in peace-time or in war, were treated in the same way as the rest of the population and that there was no discrimination against them.
2l8. During his last visit to Cairo, the Special Representative raised the question of the Jewish minority in the United Arab Republic with the United Arab Republic Government, which had just received his letter on this subject. The United Arab Republic Government expressed the firm opinion that the Security Council resolution did not apply to the Jewish minority in the United Arab Republic and requested clarification on this interpretation before replying to the letter of the Special Representative. The United Arab Republic Government pointed out in this connexion that the Jewish minority in the United Arab Republic consisted of three categories. First, those of foreign nationality or origin, for example, French and Italian citizens, who were looked after by the ambassadors of their countries of origin. Some of this group had left the country already. Secondly, the stateless Jews. These were under the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who has an office in Cairo. Thirdly, Jews of Egyptian nationality. These were, so it was maintained, solely the responsibility of the United Arab Republic Government.
219. The Special Representative indicated that there were persistent allegations that 500 to 600 Jewish men (the Jewish minority in the United Arab Republic is estimated at about 2,500 persons) had been kept in detention since the beginning of the war, and held incommunicado, although allowed to correspond by letter with their families and to receive relief assistance, and moreover that the property of the Jews in Cairo had been confiscated.
220. The Secretary-General also took up this question with the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Republic in New York and received essentially the same response as the Special Representative. The Secretary-General raised this question also with the Permanent Representative of Israel, who assured the Secretary-General that if his Special Representative approached the Government of Israel on the matter, he would find the Government responsive.
221. During his last visit to Damascus on 29-30 August 1967, the question raised by the Special Representative in his letter to the Syrian Government on the Jewish minority in Syria was discussed at some length. Pending a written answer to this letter, the Government explained that they welcomed the chance to assure the Special Representative that the Jewish minority in Syria, numbering about 4,000 and mainly concentrated in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo and Kamishli, was treated in exactly the same way as other Syrian citizens. As among the Christian and Moslem population, there were among the Jews certain individuals who were under suspicion for anti-Government activities and were therefore restricted in their movements for security reasons. Otherwise they had the same freedom of movement and of work as other Syrian nationals.
222. The Special Representative was invited to visit some Jewish shops, and during a tour of the shopping district of Damascus in the company of officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the Interior he saw a number of Jewish shops which all seemed to be working normally.
VI. CONCLUDING REMARKS
223. This report gives a wide-ranging impression, which clearly could not be exhaustive, of the problems, the sufferings and the condition of the peoples in the areas of the Near East affected by the hostilities of last June. This tragic human aftermath of war is a world- wide responsibility and must touch us all.
224. The report leaves no room for doubt about the grave hardships which the peoples affected have undergone, and it is clear that in many places hardship and distress on a large scale continue. I hope very much that the Governments concerned will find it possible to divorce the purely humanitarian aspects of the situation in the Near East from the political and military aspects, so that measures to relieve the suffering of the innocent civilians involved can be taken with humanitarian considerations mainly in mind. It would be doubly tragic if the victims of the war should continue to be victims of the animosities and tensions of the parties to the conflict and if efforts to alleviate their sufferings were rendered ineffective by any spirit of retaliation or vindictiveness. It is clear from the report that the Governments concerned have themselves exerted efforts to help the people affected by the war. I very much hope that, pending some more basic settlement, these efforts can go forward and be increased. UNRWA's efforts also have now become more indispensable than ever, and I hope that co-operation with UNRWA in the area itself as well as support for it from outside will be commensurate with the new challenges which UNRWA now has to face.
225. I wish to express ray appreciation to all the Governments that have made voluntary contributions of one kind or another to aid the distressed peoples of the Near East. Many of these voluntary contributions are set forth in detail in document A/6792 and Add.l. I would also like to record my appreciation and admiration to the many voluntary and national agencies which have given practical succour to the afflicted peoples of the Near East in this tragic time. In expressing these sentiments, I feel it my duty to point out that the onset of winter will greatly increase the sufferings of many and that more assistance of almost all kinds is still urgently required. I appeal to all Governments, and to voluntary agencies as well, to continue to contribute to the humanitarian task which faces the international community in the Near East.
Itinerary of the Mission of the Special Representative
(11 July - 1 September 1967)
|11 July||Arrival at Beirut "by air from New York.|
|16 July||Beirut - Damascus by car.|
|17-18 July||Visits to refugee camps in and around. Damascus.|
|18 July||Damascus - Amman Toy car.|
|20 July||Visits to refugee camps in the Jordan Valley close to Allenby Bridge, Karameh, Salt and a new camp in the desert north of Amman.|
|20 July||Amman - Beirut by air.|
|23 July||Beirut - Jerusalem via Tel Aviv by car.|
|24 July||Jerusalem - Nablus - Jerusalem by car. Visit to the Old city of Jerusalem. Visit to camps at Kalandia and Amara.|
|25 July||Jerusalem - Tel Aviv - Jerusalem by helicopter. Visit to FOW camps at Atllt.|
|26 July||Jerusalem - Tel Aviv by car.|
Tel Aviv - Nicosia by air.
Meeting with the Chief Delegate of ICRC in Nicosia.
|27 July||Nicosia - Cairo by air.|
|28 July||Cairo - Liberation Province (north-west of Cairo) - Cairo by car.|
Visit to refugee camps.
|29 July||Cairo - Beirut by air.|
|4 August||Beirut - Amman by air. Amman - Jerusalem via Allenby Bridge by car.|
|6 August||Jerusalem - Safad by air.|
|8 August||Safad - Kuneitra - Majd-el-Shams - Safad via Banyas and Tel Azzazlat by car.|
|9 August||Safad - Jerusalem via the kibbutzim of Lehavot Habashan, Gadot and Tel Katzir by car.|
|11 August||Jerusalem - Hebron - Beitaua - Bethlehem - Jerusalem by car.|
Aide-memoire submitted to the Special Representative
by the Jordanian authorities
1. At the meeting held today in the office of the Prime Minister in Amman attended "by Mr. Gussing and his aides on the one hand, and members of the Ministerial Committee for Refugees' Affairs on the other, a complete review -was made of the background, causes and development of the refugee problem Involving about 215,000 Jordanian nationals who were displaced from their camps, villages and towns on the West Bank of Jordan.
The review included also measures taken by the Jordanian authorities in collaboration with UNRWA and with the help of sister and other friendly countries to provide whatever measure of relief was possible and practicable under very different circumstances of influx of large numbers of refugees during the Israeli aggression and directly thereafter with very limited supplies of tentage, blankets, foodstuffs and medicines at the disposal of the authorities.
2. The Jordanian Government hastened to set up a Ministerial Committee composed of the Ministers of Finance, National Economy, Education, Social Welfare, Health and Reconstruction and Development as well as the Director of Public Security and the President of the Jordan Red Crescent Society. This group was to be joined at a later stage by two representatives of the private sector and the Governor of Amman. This Committee organized relief work and controlled all stocks of contributions in kind on receipt and distribution. It also conducted through sixty-two centres throughout the East Bank which were managed by committees consisting of civil servants and UNRWA officials, a registration of those refugees who were mainly housed in schools, social centres, public buildings and mosques, living in a very unhygenic manner, mixed up in a socially unacceptable manner and overcrowded with very poor nutrition especially for children. The registration date set for 1 July 1967 was announced ahead of time to all, but particularly for the purpose of those who were not in such public buildings but had stayed with other refugees in camps around Amman, Zerka and Irbed or had no shelter at all, and stayed in the open fields. The forms they filled in triplicate (copies presented at meeting) contained many details about the family whose head filled the form after being cautioned against untruthful statements. It contained items relating to previous registration card with UNRWA, place of residence and such other relevant information. Once the registration was completed, the refugees were taken to the eleven camps set up by the Government, in respect of six of which UNRWA had accepted to take managerial and maintenance responsibility. These camps were located at: Souf, Zezia, Wadi Dhuleil, M'an, Tafeeleh, Kerak (on the highlands), and Karameh, Shuneh, M'adi, Deir Alla and El-Yabis (in the Jordan Valley). Those camps that were not taken by UNRWA were managed by the Government with help in certain respects from UNRWA.
The result of the registration showed a total of 177,165 refugees but dit not include a large number who were not registered. The number registered is estimated to be 70 per cent of the total number of refugees and displaced persons.
3. It can hardly be said that, in spite of all the efforts on the part of both the Government and UNRWA, the general conditions of the refugees was in any manner or description satisfactory. It is true to say, however, that their problem continued to be humanitarian, social and political of an undefinable magnitude. The Jordan government had noted with satisfaction the Security Council's resolution No. 237 adopted at its 1361st meeting on 14 June 1967, and had on more than one occasion made appeals to the Secretary-General to ensure the implementation of said resolution:
A. With respect to total or major destruction by the Israel attacking forces, whether during combat or after the cease fire, of many Jordanian towns and villages on the West Bank of Jordan including but not limited to: Kalkilya, Beir Nuba, Imwas, Yalu, Beit Aou, Nuba, Khares, Idna, Soureef as well as the Magharbeh Quarter and inhabitants of these places, turning them into helpless refugees and displaced persons. A visit by Mr. Gussing to these places is most important to establish the facts with regard to the damage caused by Israeli forces.
B. With respect to returning the refugees who have fled from the West Bank of Jordan since the outbreak of hostilities to their homes, camps, towns and villages.
4. The UNRWA COMMISSIONER GENERAL put out his report on "HUMANITARIAN ASPECTS OF THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST" on 18 June 1967 and his second report on 4 July, which has since been issued as a United Nations General Assembly and Security Council document. Both of these reports showed clearly the pitiful condition in which the peaceful inhabitants of the West Bank of Jordan had found themselves and in some cases becoming "refugees square" for the second time, since 1948.
5. The Government of Jordan has consistently maintained that the West Bank of Jordan, which was under temporary and forcible military occupation by the Israeli army, was an inseparable part of the territory of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and that the right of those who have been displaced from their lands and homes to return thereto and to maintain possession and ownership thereof was an established and inalienable right. It appealed to the inhabitants of the West Bank still resident there to stay in their homes and lands, and made continued appeals to the United Nations for the return of the refugees who moved from the West Bank or who have been displaced therefrom.
On 5 July and after the Israeli announcement of 2 July, the Jordan Government reiterated its stand as above described and conveyed it again officially to the Secretary-General through the Jordan Permanent Delegate at the United Nations.
Then followed the General Assembly's resolution on Humanitarian Assistance adopted on 4 July, which welcomed with great satisfaction the Security Council's resolution 237 (1967) of l4 June.
6. Cables were exchanged between the International Committee for the Bed Cross and the Jordan Government between 5 and 7 July regarding setting up two pedestrian and two transport bridges on the River Jordan for the purposes of returning refugees and displaced persons. The Jordan Government gave all the approvals required on very practical and reasonable conditions.
7. Continued consultations were maintained by the Jordan Government with the Commissioner General, Deputy Commissioner General and the Representative in Jordan of UNRWA for the purpose of administering relief to UNRWA registered refugees who moved to the East Bank from the West Bank of Jordan, as well as to other displaced persons. The Government also paid a great deal of attention in said discussions to:
A. Deteriorating conditions of inhabitants of the West Bank of Jordan, where the economy has been paralysed, a shortage of food approaching hunger was becoming a threat, means of transportation were confiscated by the occupying forces, and there is no circulation of money due to confiscation by occupying forces of cash on hand at the Jordanian banks who were closed for business by these forces.
B. Return of the refugees and other displaced persons who moved from the West Bank of Jordan during and as a result of the hostilities.
Similar contact was being maintained with the President of the International Committee for the Bed Cross, the League of Bed Cross Societies and the Red Cross delegates in Jordan. A meeting was held by top Government officials and the President on 15 July in Amman.
8. The Jordanian stand has always been very clear:
A, The West Bank has been and continued to be an inseparable part of the land and territory of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan inhabited by citizens of the Kingdom.
B, The right of the refugees and other displaced persons to return to their homes and lands in the West Bank of Jordan was sacred, undisputable and inalienable. It is a right that stands no condition and should not be subject to any.
C. The return of the refugees and other displaced persons in exercise of the right above mentioned should be under the supervision of the ICRC and any request for such return by the families should be made to the ICRC, who is fully empowered by the Jordan Government to satisfy itself of the identity and place of residence on the West Bank of the refugees and displaced persons in addition to verification of any other Information regarding any of the refugees. The Government is willing to facilitate the work of the Red Cross to the utmost.
D. The occupying forces should return to their rightful owners all properties confiscated whether in the form of transport vehicles, other material assets and all monies confiscated unlawfully and forcefully from Jordanian banks in the West Bank of Jordan which amounted to about JD 600,COO.
E. As very few refugees have ever had an Identity card issued them and even fewer were able to bring with them any identification papers in the very difficult circumstances of their influx and flight from the West Bank, it was proposed to the Red Cross:
(i) The forms customarily used by the Red Cross for such repatriation operations are acceptable to the Jordan Government. This is a humanitarian operation and should not form a part of any political involvement.
(ii) To have UNRWA issue certificates for those who have been UNRWA registered refugees in the West Bank and who had received UNRWA rations in May 1967, and were eligible for such rations in May 1967, and were eligible for such rations on 5 June 1967.
(iii) To accept the 1 July registration form filled and certified as stated in paragraph 2 above as adequate evidence of the status and place of residence of persons other than UNRWA registered refugees in respect of whom UNRWA certificates would be issued as In (ii) above.
F. The Jordan Government would like to provide the returning refugees with some food-stuffs and some cash for their livelihood and this should be facilitated by the Israel Authorities.
G. The Jordan Government has arranged with UNRWA for administering relief assistance to the returning refugees en route to their camps and at their camps after return thereto. Also an international appeal has been made through the Red Cross for urgent relief assistance to other Inhabitants of the West Bank who live under very difficult economic, political and social conditions.
H. The Jordan Government is attempting at making some suitable arrangements for the reopening of Jordanian banks on the West Bank under the auspices of the DIP in order to serve Jordanians in rehabilitating economic activities on the West Bank pending withdrawal of the occupying forces from Jordanian territory.
Aide-memoire prepared, by the Jordanian authorities
concerning talks held with the Special Representative
by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of
National Economy of Jordan, in Amman, on 5 August 1967
1. This meeting took place at the office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs at 10.15 a.m., and was followed, by another meeting between Mr. Gussing and the Prime Minister.
Mr. Gussing was desirous of reviewing developments that have.taken place since his last visit to Amman which ended on 19 July, and stated that he Intended to go over to the occupied territory on Sunday, 6 August, for a more extensive visit.
2. The viewpoint of the Jordan Government was stated as follows:
A. The Government is still desirous of repatriation of the refugees and other displaced persons who have moved over to the East Bank from the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during, since and because of the Israeli aggression of June 1967.
The Government has done all it could to have this humanitarian operation successfully effected, including authorizing the Jordanian Red Crescent Society and the International Committee for the Red Cross to take all measures and steps. in accordance with their conventions and principles of International Law (with special relation to inhabitants of occupied territories), to return the refugees and displaced persons to their homes, towns, villages and camps on the West Bank, presently under temporary military occupation.
The Government, therefore, hoped that Mr. Gussing will continue his efforts to achieve this end in fulfilment of the Security Council's resolution of 14 June 1967 (No. 237/1561). The Government being ready to facilitate his work, affirms its previous stand in welcoming Mr. Gussing to visit any part of the country and to meet whomever he finds necessary to meet and talk to, but it feels it is only proper not to allow such rightful return to Jordanian territory by the refugees and displaced persons who are all citizens of the Kingdom, nor such a humanitarian operation to form part of any political involvement.
Equally, the Government of Jordan felt that it was most essential for Mr. Gussing to be given the freedom and opportunity to visit all places and to meet all people in the West Bank of Jordan whom he deems would contribute towards better enabling him to report more fully to the Secretary-General regarding the situation on the West Bank and the conditions under which its Inhabitants are today living. This would particularly be true in the case of the towns and villages wholly or partially demolished by the occupying forces (paragraph 5 A, page 2 of the Aide Memoire dated 19 July). Equally Important would be the visit by Mr. Gussing to the detained personalities whose matter will be alluded to hereinafter.
It was promised that Mr. Gussing would be informed of the outcome of Jordan's discussions with the Red Cross as soon as possible. (Mr. Gussing was given a fuller and up to date briefing by the Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Refugees Affairs during the course of the evening.)
3. Mr. Gussing's attention was drawn to the unlawful detention and expulsion by the military forces in the occupied territory of leading Jordanian citizens in Jerusalem, some of whom are high Government officials, and other professional personalities.
The following have been detained and/or expelled to other parts of Palestine:
(i) Mr. Anwar Al-Khatib, Governor of Jerusalem.
(ii) Dr. Daoud Al-Husseini, one-time a Member of Parliament.
(iii) Mr. Ibrahim Bakr, an advocate and member of the Jordan Bar.
(iv) Mr. Abdul Muhsin abou Meizer, an advocate and member of the Jordan Bar.
The Government takes the firm stand that the action in respect of the above gentlemen is highly illegal, contrary to recognized principles of International Law and contravenes both The Hague Rules and the Civilian Convention of Geneva. It is, in addition, in direct conflict with paragraph 1 (a) of the Security Council resolution No. 237, whereby Israel was called upon "to insure the safety, welfare and security of the inhabitants of the area where military operations have taken place".
4. Mr. Gussing's attention was also drawn to the attempts by the military authorities in the Occupied Territory to require Jordanian teachers to fill forms by or "before 6 August 1967, which provide for a statement by the teacher filling such form to the effect that his "previous nationality was Jordanian" and "present nationality is Israeli". This is absolutely and flagrantly contrary to Rule 45 of The Hague Rules of 1967, whereby it has been forbidden to force the inhabitants of the Occupied Territory to swear allegiance to the occupying force.
5. The same treatment meted to the teachers has also been attempted at:
A. Judges of the courts of justice, who have been required to owe allegiance to the occupying forces, who have been required to sit in Ramallah while their normal area of jurisdiction under existing Jordanian laws is in Jerusalem, and whose "working conditions was being made so Impossible that they cannot exercise justice in accordance with the laws of the land.
B. Doctors and other professional people whose working conditions were being made impossible, especially in the case of doctors where the question of allegiance and extremely poor pay combine to cripple their most needed services to the inhabitants.
6. In addition, the Occupying forces have announced their Intention to change the curricula and teaching programmes at the schools in the West Bank of Jordan while it is also a recognized principle of International Law that schools and educational establishments must be permitted to continue their ordinary activities, and the occupant is bound to facilitate the proper -working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children. Kindly refer to article 50 of the Geneva Convention "The Civilian Convention" of 1949.
7. All the above being basic aspects of the welfare of the inhabitants of the West Bank, the Government "requests the intervention of Mr. Gussing, to seek an end to such unlawful measures", which might lead to injurious results harmful to the whole population of the West Bank of Jordan including Jerusalem.
8. The illegality of all actions taken by the occupying forces with regard to Jerusalem was also discussed. It was becoming very apparent that these forces were not getting any response or co-operation from the people of the city in respect of such illegal acts. On the other hand, such acts have prejudiced the safety and well-being of the inhabitants. Some attempts have been made at changing existing Jordanian laws, imposition of taxes and customs duties on goods coming into the city from other parts of the West Bank of Jordan, in addition to other arbitrary and illegal measures, with the result of causing extreme hardships, obstructing and disrupting the minimum of economic activities and causing unemployment.
It was requested, therefore, that such a situation should "receive the attention and care" of Mr. Gussing as touching on the welfare of the inhabitants. It will also be brought to the attention, at a later stage, of the United Nations Secretary-General's Personal Representative for Jerusalem.
Statement on the situation on the West Bank by an official
Jordanian spokesman, submitted to the Special Representative
by the Jordanian authorities
An official Jordanian spokesman announced, the following:
The occupying authorities broadcasted that they have carried out an economic survey on the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in which.they claimed that the Jordan Government has not invested in the West Bank except one third of total investments and that it adopted other economic discriminatory measures against Jordanian nationals in the West Bank.
The Jordan Government declares that all these claims constitute a clear distortion of facts and falsification of the simplest principles of economics and do not represent except cheap intrigue meant to create confusion and cover up for the enemy's responsibility for stagnating the economic conditions in the West Bank by various means and pressures so as to destroy economic, construction and touristic activities, thereby creating unemployment, decreasing output and income and throttling business activity.
The Jordan Government views and continues to view the Kingdom with its two Banks as constituting one entity from the political, economic and social aspects. On the basis of this principle it has formulated, financed and implemented plans to develop all of Jordan's human, natural and economic resources with the aim of raising living standards of its people wherever they are and without any discrimination whatsoever, with special emphasis on the development of all these resources in order to increase income and production and create additional employment opportunities without neglecting the development of social sectors such as health, education and social welfare. In addition, adequate attention has been given to road construction, public utilities and other social services which would support the development of productive sectors and strengthen its effectiveness.
As it is well known to International economic circles, Jordan has faced since 1948 tremendous obstacles consequent to the Israeli aggression which resulted in the influx of one million Palestinian refugees. This has led within few months to tripling the population of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan without a proportionate increase in the country's resources. Moreover it has necessitated complete rerouting of Jordan's trade and lines of communication. Notwithstanding all these problems, Jordan has, under the wise and dedicated leadership of H.M. King Hussein and efforts of its people, achieved rapid economic growth. Gross National Product has risen from JD 52 million in 1954 to JD 187 million in 1966 thereby raising per capita income from JD 57 in 1954 to JD 95 in 1966.
In spite of the non-stable conditions in the Middle East engendered by the continuous encroachments and acts of aggression by the Israeli forces of evil, the profound confidence of Jordanians in the growth and prospects of Jordan economy has been the major incentive underlying their participation in the development of the various sectors of the economy by Investing their savings which raised the proportion of capital formation to gross national product from 10 per cent in 195^+ to 16 per cent in 1966. The role which the Government exercised in this respect has contributed significantly towards strengthening this confidence through the maintenance of financial and monetary stability as well as the creation of close co-operation between the public and private sectors towards attaining the objectives of comprehensive development.
According to official statistics, the direct contribution of the West Bank amounted to 40 per cent of gross domestic product, and about $0 per cent of gross national product if the appropriate economic components were taken into consideration. This plainly refutes the figures given in the misleading report which was broadcasted by the occupying forces. Therefore per capita product in the West Bank is higher than was cited in the referenced report.
Moreover available data indicate clearly that investment by the private and public sectors was almost equal in both Banks. For example, investments in the West Bank of the Kingdom represented about 95 per cent of total investment in tourism, 60 per cent of private constructions, 52 per cent of Government buildings, 48 per cent of municipal and rural development schemes and 44 per cent of highways and roads.
The Government of Jordan has, through its financing agencies, provided necessary funds to develop the agricultural sector in the West Bank in accordance with a sound and well conceived plan. This led to the prosperity of this sector and expanded production whereby it produced 87 per cent of the country's production of olives, 80 per cent of fruits and 45 per cent of vegetables. This has been achieved in spite of the fact that the agricultural area of the West Bank does not exceed 28 per cent of the total cultivated area in the Kingdom.
The Government has also established and financed 239 co-operative societies in the West Bank our of a total of 464 societies in the kingdom. In addition investments have been made in irrigation, water supply, and electricity projects. The implementation of Jordan's electrification plan has been commenced and its aims at providing electric power to all villages in the Kingdom with population exceeding 2,000 inhabitants by 1970. Similarly work was underway on the expansion and improvement of the Jerusalem Airport and the construction of a modern highway connecting Jerusalem and Bethlehem. These two projects were planned to be completed this year had it not been for the Israeli aggression.
Industrial planning in Jordan, as is the case with other countries, is based on sound economic bases, and thus Jordan industries have been established in the various parts of the Kingdom in a way befitting the conditions of each industry and the attainment of its economic and technical feasibility so as to contribute to the development of the Kingdom as a whole giving equitable employment and ownership opportunities for all Jordanians.
There is no doubt that all attempts by the enemy to distort and spread confusion are doomed to failure particularly since all citizens in both banks are aware of the extent of the joint efforts by the Government and the public which were made and continue to be made in the various fields of economic and social development which have effectively contributed in raising living standards and income to all Jordanians.
Our citizens in the West Bank have experienced all means of enemy twisted propaganda which aims at diverting the attention of the people form the indisputable fact of the unity of Jordan soil and their deep faith in the national, social, economic and political ties which unite all Jordanians together in one family and with one goal in mind, namely, the invincibility of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its prosperity as an indivisible part of the Arab World.
First aide-memoire submitted to the Special
Representative by the Israel authorities on
the situation on the West Bank
Some characteristics of West Bank economy
The West Bank had almost half of Jordan's population (900.000 out of two million ) but it accounted for only one-third of the output. Average income in Transjordan was U.S $335 per person; in the West Bank only U.S. $216. One cause was the bias in investment policy, another the presence of refugees. Of U.S. $84 m. invested in 1966, two-thirds went to Transjordan, seat of all the country's sizeable industries, such as oil refining, cement and phosphates. On the other hand economic activity in the West Bank, concentrated on agriculture, supplying 12 per cent of Jordan's farm output, and on tourism.
The West Bank had only 22 per cent of Jordan's industry and 16 per cent of her transport. Total industry output in the West Bank equals two per cent of Israel's production.
Several steps have been taken in order to provide wider employment to local labour. The Public Works Department was instructed to follow the same work methods as in the past. A large number of labourers (500) have been engaged by the authorities to work on road repairs on the Nablus-Ramallah and Megiddo-Jenin roads. Another 300 are working on road repairs in the Ramallah and Jericho areas 130 workers have been employed in the same areas in afforestation and irrigation. Street repair work is conducted in Jenin. The Nablus municipality received a loan from the Israel authorities for current public works and the road leading to Mount Gerizim will be widened. The road from Tul Kaream will be repaved. 18 large public buildings the construction of which was interrupted by the outbreak of war, will now be completed, mainly in order to provide employment. The Public Works Department is resuming work on projects which employ 15,000 persons.
The Ministry of Labour is setting up vocational training centres for unskilled adults. "Ort" is preparing to open 4 vocational schools in the West Bank.
Agricultural institutions operating before 5 June have been reopened and are manned largely by the original staff. Also operating are Government research stations, plant nurseries, offices of afforestation, veterinary supervision centers. The next agricultural season is being planned with a view to avoiding surpluses. Commercial marketing of agricultural production has been organized in order to solve the problem of agricultural surpluses it has been agreed that they would be used in Israeli processing plants. In the field of agricultural exportation a trial shipment of plums from Hebron was air-freighted by E1-A1 to West Europe.
The Nablus factory producing special oil used in Arab cuisine has reopened. It employs 150 workers. The local match factory is operating again.
Branch offices of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will be opened in the major towns of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights to help local businessmen. A senior Ministry official has been appointed to coordinate commercial and industrial activities in these areas.
Trade will be permitted between the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Plateau.
The Post Office in Jenin was reopened, bringing up the number of post offices that have resumed work on the West Bank to six in Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho, Nablus and Tulkarm. Distribution of mail in all villages has been arranged.
A survey has been carried out of electricity supply. Damaged lines and wires have been repaired. The whole Western Bank electricity network is operating except for the Jericho high voltage line scheduled for reopening on 15.8.67. At present Jericho gets its electricity supply from a local generator.
Thorough water supply system surveys were carried out. Existing installations are operating and those under constructions are being completed.
Hospitals and clinics are functioning normally. The 1,700 beds that were at the disposal of the local population are used as before. Health and sanitary conditions are satisfactory. This results in low occupancy of hospitals. In special cases, where local facilities cannot supply adequate medical treatment, patients are transferred to Israeli hospitals.
The Israel authorities assist in the operation of 8 governmental hospitals, 6 health clinics and a central laboratory. A blood supply was arranged for urgent cases, and preparations are" under way for the establishment of a Blood Bank.
Vaccinations against epidemics are carried out in cooperation with UNRWA.
The local staff of public health organizations, which amounts to 700 persons, receives wages from the Israel Ministry of, Health.
A special commission under the chairmanship of a deputy director of the Ministry of Health was appointed for the purpose of planning preventive medicine, public health and sanitation.
The Israel Medical Association has announced that it is ready to admit to its membership all medical institutions and personnel within areas now under Israel control. It has also announced that Israel doctors would extend to these areas all necessary assistance to solve their health problems.
Registration of educational staff was completed as schools are scheduled to open on 1.9.67 after the end of the summer holiday. 4.575 teachers are being paid their salaries by the authorities.
The number of school children in the West Bank is about 180.000 of whom 130.000 attend governmental schools ; 42.000 are in UNRWA schools and the rest in private institutions.
The Israel authorities have set up a special budget for repair of schools damaged during the war.
3 district welfare officers operate in Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus granting allowances to individuals and supporting various welfare organizations. Also operating are 8 welfare institutions, 9 juvenile deliquency institutions, a home for aged, for the blind and one for homeless children.
150 persons are employed in the above-mentioned institutions.
The Egged Transport Company has opened recently a new bus route from Gaza to the West Bank, via Beer-Sheba. Buses will ply the route twice daily with stops at Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and other West Bank towns.
8 Moslem religious courts are functioning. The staff (40) is being paid by the Israel authorities.
Protection of the Holy Places
The Ministry of Police is about to set up a "Holy Places guard" consisting of 48 unarmed watchmen of various denominations, with full police authority. The Ministry of Religious Affairs is helping the Moslem religious trusts in East Jerusalem to repair the few mosques that were damaged during the fighting. The Egyptian architect supervising the restoration work at the Dome of the Bock at the El Aksa Mosque, Mr. Abdul Moneim Abd-el-Wahab, is back at work.
Civil courts have resumed their work in Nablus on 3 July, They are adjucating under Jordanian law.
Second, aide-memoire submitted, to the Special
Representative 'by the Israel authorities on
the situation on the West Bank
Israel's policy in the areas under its control is guided by the following principles :
a. Speedy restoration of normal civilian life in all its aspects;
b. Continued functioning of existing local authorities;
c. Return of West Bank inhabitants who fled following the outbreak of hostilities;
d. Co-operation with UNRWA, the International Red Cross and welfare organizations operating in the areas;
e. Study of possibilities of solving the refugee problem;
f. Buttressing the economic fabric of the towns and the countryside.
THE WEST BANK
The effects of the hostilities
The fighting was brief. Consequently, physical damage and casualties were limited. Nevertheless, by the time cease-fire between Israel and Jordan was established, life on the West Bank was seriously disrupted. During the fighting, considerable numbers of inhabitants crossed the Jordan River eastwards. In many cases they were motivated by fear; but the main impulse was economic: the desire to ensure the continued receipt of money transfers from relatives in other Arab States or of salary payments by the Jordanian Government. Many of those who left the West Bank were registered with UNRWA as refugees. The certainty that they would continue to receive UNRWA assistance served as encouragement.
As a result of the hostilities there was a general breakdown of public administration. Many of the Government and municipal officials crossed to the East Bank during and after the fighting. Frequently they took with them the public funds in their charge. The shortage of funds was further accentuated by the fact that banks were found to have a liquidity of less than ten per cent. The remainder was usually held at the head offices in Amman. Furthermore, such services as electricity and telephone communications were seriously damaged during the fighting.
A number of measures of an administrative and economic nature have been adopted with a view to restoring normal life.
Municipalities and local councils
Shortly after the cessation of hostilities, all municipal and local councils were urged to pursue their activities as usual. They are now in the course of preparing ordinary and long-term budgets. Advances on municipal budgets have already been made by the Israel authorities. These advances, paid in Jordanian dinars, are intended for salary disbursements and other routine expenses. The salaries of all municipal employees are paid regularly. This applies also to most of the former Government officials, including all teachers. The latter are now on summer vacation but have already begun preparations for re-opening schools in accordance with the regular schedule.
Health services are functioning normally. Hospitals are fully staffed and equipped. Medical supplies are distributed where needed, but ample stocks are in general available locally.
Freedom of movement
Curfew has been rapidly reduced. There is complete freedom of movement within the West Bank. Movement from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, not permitted in the past, is being gradually introduced. Visits are being arranged from the West Bank to various parts of Israel.
Almost all private vehicles requisitioned during the hostilities have been restored. This is true also of all agricultural machines and equipment.
Public transportation, including inter-urban bus services, has been fully resumed. Fuel supply is normal.
Arab policemen have been re-employed on a large scale.
Administration of Justice
Local Courts, including District Courts, have been reactivated. They are functioning on the basis of laws in force before 5 June.
All major post offices have been re-opened.
Most shops and other commercial enterprises have re-opened. The influx of tourists has contributed to a considerable upsurge of commercial activity.
All international and local welfare organizations, including religious welfare institutions, are being encouraged to pursue their normal activities. Most have resumed their regular work. Arrangements are also being made for continuing the welfare activities formally supported by the Government of Jordan.
Financial and economic measures
All personal remittances from abroad reach their destination through banks. With a view to channelling new funds into the economy and encouraging development, Israeli banks have been permitted to open "branches (one to a town) on the West Bank. One of the main activities is to grant loans to industry, commerce and agriculture.
Returnees from East Bank
Persons who had resided on the West Bank, and who crossed over to the East Bank between 5 June and 4 July 1967, have been permitted to return to the West Bank, under an Israel Government decision adopted as a gesture of goodwill. Arrangements for the return of such persons are being made through the good offices of the International Bed Cross.
A special agreement was reached with UNRWA for the continuation of its activities. In addition, the Prime Minister of Israel has appointed a team of experts who will be charged with drawing up proposals concerning ways and means of rehabilitating the Arab refugees. The team comprises experts in the fields of economics, agriculture, irrigation, industry, crafts, commerce, development, social problems, demography and related areas.
Aide-memoire submitted to the Special Representative
by the Israel authorities entitled. "Foundations of
Israel's economic policy in the areas under its control"
Ever since the termination of hostilities, the Government of Israel has striven to restore normal social and economic conditions in the areas under Israel control. Vital services had to be revived Immediately to ensure an uninterrupted supply of food for the civilian population as well as for the large number of refugees in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Refugee needs-were subject of an agreement signed by the Government of Israel with UNRWA. enabling the agency to continue its activities in these areas as heretofore. Permission was also granted to voluntary relief organizations previously active there to resume their assistance to the needy.
During the five weeks of Israeli administration, the following basic steps have been taken:
1. All municipalities and local councils are operating again and such local services as electricity, water, sanitation, and police have been re-established.
2. Medical and health services are functioning satisfactorily.
3. Post offices have been reopened in the main towns, and municipal telephone networks repaired.
4. Following the return of private vehicles to their owners, public transport is being reorganized vehicles are being tested, licensed and insured for third party damages.
5. Banks have been opened to serve the public in the main towns of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
A. FINANCE AND CURRENCY
The legal tender in these areas remains as it was before hostilities (Jordanian Dinar, Egyptian and Syrian Pound).
Regulations have been issued to bar trading in all other currencies. Implementation of this policy met with some difficulties owing to the very low liquidity of the local banks, which in general hardly reached 10 per cent. Banks -were, therefore, unable to reopen their doors to the public, and this meant much hardship to depositors, who -were unable to draw on their savings. The scarcity of means of payment in circulation greatly hindered economic activity in the first days.
B. PRICE POLICY
The policy of the Government of Israel is to maintain as far as possible the level of prices in all the areas under control, with the exception of those of fuel, cigarettes and alcoholic drinks, in respect of which equalization with prices prevailing in Israel will have to be ensured, to prevent smuggling.
All necessary steps have been taken to renew the rural pursuits which constitute the mainstay of the economies of the controlled areas. Representatives of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, together with local elements, have already organized methods of supply and marketing of produce and primary materials through a central organization. All agricultural vehicles and equipment have been restored. Wells have resumed pumping and the necessary fuel is being supplied. With the assistance of employees of Israel farmer organizations, fruit orchards and Government farms are again under cultivation. The local farmers have gone back to work their fields and plantations and to deliver the produce. Abandoned groves are being cared for again.
D. SUPPLY AND TRADE
The guiding lines of this sphere are aimed at guaranteeing the incomes of wholesalers and retailers. To that end, Israelis have been forbidden to trade directly with the inhabitants of the areas under control or to open branches of Israel firms or other businesses there. Land and property deals are prohibited. A central supply company has been ordered to supply the needs of wholesalers on their application - payments to be effected for the goods in local currency (Dinars or Egyptian and Syrian Pounds). Israeli Pounds may also be used.
E. THE BALANCE OF TRADE
It should be noted that, prior to the hostilities, the West Bank economy suffered from a negative balance, of trade, covered mainly by tourism, transfers of private funds and foreign aid. The maintenance of that economy at its pre-war level, and the upkeep of services at previous standards, will require an estimated Import of capital totalling about $0 million US dollars a year. The Gaza Strip's foreign trade deficit amounted to l4.8 million US dollars (24.7 Billion US dollar -worth of imports and 9.9 million US dollars worth of exports).
A brisk tourist trade existed previously in the West Bank only. All efforts are being made to restore fully this trade. It has been decided to open the tourist hotels and to resume organized tourism in the Jerusalem region, the West Bank and the Holy Places, and also in the city of Gaza and the regions of Banias and El-Hamma. Two bus companies have been allowed to conduct organized tours and permission has been granted for authorized bodies to engage in transporting tourists to the various areas. Courses have been organized by the Ministry of Tourism, for 200 guides resident in the West Bank, to bring their knowledge up-to-date and to license them as guides. As from 19 July, all the areas are open to organized tourism from Israel and abroad.
G. GOVERNMENT-INITIATED WORKS TO SPUR ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
1. Israel authorities have begun paying the salaries of all former civil servants, including teachers who have come back to their jobs.
2. Means of payment have been allocated to UNRWA and CARE to pay the salaries of their employees, who are numbered in the thousands.
3. Loans have been granted to municipalities to enable them to pay salaries and current expenses. These are equal in amount to their monthly budgets.
4. Banks have been instructed to convert into local currency all foreign currency remittances addressed to local inhabitants.
5. Tourists and Israeli troops are allowed to exchange Israel Pounds for local currency to enable them to make purchases in controlled areas.
6. The Government of Israel has decided, to make provision for under-writing some of the banks to encourage them to grant loans for capital flow to industry, trade and agriculture.
7. Instructions have been issued to complete public works and construction begun before 5 June, utilizing local manpower and equipment.
8. Arrangements have been made for the continuation of social assistance payments to those who had been on relief before the hostilities.
9. Full assistance and encouragement are being given to all relief activities of such international bodies as UNRWA, CARE and the Bed Cross.
In co-operation with the Ministry of Labour, Israel authorities have drawn up plans for the Immediate employment of the chronically unemployed. They will be engaged primarily in public works, such as road laying and repairing, clearing debris, upkeep and completion of public buildings, and afforestation. In the first stage the Israel authorities will provide employment for 6,000 in the Gaza Strip. These will be supporters of families. In the meantime, teams of experts are examining plans for medium-term employment.
It may be said here, that, despite the acute problems arising from the war, life is being quickly brought back to normal, and that the local inhabitants, by and large, are co-operating with the Israel authorities in reactivating the economy. Although short-term implementation is as yet incomplete, attention is already being given to medium- and long-range economic planning designed to ensure productive employment which will allow thousands of refugees and other needy persons to earn a sufficient and honourable living.
Aide-memoire submitted to the Special
Representative by the Israel authorities
on the situation in the Gaza Strip and
The area is divided into three administrative districts headed by Military Governors (Gaza, Bafa/Khan Younis, El Arish). The local administration has been reinstated throughout the area. This consists both of a central area administration divided Into ten departments and municipal and local councils. Elected mayors and village chiefs (mukhtars), as well as municipal and rural officials. Including those appointed by the Egyptian administration, are continuing in office, except for some senior Egyptian officials and a few local officials who bad to be replaced for reasons of security. Salaries for all local Government officials are unchanged and are being paid by the Israel Treasury. Local government administrations are being granted loans in order to enable them to discharge their liabilities, until new budgetary proposals will have been drawn up and the 'collection of local rates reactivated.
Local administration is functioning smoothly and satisfactorily, and it is not Intended at present to introduce any changes in its structure.
Essential services - electricity and street lighting, water supply, garbage collection, bus service (local and later-urban), taxi service, local Police (partly armed) - are functioning normally, having been progressively reactivated since the first week after Israel assumed control of the area. Eleven police stations are in operation. Postal facilities are being resumed. The railway line in the Strip has been linked up with the Israel network, and its capacity is sufficient to cope with any foreseeable traffic requirements.
Freedom of movement
The hours of curfew prevailing in the area have been steadily shortened. They extend at present from 9 pm to 4 am. The population enjoys free movement throughout the Gaza Strip. As from 16 July, a system of permits is in operation, enabling permit holders to visit the West Bank. It is intended to extend this system in the near future.
Hospitals are functioning normally. The Israel Ministry of Health has delegated a senior medical officer to establish liaison with local health administrations and public hospitals. The necessary medical supplies are being made available from Israeli sources. There is no shortage of medical staff, and the number of hospital beds available is amply sufficient.
All laws and ordinances In force in the area at the moment the Israel forces assumed control remain valid, except where changed by military ordinances, proclaimed by the Military Governor. At present there are thirty-one such ordinances, dealing mainly with security matters and economic problems.
Administration of Justice
All local Courts are functioning. Magistrates who were officiating under the Egyptian administration have taken up their posts and are holding court normally. All lawyers admitted to the Bar under the Egyptian administration are practising, and the basic rights of the accused are protected.
On 19 July, the official rate of exchange of the Egyptian pound was fixed at six Israeli pounds, to one Egyptian. This replaces the previous rate of three to one. This modification in the rate of exchange will enable the population to double its purchasing capacity. It is to be observed that real value of one Egyptian pound is US$ 1.20.
Finance and Banking
Local banks had to be closed for lack of available funds, all local banks are branch - banks with headquarters in Egypt, and their liquidity, was about ten per cent. An Israel bank has opened a branch in Gaza and is offering normal banking facilities to local residents and institutions. Other Israel banks are scheduled to open branches in the area in the future.
Arrangements are being worked out for the resumption of capital transfers from abroad to local inhabitants.
Most shops are open and functioning. Basic necessities such as foodstuffs and petrol are supplied to local outlets by the Israel authorities. Fruit, vegetables and meat are supplied to the market from local sources, and so far the supply is plentiful. Preparations for the resumption of normal commercial contacts with foreign markets are under way. As soon as commercial channels with Israel are established, the Government will withdrew from the local market.
A labour exchange bureau was opened on 16 July in the Gaza Strip. An interim programme for the immediate employment of 15.000 workers has been launched. During the first stage, workers will be employed on public works and the revetment of Wadi Gaza and the seashore. Fishermen have been allowed to start going out to sea. again. The Israel Treasury is prepared to Invest about one million Israel pounds in ensuring employment for inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.
Preparations are under way for the re-opening of schools after the summer holidays. The Israel Ministry of Education and Culture, in co-operation with the local Administration and with the aid of the Military Government, is beginning to repair buildings and equipment which were damaged during combat.
The Israel Ministry of Welfare, in co-operation with the 'Care' organization has reestablished an assistance programme for 70,000 needy non-refugees. It has been agreed to extend this programme to Include another 10.000 needy persons In the El Arish area, and there are plans eventually to bring it up to a ceiling of 120.000 beneficiaries.
An adequate amount in the welfare budget allocation has been set aside as a Government contribution to the local orphanage.
In addition to the welfare offices functioning in Gaza, offices are being set up in Dir-el-Balah and Khan Younis. All three offices are handling applications for cash grants to needy families. These grants are In addition to 'Care' or UNRWA rations.
Other welfare organizations have sent study missions to the area and are now working out programmes in various fields. In contacts with representatives of these organizations, Israel authorities have stressed the need for aid programmes of a constructive character, enabling a growing number of refugees to be provided with productive work.
The agricultural services are functioning normally. The following projects deserve special mention:
El Arish Development Scheme. This scheme, projected by Egyptian Administration, affects 10,000 dunams of various plantations. An effort is being made to develop the Irrigation system by improving existing and drilling new artesian wells.
Bar Dawile. This lake, situated twenty kilometres to the west of El Arish, is now being surveyed with a view to establishing its fishing potential. A research vessel is operating in its waters and experts from the Israel Fishing Service are conducting a research programme.
A study project on the salinity of underground wells and a soil conservation project in the Wadi Gaza area have been initiated. Preparations are under way to make the necessary arrangements for the marketing of the coming citrus harvest.
Small loans as well as supplies of insecticides and fertilizer are being made available to owners of orange groves.
Crop Spraying. The local company has been revived and provided with the necessary insecticides and equipment.
The veterinary services have been strengthened by the addition of two veterinarians.
UNRWA food distribution and health services are back to normal. Food distribution was resumed three days after the end of hostilities. UNRWA education services are expected to continue normally when the new school year opens.
Aide-memoire submitted to the Special
Representative by the Israel authorities
on the situation in the Gaza Strip
THE GAZA STRIP
Unemployment registration has begun in the Gaza Strip. The number of unemployed is estimated at 15.000 with some 10.000 in Gaza proper. The Israel authorities report that they will try to place some of them in their previous jobs in various Government offices.
Two welfare bureaus were opened in Khan Yunis and Rafah with local personnel. Welfare recipients will be paid on the same scale as before. Arrangements are also being made to reopen the Gaza Orphanage in time for the new school year in September.
Flour and sugar are being provided to Gaza through the centralized marketing agency, thus helping to stabilize prices.
Facilities to stimulate economic life
Residents of the Gaza Strip will be able to go abroad, after receiving an appropriate visa from the authorities. They will thus be able to settle their financial affairs abroad and arrange for future transfers. This is expected to stimulate the economic life of the city.
* Adherents of a religious sect of Moslem origin, living mainly in agricultural communities in mountaineous areas of Israel, Lebanon and Syria