At this morning’s meeting the Committee continued general discussion of the Palestine question and heard the delegates from Poland, Egypt, Czechoslovakia, Colombia and El Salvador.
El Salvador submitted a formal resolution calling for a meeting of the Jewish Agency and the Arab Higher Committee under United Nations auspices to attempt to find a common ground for a solution of the Palestinian problem.
Mr. J. Wisewicz (Poland) inferred from the recent statement of the United Kingdom Government that the latter recognizes the need for terminating the Mandate and of withdrawing the British forces from Palestine. Declaring that it was not possible to fully satisfy the claims of both Arabs and Jews, Mr. Winiewicz called for a compromise solution. While expressing sympathy for the aspirations of the Arab peoples, Mr. Winiewicz reminded the Committee that the Jews had been given certain rights in Palestine by many international documents. Regarding the problem of distressed European Jews, he said it could be solved first of all by Jewish immigration into Palestine. Remarking that a bi-national State in Palestine was out of the question owing to the antagonism between Arabs and Jews, Mr. Winiewicz supported partition with economic unity. The Arabs, he said, had materially benefited from Jewish immigration.
Mahmoud Bey Fawzi (Egypt) declared that the Palestine problem was an artificial one, created by the Zionist effort to set up a Jewish majority in that country. But, he added, neither Balfour, nor the United Kingdom nor the League of Nations owned Palestine to give it. Fawzi Bey also declared that the whole Jewish problem was being linked to persecution, and that though the Arabs were not the persecutors it was they who were singled out for retribution. Fawzi Bey advocated independent and democratic Palestine, and steps to avoid racial discrimination and to protect minorities all over the world.
Mr. Jan Maseryk (Czechoslovakia) stated that the British government’s declaration that it would not implement alone any decision of the. United Nations had greatly increased the latter’s responsibility, Mr. Masaryk indicated support of the partition proposal of the Report of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine.
Mr. Fernandez Gonzalez (Colombia) expressed the hope that the 11th unanimous recommendation in the UNSCOP Report calling upon all concerned to refrain from violence, should be brought to the attention of all those who were either guilty at present of acts of violence in Palestine or who used threats of violence in relation to the solution of the problem of Palestine. Mr. Fernandez suggested that a Sub-Committee be immediately set up to try to find the ways and means by which it would be possible to implement the sixth unanimous recommendation of the UNSCOP Report which aims at relieving distressed European Jews.
Dr. Hector. David Castro (El Salvador) stated that the main concern of the United Nations should be to ensure peace in Palestine rather than to determine now and forever the political future of that country. With this end in view, formally submitted a proposal that the Jewish Agency and the Arab Higher Committee be brought together in order to try to find common grounds of agreement. He also proposed that provision be made for the adequate safeguarding of Christian, Jewish and Islamic shrines in Palestine.
The committee will reconvene tomorrow, Thursday, at 11:00 a.m.
(For a chronological and more detailed account of this meeting see Takes #1 through #5 following this summary.)
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(AM) TAKE #1
Press Release GA/PAL/8
8 October 1947
Mr. J. Winiewicz, who is Polish Ambassador to Washington, began by expressing regret that the statement made to the Committee by the Representative of the United Kingdom did not give a clear indication of the intention of the Mandatory Power. From it, he said the conclusion could be drawn, however, that the United Kingdom recognized the recommendations of the report as to the necessity of tormenting the Mandate and the need for withdrawal of their forces.
Mr. Winiewicz then stated that the administration of the Mandatory Power had not fulfilled the hopes which had been linked with the Mandate itself.
The Polish Representative then went on to quote from the report of the Special Committee: “It is manifestly impossible to satisfy fully claims of one at the expense of the other.” This means, he said, that the Committee must seek for a. compromise.
The Polish Delegation, he said, had underlined, on more than one occasion their interest in the national and democratic aspirations of the Arab people in their desire to establish economic independence, in particular in connection with the oil, resources on the territories of those states.
The Polish delegation, he continued however, felt it necessary to deal adequately with the needs of the Jewish community as well. It should not be forgotten, he stressed, that Jews had been given certain rights in Palestine recognised by international documents.
The Polish Delegation, Mr. Winiewicz said, fully supported the unanimous recommendation of the Report of the Special Committee to the effect that the General Assembly undertake immediately the initiation and execution of an international arrangement whereby the problem of distressed European Jews would be dealt with as a matter of extreme urgency.
This task, he said, could and ought to be solved first of all by Jewish [?] into Palestine
The United Nations, he said, should solemnly repeat the promise made in the Covenant of the League and open immediately the doors of Palestine for Jewish immigrants.
He then referred to a statement by the Royal Commission which said "the Arabs have shared to a considerable degree in material benefits which Jewish immigration has brought to Palestine."
Mr. Winiewicz remarked that the antagonism between Arabs and Jews was too great for the creation of a bi-national State at the present moment.
The Committee, he said, should concentrate on an analysis of the majority recommendations (partition) of the Special Committee. The Polish Delegation, he pointed out, attached particular importance to the unanimous report of the Committee on the problem of economic unity between the two status of a divided Palestine. Close economic cooperation between Jews and Arabs, plus the elimination of foreign interference might, he said, constitute a sound foundation for a future Jewish and Arab rapprochment.
In conclusion he urged that the paramount consideration in the work of the Committee should be realistic approach, mainly as far as a transitory period was concerned. They should seek a solution, he said, which would "terminate the endless wanderings of those who escaped gas chambers" and which would terminate a solution in which the problem of Palestine "served as a subject of bargaining for interests which had nothing to do with the well-being of Jews and Arabs.
The Representative of Egypt expressed the hope that the present discussion was the beginning of the end of the Palestine problem, and that the United Nations would wake up to “reality” in contradiction to the “artificiality” which, he said, was perhaps the worst feature of the Palestine problem.
“Less than thirty years ago”, Mahmond Bey Fawzi continued, “the Jews in Palestine were one to twelve of the total population. Through a Zionist movement stirring up many Jews into a frenzy of vain and suicidal ambition and through other devious ways, the Jews have become more than one to “three, and they are incited by Zionism to become a majority and extort an empire from the hazy and far away recesses of an ephemeral past”.
All this, said the Representative of Egypt, was artificial.
Neither Lord Balfour, Mahmoud Bey Fawzi continued, nor the United Kingdom, nor the League of Nations had owned Palestine to give it.
The whole Jewish problem, he said, was being linked to persecution, but the persecutors were not the Arabs. Nevertheless, he added, the Arabs and their lands were aimed at for retribution. Palestine, he went on, is already too crowded.
The Egyptian Representative recalled that, at the previous session, the General Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution proposed by Egypt designed to prevent racial discrimination and to protect minorities. Nevertheless, he added, no steps in that direction had yet been taken. Furthermore, the response of the Great Powers to recent appeals in favor of displaced persons had been “neither edifying, nor inspiring, nor constructive”, he said.
Concluding, Mahmoud Bey Fawzi pleaded for the protection and non-discrimination of minorities all over the world, and for an independent and democratic Palestine.
With Great Britain ready, said Mr. Masaryk, to withdraw but not to implement alone any decision reached by the United Nations, it was very clear that the latter’s responsibility had been greatly increased and that this fact must be faced by the United Nations.
The United Nations, he said, had not only to reach a decision but also to find methods of implementing it with the help of all members, once the General Assembly came to a decision.
After underlining the diametrical opposition of Arabs and Jews, as revealed in their statements, Mr. Masaryk went on to say that going back over the past thirty years to determine all the mistakes made during that period was not a very constructive approach to any problem.
The Jews, said Mr. Masaryk, were given international guarantees and assurances, and they entered into them in good faith. The solution of the Palestine question was an integral part of the Jewish question, he said.
Mr. Masaryk also declared that, whilst illegal immigration and acts of terrorism were condemnable, “desperate, hunted people do not…always behave like saints.”
Mr. Masaryk condemned the threats of violence or war heard in connection with the Palestine problem.
Concerning the Report of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, Mr. Masaryk said that the proposal of the majority (partition) “comes near to giving at least partial satisfaction to the natural claims of both parties and to a possibility of being realized.”
(The full text of Mr. Masaryk’s speech has been issued as Press Release PM/60.)
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Mr. Fernandez expressed the hope that the eleven unanimous recommendations of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine would not meet with any serious opposition on the part of the Committee.
In particular, he expressed the hope that the eleventh recommendation, calling upon all concerned to refrain from violence, would be brought before the attention of all those who were either guilty at present of acts of violence in Palestine or who used’ threats of violence in relation to the solution of the problem of Palestine.
Mr. Fernandez then suggested that a Sub-committee be immediately set up to try to find the ways and means by which it would be possible to implement the sixth unanimous recommendation of the UNSCOP Report which aims at relieving distressed European Jews.
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Referring to the UNSCOP Report, he asked whether any of the recommendations therein, would guarantee peace in Palestine. The Arab peoples, he said, claimed they had regarded the British Mandate in Palestine as illegal, and therefore demanded termination of the Mandate.
The Jews, and. particularly the Zionists, favored the Mandate only while it allowed unlimited immigration of Jews into Palestine, he said. They also, he said, favored termination of the Mandate but only at such time as unlimited immigration gave a Jewish majority in Palestine. The question of displaced Jews in Europe, he said, were connected with the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, only insofer as it would lessen the problem of displaced persons in Europe. He then asked if this was not the best time for both groups to get together and make reciprocal concessions and come to an agreement so that the General Assembly might decide the issue without hurting the feelings of either group. It would not only be a logical approach, but also would express the free will of both parties wishes, he said.
He then presented the following proposal:
“Having considered the need of exhausting all possible means of conciliation of the respective claims of the Arabian and Jewish population of Palestine in order to arrive at a solution which may be satisfactory to both parties,
(1) To call upon the Jewish Agency and the Arab Higher Committee, as representatives of the population of Palestine, to appoint three representatives each to meet in conference, under the auspices of the United Nations in order to make every possible effort to find common grounds of agreement in regard to the future of Palestine and to report to the General Assembly at its present session the results of their meeting; and
(2) That the recommendations or suggestions to be made in the report of the conference should contain adequate safeguards for the Christians, the Islamic and the Jewish religious interests in Palestine.”
The meeting adjourned at 12:40 p.m. and will reconvene at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.