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        General Assembly
7 May 1949

Held at Lake Success, New York,
on Saturday, 7 May 1949, at 11 a.m.
Chairman: General Carlos P. ROMULO

57. Application of Israel for admission
to membership in the United Nations (A/818) (continued)

The CHAIRMAN recalled that at the previous meeting the reply of the representative of Israel to a question asked by the representative of Demark had been deferred.

At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr. Eban, representative of Israel, took a seat at the Committee table.

The verbatim account of the reply of the representative of Israel follows:

Mr. EBAN (Israel): At the meeting of this Committee yesterday afternoon the representative of Denmark invited me to comment on the reconcilability of my statement on the refugee question with Article 1, paragraph 2, of the Charter, which enumerates the following among the purposes of the United Nations:

“To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”

The answer to that question is as follow:

First, my Government confirms its adherence to this, as to all other purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. In its desire to develop friendly relations between itself and the Arab States it has agreed to negotiate a peace settlement with the Arab States for the solution of all questions outstanding between it and them. The Arab States, on the other hand, have not yet asserted any desire to develop friendly relations with Israel, despite this Article of the Charter and paragraph 5 of the General Assembly’s resolution of 11 December 1948 (194 (III)).

Secondly, it was in order to confirm the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples that the General Assembly recommended the establishment of a Jewish State and an Arab State in Palestine, in its resolution of 29 November 1947 (181 (II)).

Thirdly, this Article refers to the relations between groups, that is, either nations or peoples, and does not affect the duty of Governments in the rehabilitation of individual refuges. There are many instances of recent international history, both in Europe and in Asia, when the rehabilitation of refugees took place not on the basis of individual right, but by agreements between the Governments concerned. It is because this question is, in the practical sense, not an individual one but one which has a most profound effect upon the relations between nations and peoples, that my Government seeks to solve it by negotiation with neighbouring Governments.

Moreover, the Conciliation Commission declares in its second progress report (A/838): “Neither repatriation to Israel nor resettlement in Arab territories can be carried out in satisfactory conditions without a considerable amount of preparatory work of a technical nature”. This expert judgment confirms us in the view that negotiation and agreement between Governments is the correct approach to a solution of this problem.

Fourthly, the only effect of the said Article on the refugee problem should be to ensure that these refugees are settled and rehabilitated in the manner most conducive to the development of friendly relations: in this case to the development of friendly relations between Israel and the Arab States. My Government has this primary aim in view when it upholds the statement recorded in the second progress report of the Conciliation Commission: “In the long run the final solution of the problem will be found within the framework of the economic and social rehabilitation of all the countries in the Near East”. That is the statement of the Conciliation Commission which, in our view, gives the correct interpretation of the principles governing a solution of this problem.


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