Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

English (pdf) ||Arabic||Chinese||Français||Русский||Español||

Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS


        Security Council
16 November 1966

Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1320)
Adoption of the agenda
The Palestine question:
Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/7587)



Held in New York, on Wednesday, 16 November 1966, at 11 a.m.

Present: The representatives of the following States: Argentina, Bulgaria, China, France, Japan, Jordan, Mali, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uganda, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Uruguay.
Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1320)

1. Adoption of the agenda

2. The Palestine question:

Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/7587).
Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted
The Palestine question

Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan. That request was addressed to me yesterday and has been circulated in document S/7587.

1. The PRESIDENT: This meeting of the Security Council has been
convened at the urgent request of the representative of Jordan. That request was addressed to me yesterday and has been circulated in document S/7587

2. I have received a request form the representative of Israel [S/7590] that it be invited to participate without vote in the consideration of the question before the Council. In accordance with the usual practice and with the consent of the Council, I shall invite the representative of Israel to take a place at the Council table.

At the invitation of the President, Mr. M. Comay (Israel) took a place at the Council table.

3. The PRESIDENT: The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the complaint it has just inscribed on its agenda. Before calling on the first speaker on my list, I wish to announce that I have been informed that the Secretary-General has received certain information that would be of value to the Council in its consideration of the matter before it. The Secretary-General is prepared to give this information orally to the Council if there is no objection on the part of the Council.

4. Hearing no objection, I now call upon the Secretary-General.

5. The SECRETARY-GENERAL: The information which I am about to present to the Council is only preliminary and incomplete, being based on some early reports received from United Nations Military Observers. A full report on the incident of 13 November will be made available to the Council as soon as the United Nations Military Observers have completed their investigations and the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine, General Bull, has transmitted his report to me. For the convenience of the members of the Council in locating the places involved, an unofficial sketch map is being distributed [see annex].

6. At 06.46 local time on 13 November 1966 the following message was received by the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization from the Jordan delegation to the Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission:

“ At 06.15 local time, Israel armored cars opened fire from the Israel side of armistice demarcation line against a Jordanian police post at Rujm el Madfa’a in the southern Hebron area using artillery and heavy machine guns. Further details will follow. We require an immediate cessation of fire against the police post and Jordan. Request immediate investigation and United Nations team to be sent to the location most urgently.”

The above message was registered as complaint M-446

7. The Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission immediately endeavored to arrange a cease-fire but was unable to establish contact with an officer of the Israel delegation to the Mixed Armistice Commission. The Chief of Staff, after several attempts to contact the Israel Director of Armistice Affairs, finally spoke to his deputy at 08.24 local time and requested a cease-fire as soon as possible and not later that 08.55 local time. The Jordan delegation to the Mixed Armistice Commission had already agreed to a cease-fire but the had pointed out that Jordan was not firing. At 09.05 local time the Chairman of the Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission called on the both delegations for a cease-fire for 11.45 local time. At 10.10 local time information was received form Jordan that Israel forces had withdrawn and firing had stopped.

8. A one-sided investigation of the Jordan verbal complaint No. M.-446, mentioned above, was carried out in Jordan form 10.35 hours to 16.30 hours on 13 November and from 10.35 hours to 16.30 hours on 13 November and from 08.15 hours to 19.15 hours on 15 November-that is, yesterday. The investigating United Nations Military Observers interrogated eight witnesses. The first of these, the corporal in charge of the Rujm el Madfa’a police post, stated that at 45 hours local time on 13 November, while observing the armistice demarcation line, he saw a large number of Israel tanks at approximately map reference 4-0845.these tanks formed up in attack formation advanced at full speed across the armistice line demarcation line into Jordan. Seventeen tanks took up positions and opened fire on the police post with explosive shells. The shelling lasted for ten minutes, demolishing the police post, killing four horses and finding witness in the leg. The tanks, supported by armored personnel warier, then proceed into Jordan in an easterly section in two columns. The first columns proceed the direction of as Samu. The second column succeeded in a northeasterly direction towards el kaz. At approximately 06.10 hours, the first column reached as Samu. The Samu area, and at 09.45 hours he observed the Israel force from as Samu creating to Israel across the armistice demarcation along the track by which it had entered into Jordan territory. The witness stated that there were more than forty open half-track armored personnel carriers in each column, each carrying eight to ten soldiers. He also observed support vehicles and twelve Mirage aircraft.

10. A second witness, the Jordan Army local commander station at as Samu, stated that he was informed at 05.45 hour of the shelling of the Rujm Madfa’s police post and, ten minutes later, was informed that Israel tanks, supported by armored personnel carriers, had advanced across the armistice incarnation line into Jordan. He set off in the direction of the police post and, although his car was blown on the way, he kept the Israel force under observation. The Israel force occupied four hills with tanks armored personnel carriers, while a number op carriers came towards as Samu firing in all sections. The tanks and armored personnel carriers the four hills also fired in all directions while other troops advanced into the village ad blew up houses. There were a number of civilians killed and red, as well as police and armistice demarcation troops. Israel aircraft bombed villages and rocketed vehicles. Firing and acts of demolition coned until the withdrawal of the Israel force at 09.45 hours local time. There were believed to be five aircraft strikes against As Samu and three strikes against vehicles on the road. Other witnesses substantiated this account with further details this account with further details

11. A resident of el Tuwimin stated that, after crossing the armistice demarcation line, Israel tanks armored cars shelled and opened automatic fire the villages of Jinba and el Markaz, and then took positions near the villages while troops went into Jinba village and set explosive charges in fourteen houses. The Israel force left the area at about 10.00 hours and withdrew southwards into Israel.

12. The investigating United Nations Military Observers observed the following evidence:

(a) As Samu

125 houses, including two shops, totally destroyed
1 village medical clinic totally destroyed
1 six-classroom school totally destroyed
23 houses damaged
1 mosque damaged
1 dwelling tent totally burned
3 military jeeps totally destroyed
17 military trucks totally destroyed
1 civilian bus totally destroyed
8 dead monkeys
4 dead cows
1 dead goat
1 wounded camel

(b) The police post at Rujm el Madfa’a

Police post building almost totally destroyed
4 dead horses

(c) The village of Jinba

15 stone huts totally destroyed
7 stone huts damaged
1 camel killed by small arms fire
1 well totally destroyed

(d) At Rafat

3 Jordan Army tents totally destroyed by fire
3 Jordan Army vehicles totally destroyed by aerial bombing.

Total casualties have not yet been reported by the United Nations Military Observers.

13. The body of a Jordan Army Major, who was taken prisoner and subsequently died of wounds, was handed over in Jerusalem at 02.10 hours local time on 14 November. A Jordanian soldier taken prisoner was handed over to the Jordan authorities at the Mixed Armistice Commission at 10.30 hours on 16 November- this morning.

14. The investigations are continuing. The Chief of Staff will transmit his report to the parties and to as soon as investigations are completed, which expects will be Friday.

15. The PRESIDENT: On behalf of the Council I thank the Secretary-General for his helpful report

16. I now call on the first speaker on my list, the representative of Jordan.

17. Mr. EL FARRA (Jordan): We have asked to appear before this honorable body in order to put before the Security Council a complaint against Israel of a most serious nature.

18. The present explosive situation in the area, resulting from the aggressive and irresponsible policy of the Israel authorities, and reflected in the wanton and reckless act of aggression committed premeditation against innocent men, woman and children calls for serious consideration and most urgent action by the Security Council, in order to arrest an already deteriorating situation. Immediate action, without any delay, is badly needed. Otherwise, no one can predict what the consequences will be.

19. We have come before the Security Council because we feel it is responsibility of the Council to adopt measures and take deterrent action forthwith in order to put an end to acts of international banditry, which, if permitted to continue, may lead to a dangerous eruption in the whole area.

20 As you will recall, Mr. President, my delegation warned the Security Council at its last series of meetings, last month, of this aggression planned by Israel. On 14 October 1996, just one month ago, my delegation said that:

“ . . . They”-that is, the Israelis-“ come to the Security Council for no other reason than to cultivate the ground for a certain act-I would call it an act of aggression, which will be real aggression-to come later.

“Let us not forget that this is 1966. In this year, Israel celebrates that tenth anniversary of the invasion of 1956 when, on 29 October, the Israel armed forces crossed the demarcation lines to occupy more Arab land, to displace more Arab people and to expel more Arab refugees. It was ten years ago this month that Israel invaded Arab areas. It is here and now cultivating the ground for a similar act.” [1305th meeting, paras. 74-75].

I have repeated that reminder to this Council time and again, but it is most unfortunate that no adequate measures have been taken to remedy the situation.

21. Time and again in this Council, the Israel representative has repeated that the Government of Israel has no complaint against the Government of Jordan does not help or encourage or have any part in any of the so-called raid and incidents inside Israel-occupied territory. Those are Israel words, but Israel deeds have been different.

22. At approximately 6 a.m. on 13 November 1966, Israel armed forces crossed the demarcation line in brigade strength. They were supported by a squadron of Mirage jets. They had heavy artillery; they had brought tanks and army personnel carriers into the area of the incident. The figures were presented this morning by the Secretary-General, and we are indeed grateful to him. He has said that the investigations are continuing and that more information is coming, and we are looking forward to receiving all information about this naked act of aggression.

23. The objective of the invading force was to erase Arab villages and hamlets across the demarcation line, inside Jordan territory, south of the city of Hebron. They started shelling the police post of Rujm el Madf’a. They started shelling lasted for ten minutes, demolishing the police post, killing many horses and wounding members of the police force. After demolishing the police post, the Israel tanks, supported by the army personnel carriers, penetrated into Jordan and advanced in an easterly direction. They formed two columns consisting of tanks and army personnel carriers. The first column proceeded in the direction of As Samu, map reference 156-089, appearing on the sketch we have just received. The column proceeded in a northeast direction towards Kherbit El Markaz, approximate map reference 164-086. These locations are over six kilometers inside Jordan.

24. A few minutes later the first column reached As Samu. There they started a carefully planned destruction of houses and property. It was well planned, because it was spread throughout the village. They spent four hours shelling, dynamiting, destroying and murdering innocent Jordanian farmers.

25. The Mirage jets subjected villages of As Samu, Rafaat and the police post of Rujm El Madfa’a to bombardment from the air. The village of Tawawani was also the target to the heavy shelling by heavy Israel artillery.

27. Not only that, but the Israelis captured two prisoners and announced a few hours later that one of them, Major Mohamed Daif Alla, had died in captivity. He died in captivity. He died a few hours after taken captive the day before yesterday.

28. As a result of the air bombardment and shelling by heavy Israel artillery, together with dynamite and explosives, 110 houses eight shops, including a coffee shop, and a mill were totally destroyed. Four coffee shop, and a mill were totally destroyed. Four other dwelling houses and another mill were seriously damaged. This act rendered more than 1,000 farmers homeless-as if Jordan does not have enough refugees to cope with. In this same village of As Samu, eighteen cars were demolished, one public bus and a substantial number of the village animals. To complete their inhuman act, the Israelis, before leaving, made sure that the water supply of the village was booby-strapped. Moreover, when the Jordan aircraft came to the defense of the village, one Hawker Hunter aircraft was shot down. The Israelis, in their usual manner have again boasted this criminal act and have assumed responsibility for it.

29. As Israel military spokesman in a communiqué dated 13 November 1966-the same day-admitted that brutal attack. He a called it “Zahal operation”.

30. Mr. Joe Alex Morris of the Los Angeles Times, reporting from the invaded place, the village of As Samu, said-and here I am quoting the Washington Post of yesterday, 15 November 1966-that the attack on As Samu village was: “the most serious Israel military act against the Arabs since the Sinai campaign ten years ago”. He said that parts of this hilltop town of some 4,000 people had been reduced to rubble. The explosives used by the Israelis were so powerful that houses made from huge cut stone blocks weighing fifty pounds and more were obliterated and had been hurled in ever direction. Mr. Morris further said that one of the few Jordanian defense weapons in the village, a jeep with recoilless rifle mounted on it, was not so much destroyed as buried underneath the rubble.

31. While the Israel army, with tanks and artillery and air cover, was killing innocent people and destroying property, the Israel soldiers, according to eye witnesses, were celebrating all these crimes with joy and singing. This indiscriminate attack did not even spare a house of worship and its minaret, which suffered direct hits. The Los Angeles Times correspondent reporting from that place heard that call for prayer of the local muezzin “chanting out his baleful litany as women scrabbled through the debris looking for their buried and shattered belongings”.

32. The situation is becoming very tense and it gets more complicated by the hour. People are demonstrating in may parts of my country against this Israel aggression. Because of the cold-blooded attack which lasted for four hours, people lost their homes, their belongings, their farming equipment, their food and their animals. Villagers became a prey to hunger because of Israel’s vicious, merciless and inhuman beaten, that some were killed and their homes were obliterated simply because they had no arms with farmer, said to the Los Angeles Times reporter, in describing this tragedy and their inability to act: “What do they expect us to fight with? With women and children or with stones?”

33. This is the picture of an innocent, peaceful, unarmed village which was invade by over a brigade, supported by tanks armored equipment, heavy artillery and jets. One wonders why all this force. Was it to conquer a village which, was according to an eyewitness, had one single jeep with one single recoilless rifle mounted on it? Or was it really to create the impression that there in fact, a huge base used for what the Israel military spokesman called “sorties of saboteurs”?

34. I have already said that this was well planned, deliberate and clearly admitted act of aggression. The official reporters who visited the area clearly found that the Israel destruction was carefully planned was spread throughout the village of As Samu. This outrageous aggression was not confined to house, post offices, and mosques, but the plan extended to schools. The secondary school for girls of As Samu was also dynamited.

35. This same village, as well as the neighboring hamlets, were decorated a day before the attack with flags of Pakistan and Jordan, on the occasion of the State visit of President Mohammed Ayab Khan, the Head of State, who was la ding at the very time of the attack to start his State visit to Jordan. It was this deliberate aggressive behavior, timed with the visit of Head of State, which turned a scene of happy people preparing for a worthy reception to a worthy leader into a scene of mourning people, a scene of women and children crying and suffering over lost which was nothing but an act of banditry with all its cruelty, viciousness and barbarity. What makes the crime even more outrageous is the fact that it was committed on a Sunday, a day of prayer and meditation, a day of peace in the land of the Price of Peace.

36. President Mohammed Ayub Khan was greatly disturbed upon his arrival that same morning to hear of the Israel aggression against Jordan. He had the following to say:

“Your Majesty, the creation of Israel is a violation of human rights, a denunciation of the United Nations Charter and is a disgrace to the Arab world and Islam, for since its establishment it has never ceased to poison the air in this part of the world.”

37. Realizing the gravity and seriousness of the crime, we in Jordan were expecting strong statements of condemnation form the permanent members of the Security Council. The immediate reaction in the United States, reflected in Press release No. 4975 of 13 November 1966, was unfortunate, to say the least. The United Sates attempted to find justification the attack. Moreover, and I say this with regret, the United States continues to treat the question of Palestine-it has done so from the very beginning until the present time-as a domestic issue. Its policy, therefore, vis-à-vis this problem, has been no detergent to the Zionist criminals who cross demarcation lines to kill and butcher.

38. But now that all the facts of the case are crystal clear, now that we have heard a valuable report from the Secretary-General, now that the Security Council has the complete picture, now that the United States can see the rapidly deteriorating situation in small country, a friendly country, a peaceful country,, in Jordan, we should like to hear what the United States representative, you, Mr. President, as Ambassador of the United States and as representing the United States, has to say on this question.

39. This question does not involve Jordan alone; it involves the interest of all countries that believe in peace and that would like to see stability in our area. We are still full of hope that real self-interest and this Council, this great body of the United Nations, this hope of mankind.

40. These are the facts. Now what are the measures which the Council is called up to take? Of course, the Council is the highest organ of the United Nations. It is the instrument intended to restore the peace, condemn acts of war and repel aggression. Condemnation in this case is not enough. This is not the first time that Israel has been condemned by this body for acts of this nature, but it is the first time, I submit, that an attack of this type, with heavy artillery, tanks, air force and brigades, has been used by Israel armed forces against innocent villages and peaceful inhabitants.

41. The Security Council is therefore expected to act, and to act firmly, not only because of the seriousness of the crime committed, not only because the Israel authorities have openly admitted their crime, not only because Israel has created admitted their crime, not only because Israel has created a dangerous situation threatening peace I n the area, but also because the Security Council has in the past taken a stand on what other steps it would take if Israel repeated its aggression.

42. Before referring to the stand to be taken by the Security Council, allow me, for the benefit of my colleagues around this table, to review the various decisions taken by the Security Council against Israel.

(a) On 18 May 1951, the Security Council found that the aerial action taken by the forces of Israel on 5 April 1951 was inconsistent with the terms of the Israel-Syrian General Armistice Agreement and the obligations assumed under the Charter. It did so by its resolution 93 (1951), which had been proposed by France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Turkey and adopted by the Security Council by ten votes in favor, none against and only the abstention.

(b) On 24 November 1953, the Security Council considered the attack against Jordan civilians and territory in Qibya and decided that attack was “inconsistent with [Israel’s] obligations under the General Armistice Agreement . . . and the Charter of the United Nation”. It expressed, therefore, the strongest censure of that action. This resolution [101 (1953)] had been sponsored jointly by France, the United States and the United Kingdom. It was Adopted by this Council by 9 votes to none, with 2 abstentions.

(c) On 29 March 1955, this Council condemned the attack which had been committed by the Israel regular armed forces against the Gaza Strip on 28 February 1955. Here again the resolution [106 (1955)] had been sponsored by the same three Western Powers- France, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was adopted unanimously.

(d) On 19 January 1956, the Security Council, by its resolution III (1956), condemned the attack of the Israel regular army on Syria as “a flagrant violation of the cease-fire provisions of its resolution 54 (1948), of the terms of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Syria, and of Israel’s obligations under the Charter of the United Nation”. The Security Council, in that resolution, expressed its grave concern at the failure of the Government of Israel to comply with its obligations and warned that it “will have to consider what further measures under the Charter are required to maintain or restore the peace.” The same three Western Powers sponsored this resolution, which was adopted unanimously by the Council. It was not sponsored by Jordan, but by the same three Western Powers.

(e) On 16-17 March 1962, the regular Israel armed forces waged a series of violent mortar attacks against the villages of Nuquieb and Squofle in Syria and the military post of El-Douga. The Syrian positions of El-Al, Fiq, Zaki and the El-Hamma area were subjected to heavy Israel aircraft bombardment. On 9 April 1962, the Security Council adopted 10 votes to none, with one abstention, resolution 171 (1962), which had also been submitted by the United Kingdom and the United States. It reaffirmed resolution 111 (1945), from which I have just quoted, which not only condemned Israel military action, whether or not that the Council would have to consider further measures under the Charter to maintain or restore peace.

43. Only six months ago, Israel committed similar acts of lawlessness against Jordanian territory. I am sure that all the representatives at this table will remember that this was brought to the attention of the Security Council. Military armed forces penetrated four kilometers inside Jordan and attacked the village of Tel el Arba’in. They killed eleven civilians and wounded three, and blew up nineteen houses in the village of Rafaat-the same village as the one involved yesterday. We brought this attack to the attention of the Security Council in document S/7275 of 2 May 1966. In document S/7325 of 31 May 1966, we also asked the President of Security Council to circulate the decision of the Mixed Armistice Commission to all members of the Security Council. In its decision [S/7325, annex], the Mixed Armistice Commission deplored the great loss of lives and injuries inflicted upon the Jordanians as a result of the unprovoked, vicious attacks launched by the Israel armed forces those are the words of the Commission. The Commission also deplored once again the heavy destruction and damage resulting form this action.

44. The Mixed Armistice Commission considered the Israel attack inconsistent with the Israel obligations under the General Armistice Agreement between Jordan and Israel.1/ The Commission decided “that this hostile and warlike act officially planned by the Israel authorities and launched by the Israel force against Jordan is a most serious and flagrant violation of Article III, paragraphs 2 and 3 of the General Armistice Agreement”; and therefore the Mixed Armistice Commission “condemns the Israel authorities for this action by Israel against Jordan in utter disregard of their solemn obligations under the terms of the General Armistice Agreement”. The Commission took a most serious view of the Israel authorities’ open admission of aggression in utter disregard of their obligations under the General Armistice Agreement. It further called upon the Israel authorities, in the strongest terms, to desist from a most serious threat to peace security.

45. That was a serious and deliberate cold-blooded act of terrorism, which was condemned in the strongest terms by the United Nations machinery in the area. Certainly, as you can see, the Israelis did not heed the request of the Mixed Armistice Commission. And now, what has been the result? More acts of war, more cold-blooded acts of terrorism, more bloodshed, and more defiance of the Charter and of the very authority of this high organ of the United Nations.

46. It is as a result of this sad, indeed tragic, experience that we come here before the Council to seek effective remedy. Had the Council taken adequate measures on the last occasion, it might have prevented yet another tragedy and deliberate defiance of its authority.

47. The new attack on Jordan is manifestation of further contempt for and complete defiance of this Council’s authority. Such behavior calls for the Council’s consideration, in addition to condemnation of Israel, of further measures under the Charter of the United Nations to maintain or restore peace. Chapter VII of the Charter is the only answer in this specific case; this, of course, if you, Sir, and the authority and dignity of this high organ of the United Nations.

48. The PRESIDENT: I now call on the representative of Israel.

49. Mr. COMAY (Israel): I would thank you, Mr. President, and the members of the Council for inviting me to participate in these proceedings on behalf of my Government. In this statement, we shall try to avoid nay unnecessary recriminations. My delegation wishes to focus the attention of the Council on the complicated security problem with which Israel is confronted by the policies and actions of hostile neighbors.

50. No constructive purpose could be served in disapproving a specific action without regard to the difficulties which prompted it. Israel is a small country, some 8,000 square miles in area. A glance at the map will show that it is long and narrow in shape, with nearly 800 miles of open border, much of it winding through hills of desert. These borders are incapable of being sealed up physically.

51. Within these borders, we are engaged in an historic effort to develop our country and to build up a new and creative nation from the remnants of a sorely mutilated people which has regained its independence in its ancient homeland. It is our wish to be permitted to live and work in conditions of peace, friendship and co-operation with our neighbors. Till now, that wish has been denied us.

52. The Four Arab States that have common borders with us went to war in 1948 to crush our State in its infancy. That war ended with the Armistice Agreements of 1949, which put a permanent end to hostilities, which banned all violence or threats of violence between the countries concerned and which were expressly meant to serve as a short transition stage to a final peace.

53. Contrary to the United Nations Charter and contrary to the Armistice Agreements, Arab Governments proclaim that they do not accept the political independence or territorial integrity of the State of Israel, and that our statehood must be eliminated and our people dispersed by force of arms. The air of the Middle East is strident with this doctrine of violence, and it is shouted incessantly form the rostrum of the United Nations itself. Who was it who said: ”We are now facing a question of occupation, and the answer to occupation is liberation; it is as simple was that”? (1316th meeting, para. 20.)

54. That was said about my country, a Member State of the United Nations, by a member of the Security Council less than two weeks ago. It was said by the representative of Jordan on 3 November; he stated that the existence of the State of Israel is simply a matter of occupation which must be solved by liberation. I repeat: it was by a member of this Council two weeks ago.

55. It is this unremitting threat of armed aggression which obliges Israel to divert a substantial proportion of its precious resources and manpower away from constructive tasks in order to maintain a high level of defensive and deterrent capacity. If we were unable to protect the lives of our citizens and the integrity of our frontiers our State would not survive for long. We are a permanent feature of the Middle East landscape and the international order, and the Arab world will come to realize that, as some responsible Arab opinion is already doing.

56. To ensure the national security is the primary duty of any Government in the world. In Israel’s situation, as I have described it, that duty cannot be relaxed for a moment, nor can the Government abdicate its responsibility to protect the nation which has selected it.

57. In the last or three years, the Israel Government and the security forces have had to be especially concerned and vigilant about a specific aspect of the security problem: the organization, training and use of para-military guerilla and terrorist forces, designed to operate in Israel territory in advance of a future military showdown with regular forces. For example, in the Secretary-General’s latest report on the United Nations Emergency Force, dated 7 September last, he refers to one such para-military force which has been recruited and trained by the Egyptian authorities in the Gaza Strip. The report states:

“ . . . public indications by local sources in Gaza have put is strength at about 12,000. The operational deployment of detachments of the Palestine Liberation Army just outside the 500-meters zone of ADL and increase patrolling and training activity of their units in this area are unavoidably of concern to UNEF and its functioning.” 2/

58. Syria, in its turn, has not only recruited and trained thousands of men for the same so-called Palestine Liberation Army; it has gone a step further by promoting organized terrorist and saboteur raids into Israel, in pursuance of what it publicly declares to be the opening phase of a “popular war”. After recent debates, the Council is only too familiar with this development and the danger to peace it creates. There have been seventy-one such attacks since January 1965, some across the Syrian border and some across the borders of neighboring Arab States. In the statements and letters to this Council by Israel representatives, it has always been made quite clear that, even it Syria is the basic souse and origin of this trouble, the Government of each neighboring State must be held fully and rigidly to its commitment to prevent any attack or incursion across the border from its territory. It is a painful fact that the Government of Jordan has failed to fulfil this obligation.

59. Recently organized terrorism and sabotage across the Jordan border have become bolder and more frequent. There have been dozens of attacks including the dynamiting of apartment houses within the city of Jerusalem itself, and the derailment of a train near Jerusalem-by sheer good fortune it was a freight train and not a passenger train, which had passed the spot an hour earlier. No less than thirteen of these sabotage and road-mining incidents have bee n concentrated in a limited border area border area around the Dead Sea and the southern edge of the Hebron hills, which is the corner indicated on the right-had side of the sketch map distributed by the Secretariat [see annex].

60. The patter of penetration in this corner of our country involved certain villages on the Jordan side of the border. They have served as bases of operation and staging posts for terrorist and saboteur groups who have crossed the frontier from these villages and returned to them the same night. The local inhabitants have harbored and assisted gangs, without any serious interference from the Jordanian security authorities.

61. For may months, the Israel Government has acted with great self-restraint as outrage after outrage has taken place from across the border, disrupting normal civilian life and provoking resentment and anger in the country.

62. We brought the whole problem of these border raids and their political background before this Council, in a complaint against Syria on 12 October 1966 [S/7540]. As the Council is aware, a draft resolution [S/7575/Rev.1] supported by the great majority of Council members was vetoed at the 1319th meeting. It was our earnest hope that, in spite of that unfortunate abuse of the veto power, the view of the Council majority would carry sufficient political and moral weight to ensure that the raiding would stop.

63. That hope was shattered last Saturday morning when an army vehicle on a regular patrol was blown up by a mine, killing three of its occupants and wounding the other six. This incident again took place in the border sector adjacent to the southern Hebron Hills, and again it was evident that the perpetrators had come from and returned to the same villages. What is more, we had reason to believe that this incident was the first in a fresh series of attacks of an even more serious nature, planned to take place in the locality.

64. It was then that my Government decided to carry our a local action directed at the villages involved, in the hope that it might serve as a warning and a deterrent to the inhabitants-as well as to other elements along our borders that might be planning attacks upon our people and territory, or that might be under a duty to prevent such attacks from their territory.

65. This defensive action was carried out by a relatively small and mobile task force, including tanks, owning to the rough hilly terrain to be traversed. The force was under strict instructions to take every possible measure for the avoidance of casualties Unfortunately, a number of casualties were caused, including those in a clash with a detachment of the Jordan Arab Legion that arrived on the scene My Government deeply regrets any casualties in the course of this action, just as we regret the casualties resulting from the attacks upon Israel which preceded the action. I would assure the Council that this limited local action was undertaken most reluctantly, and only as a last resort, after a long period of forbearance.

66. I have described the broad security problem which faces Israel from its neighbors. In the context of that problem, how could my Government acquiesce in a situation in which guerilla-type raids against our population could be carried out with impunity-in which the armistice demarcation line would afford automatic sanctuary to the raiders and they would be immune from counter-action either from the Government of the country from which the attack was mounted? I must in all earnestness ask each of the representatives around this Council table to try and imagine what his own Government would under similar circumstances. If we had to resign ourselves passively to armed raiding from hostile neighbors, if our citizens were helplessly exposed to being blown up on the roads or dynamited in their homes at night-would we not thereby be inviting a surge of violence from all sides by so-called “liberation armies” and terrorist organizations? Would every week and month not become and “open season” for killing our people in this cowardly war by stealth? And would an undeclared guerilla war not inevitably escalate into open hostilities? These are grave questions which no Israel Government are brush aside, however sincere the counsels of toleration we get from our friends. It is a genuine quandary, not of our making but forced upon us by neighboring States. Those States, and only those States, can resolve the problem by putting a stop to the attacks form their territory. They are also obliged to stop creating an official climate of warlike incitement, in which acts of violence against Israel are terrorists, saboteurs, murderers and thugs engaged in them are presented as national heroes. That is where the real responsibility rests fir the violence on the border level, and the defensive reaction to that violence. Disapproval of a specific counteraction, without regard to its context and its causes, will not solve the problem. It can be relieved by the responsible opinion of the international community being brought to bear upon the roots of the tension and violence. They lie in the Arab doctrines and practice of belligerency against the State of Israel.

67. It has been suggested, from time to time, that Israel should confine itself to the United Nations machinery on the spot when we are attacked, and particularly the Mixed Armistice Commission. This view requires honest and realistic scrutiny. When the responsibility of Syria under the Armistice Agreement. Was recently under discussion by the Security Council much stress was laid on the fact that the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission did not meet in plenary session and take decision. My delegation pointed out at that time that the real issue was not one of United Nations machinery but of government policy. In the case of incidents which occur along the Jordan border, the Israel-Jordan border which serve as nests for terrorists. The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization does not record and report up on the incessant stream of threat and incitement which has been poured against us during all these years. What happens is that after each explosion, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization investigators record the casualties and damage next morning, and the Mixed Armistice Commission decides that the evidence is conclusive or inconclusive, depending on whether the perpetrators have obligingly left their footprints in an unbroken line from the scene of the crime across the border. At the same time, nobody concerned has any doubt about the fact that these terrorist raids are taking place, that they do come from across the border and that they form an organized pattern. Let us take two recent examples to show how the Mixed Armistice Commission operates in these matters.

68. In the case of the apartment houses dynamited in the Romema quarter of Jerusalem, the tracks were followed as far as anti-infiltration fence on the border. The verdict was inconclusive, but the Commission Chairman was clearly troubled in his mind about the flight form reality, to judge from his statement at the conclusion of the meeting, which included the following passage:

I have quoted that to show that even the United Nations Chairman of a Mixed Armistice Commission, which by its own narrow criteria describes a particular complaint as inconclusive, was unhappy about doing so.

69. But, on occasion, even the highly technical footprint test is satisfied. The other recent incident to which I would refer was the subject of a Mixed Armistice Commission decision last week on 7 November. The incident took place in the same Hebron-Dead Sea locally in which the most recent events occurred, and it is therefore very pertinent to read the decision. It says the Mixed Armistice Commission:

“. . .after having considered Israel complaint M-438 the investigation reports made on this complaint and the discussion held thereon:

Finds that:

“1. On 20 October 1966 . . .an explosive charge exploded at a hut located at . . .Ein-Gedi (Israel). This hut is a kiosk in which soft drinks are sold for tourists.

“2. In the early hours of 21 October 1966 an antitank mine was detected by an Israel tracker . . . weighing 13-1/2 kilograms, out of which the explosive is 9 kilograms”-twenty pounds of explosive in a mine!-“The place where this mine was planted is on the shortest road extending form Ein-Gedi youth hostel to the hut.”

That is an Ein-Gedi youth hostel used by young people and school children on hikes.

“3. Incoming footprints of the perpetrators who planted the mine and the above charge and who operated this charge were extending intermittently from the vicinity of the hut through the place where the mine was detected up the armistice demarcation line . . .


“That those acts of crossing the armistice demarcation line form Jordan into Israel and then back to Jordan, and the planting of the mine and the explosives, are a failure of Jordan to implement her undertaking derived from article IV, paragraph 3, of the General Armistice Agreement . . .

Deplores these acts and condemns the perpetrators who committed these acts.

Notes that such incidents disturb normal civilian life and jeopardize peace and tranquility is Israel.”

I should like to draw special attention to this last paragraph of the decision:

Calls upon Jordan:

“1. To fin the perpetrators who did these acts and to punish them.

“2. To take the necessary measures in order to stop this activity forthwith.”

70. That decision by the United Nations machinery on the spot, Mr. El-Farra, speaks for itself. It was adopted a few days before the army vehicle was blown up on 12 November by a freshly laid mine, killing three more Israelis and wounding six more. I should like to know what the Government of Jordan has really done to stop this kind of thing. And when the representative of Jordan quotes rather strong language from a previous Mixed Armistice Commission decision, he has omitted to tell the Council that language was inserted into the decision by the representative of Jordan in the Mixed Armistice Commission, and that the Chairman made a statement that where as he supported the decision in substance he dissociated himself from the strong language used in it. I think it would be advisable in these matters, if decisions are quoted, to put all the facts before the Council.

71. I would conclude my statement by quoting a passage from a statement made yesterday by the Prime Minister of Israel before the Knesset, the Israel Parliament. Mr. Eshko said:

“I feel it necessary to define Israel’s policy and aspirations in regard to the position on the borders. The Israel Government once again proclaims its sincere desire to achieve a mutual state of peace and quiet on all its borders. This is no exorbitant desire. It does not go beyond the obligations undertaken by the countries of the area which set their hands to the United Nations Charter and to the Armistice Agreements. If it rests with us, last Sunday’s operation can be the last military operation in the history of this region. That is our heart’s desire, but its realization lies in the hands of the neighboring Government.

72. The Prime Minister then urged that the United Nations and all peace-loving States should present the Arab States with a simple demand that they should let Israel live in peace in its territory, as we want our neighbors to live in peace and tranquility in their own.

73. It is in that spirit that I have drawn to the attention of members of the Council Israel’s serious security problem, confronted as it is by hostile and warlike neighbors, and the inescapable duty of my Government to defend our State against armed attack upon it from neighboring States which either promote the attacks or fail to halt them. What my Government seeks above all from this Council is a firm reaffirmation of those Charter principles and those Armistice provisions upon which peace in the Middle East region so vitally depends. Our people, too, are entitled to live their lives in freedom from fear of attack and death.

74. Policies of war, belligerence and open military preparation and armed attack upon our peaceful population have been our daily lot since the beginning of our renewed statehood eighteen years, ago. This situation, in my respectful view and that of my Government, cannot be tolerated by the United Nations organ charged with the primary responsibility for international peace and security.

75. Lord CARDON (United Kingdom): First, let me say that we welcome the decision of the Jordan Government to bring this matter to the Security Council, as we welcomed the decision of the Israel Government to bring its complaint to the Council last month.

76. Second, I should like to express our gratitude to the Secretary-General for the prompt interim report which he gave us this morning. I should like, if I may, to pay a tribute-and here I am sure I speak for every-one in the Council-to those who strive under the United Nations flag to keep the peace. The unrelenting and devoted efforts of the United Nations staff on the spot are perhaps the only bright aspect of a situation so serious, so deplorable and so dangerous.

77. Third, I wish to speak this morning very shortly and very clearly. I believe it is our duty to do so-but I reserve the right to speak more fully on what we have heard this morning from the representative of Jordan and Israel.

78. My delegation learned with the gravest concern of the tragic events which took place on the border between Israel and Jordan last Sunday. We deplore the senseless damage and the cost in human life which resulted. This tragedy-for it is no less than a tragedy-is one further symptom of the tense and deteriorating situation which now prevails on the borders between Israel and certain of its Arab neighbors-a situation which can be restored, we believe, only by strict observance of the obligations under the General Armistice Agreements.

79. Having said that, and also taking into account that we await the further reports from the United Nations authorities in the area, my delegation can find no justification whatsoever for the calculated, admitted and wholly disproportionate act of military reprisal committed by Israel against Jordan on 13 November.

80. Mr. President, reference has been made, in the letter of the representative of Israel to you of 12 November [S/7584], to a mining incident on that day which cost the lives of three occupants of an Israel army vehicle and injured six others. Certainly, my delegation deplores that incident and regrets the loss of life. But even if it could be demonstrated to us that Jordan had any direct responsibility for this and other incidents, we could not possibly condone the Israel attack. It was a fully planned attack, mounted by infantry and armored forces and supported by aircraft, and attack on Jordanian villages in the area of Hebron. This action constituted a flagrant violation of our Charter and of the Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement. It has done nothing to enhance the security of Israel citizens or the reputation of Israel.

81. Last month Israel came to this Council with a complaint against another Member State. Its action in doing so was right and its case gained sympathy and understanding here. In bringing it here, Israel acted correctly, in accordance with its obligations under the Charter. Its actions on 13 November are a sorry and deplorable contrast.

82. Israel can expect-and has the right to expect sympathy and support among the international community for its case and for the complaints it makes against terrorist activities within its territory only and I repeat the word “only”-if Israel itself is prepared to behave in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and with the obligations it freely entered into under the General Armistice Agreements with its Arab neighbors.

83. My delegation therefore deeply deplores the events of 13 November and their tragic consequences. We must condemn such actions, which only increase the risk of continued and wider conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and we hold the Government of Israel responsible for them.

84. The lesson to be learned form these events is surely that this Council must not now fail to take speedy and positive and constructive action to prevent further deterioration in the situation in the whole area.

85. The PRESIDENT: I should now like to address the Council in my capacity as representative of the UNITED STATES.

86. Immediately after learning of the incident now before the Council, on Sunday morning, I issued a statement on behalf of my Government expressing our strong disapproval of the large-scale Israel military action on Jordanian territory on 13 November. AS far as I am aware, the statement of my Government condemning that attack was the first and the most prompt statement made by any Government represented on this Council, at least here in New York. The United States then condemned this raid and condemns it now, deeming it in clear violation of solemn obligations undertaken by Israel in the General Armistice Agreements. And what it, of course, most deplorable is tragic toll in human lives of this inexcusable action.

87. On 14 October [1307th meeting], I stated before the Council my Government’s policy of seeking too promote conditions of peace and stability in the Middle East, and our opposition to the use of force across Middle East boundaries regardless of the direction from which it came. This was the purport of our statement on Sunday; this was our objective in the recently concluded Security Council action when Israel was complainant; it continues to be our objective in the present consideration of this deplorable violation of the General Armistice Agreements.

88. I said in our last debate, and I now repeat, that violence breeds violence, and indeed it should be and must be the function of this Council to assure conditions of peace and stability in the area. At the end of our last debate over Syrian responsibility for incursions into Israel, I stated:

“Despite the Soviet Union veto, it is nevertheless a matter of high import, no to be ignored, that the resolution received such widespread support by members on a broadly geographical basis.” [1319th meeting, para. 122.]

I urged the implementation of the essential features of the resolution in the interests of peace and stability in the area. That urging was addressed to all countries concerned, including the Government of Israel.

89. I made that statement on 4 November. Nine days later, as the Secretary-General has told us in his report and as is confirmed by reports of our Ambassadors in the area, the Government of Israel carried out, with support of tanks, armored vehicles, heavy weapons and aircraft, a raid into Jordan the nature of which, and the consequences of which in human lives and destruction, far surpassed the cumulative total of the various acts of terrorism conducted against the frontiers of Israel. Although we do not as yet have the full details which have been promised us by the Secretary-General, nevertheless, from his report and from what we have been advised, the basic nature of this destructive raid is sufficiently known in outline.

90. Now we are dealing with the complaint of Jordan which is here before us, and behalf of my Government I wish to make it absolutely clear that this large-scale military action cannot be justified, explained away or excused by the incidents which preceded it and in which the Government of Jordan has not been implicated. This is not new attitude on the part of my Government. My Government has expressed itself bout retaliatory raids in the past.

91. Deplorable as these preceding incidents were and they were deplorable, as we said on Sunday-this deliberate governmental decision must be judged as the conscious act of responsible leaders of a Member State and, therefore, on an entirely different level from the earlier incidents, which we continue to deplore. It was undertaken with out prior utilization of United Nations machinery in the area-notably, the Mixed Armistice Commission which, in this situation, unlike some others we have had to consider, is fully functioning between Israel and Jordan. It was also undertaken without any effort to use again-and even again, if necessary- the good offices of the Security Council, a failure made even more inexplicable by the fact that the Council had just completed extended discussion of and Israel complaint against Syria for similar incidents, during which over two thirds of the members had spoken out against which terrorist activities. I am aware that draft resolution was vetoed; but, nevertheless, the forum of this Council was still available to the Member States, as it is available today. It is our view that the Council should always today. It is our view that the Council should always be resorted to; we feel it is the duty of Member States to resort to the Council for consideration of the matter.

92. Without detailing our position, other than what I have already stated on all such past raids, I would recall my Government’s and the Council’s stand in recall my Government’s and the Council’s stand in 1953 on an incident which as some similarity to that being considered today. The Council at that time adopted resolution 101 (1953) that had been sponsored by my delegation together with the United Kingdom and France, which in its operative paragraph, reads:

Finds that the retaliatory action at Qibya taken by armed forces of Israel on 14-15 October 1953 and all such actions constitute a violation of the cease-fire provisions of Security Council resolution 54 (1948) and are inconsistent with the parties obligations under the General Armistice Agreement . . . and the Charter . . .

Expresses the strongest censure of that action which can only prejudice the chances of that peaceful settlement which both parties, in accordance with the Charter, are bound to seek, and calls upon Israel to take effective measure to prevent all such action in the future.”

We meant what we said then; we mean the same thing today.

93. Long before the adoption of the resolution I have just cited, the United Nations position on military action, such as that taken by Israel in Jordan on 13 November, was set forth in Security Council resolution 54 (1948) on 15 July 1948. That resolution cited the provisions of Article 40 of the Charter, in ordering the Governments and authorities concerned to desist from further military action and to issue cease-fire orders to their military and para-military forces.

94. Those principles were subsequently expanded by resolution 56 (1948) of 19 August 1948, which in paragraph 2 (d) specifically provides as follows:

“No party is permitted to violate the truce on the ground that it is undertaking reprisals of retaliations against the other party.”

95. And I need scarcely remind members of the Council that the parties themselves, in article of the General Armistice Agreement, have agreed that:

“No aggressive action by the armed forces . . . of either Party shall be undertaken, planned or threatened against the people or the armed forces of the other”.

96. The raid of 13 November, we must necessarily conclude, is clearly contrary to the resolutions and the Agreement I have cited, and the Council must speak our firmly against such a policy, which can lead only to disaster in the area, just as we urged the Council to speak out on other policies which we also condemned.

97. Now, this policy of retaliation, in our view, is contrary also to the requirements both of the Charter and of this Council, that peaceful means be utilized to settle such problems. Extensive United Nations machinery has for many years been in existence in the area to deal with complaints between the parties to the General Armistice Agreements, and as I have pointed out, unlike the case in other areas, such machinery has generally functioned well on the Israel utilized-by the parties concerned.

98. My Government is confident that the Government of the Kingdom of Jordan in good faith adheres to and respects its obligations under the General Armistice Agreement. Its record of co-operation with the United Nations peacekeeping machinery in the Middle East speaks for itself. In addition, the Security Council was actively concerned with security problems in the area just before the raid we are now considering. All these facts, in our view, make the Israel resort to force even more deplorable.

99. Having thus expressed our views against this and any such military raids, in unequivocal terms, I wish again to say what I said at the outset, and which we still: that violence breeds violence, and that it must be opposed in the Middle East regardless of the direction from which it comes. That is our view of how this Council, if it is faithful to the Charter complaints that come before it. The Council, and in particular its permanent members, cannot contribute effectively to peace in the Middle East unless the entire context is taken into account and all parties to the General Armistice Agreements are required by this Council to adhere to their legal obligations to prevent violence across the frontiers.

100. The events of the past four months in the Middle East, during which the Council has had three series of the meetings to consider breaches of the peace, speak for themselves as indicators of the degree of tension in the area, to which our colleague Mr. El-Farra and the representative of Israel have referred. Starting in mid-summer, there occurred in Israel, with seemingly little warning, a number of tragic incidents along the demarcation line between Syria and Israel, and that followed by an air strike on 14 July by Israel Air Force planes on a Syrian construction project.

101. In September and October, there occurred a series of further terrorist incidents within the borders of Israel, for some of which certain organizations outside its borders publicly claimed credit, and against which Syria did not commit itself to take effective action. The loss of life and damage resulting form those incidents caused the Government of Israel to complain to the Council on 12 October, as we all know. And we all also know that our debate was not conclusive because of the veto, which we regretted ad still regret.

102. We know that violence in the area continues now in the most deplorable form, and we know that we have unfinished business of the first magnitude before the Council.

103. I would call attention again in this regard specifically to paragraph 1 (b) of resolution 56 (1948) of 19 August 1948, which provides that:

“Each party has the obligation to use all means at its disposal to prevent action violating the truce by individuals or groups who are subject to its authority or who are in terrirtory under its control.”

104. The United States accordingly believes that the Council, as we said on the occasion when this item was discussed last time, should again speak out clearly against terrorist incidents, as it did at the time of the Qibya raid, in the interest of equity, peace and security and fairness, in order to deal with the total situation. But we have before us a complaint of great magnitude, as I said earlier in my remarks, and we cannot condone the action which the Government of Israel took in this regard.

105. My delegation and my Government makes an urgent appeal to all nations in the area to exercise restraint and to refrain form any acts or statements.which might tend to exacerbate this highly dangerous situation. The incident-the grave and serious incident-which we are now considering must not be repeated. We call on all Governments concerned strictly to adhere to the General Armistice Agreements and in particular to articles I and III, which provide that no aggressive actions by armed forces shall be undertaken, planned or threatened and that no warlike act shall be conducted from the territory controlled by one of the parties against the other.

106. We also think it would be most appropriate for the Council to ask the Secretary-General and General Bull to keep the situation in the area under close and constant review, reporting as appropriate to the Council.

107. In conclusion, a very valuable suggestion was made by the representative of Nigeria during our last discussion of the problem-a suggestion which did not emerge in the final action that we were considering. Chief Adebo urged that in the exercise of our responsibilities here we ought to consider what steps this Council can take to strengthen the fabric of peace in the area, either through the machinery of prevention, or the machinery of fact-finding or conciliation, or any other device this Council might think appropriate. WE thought that was a good suggestion then, and we think it is a good suggestion now. For the plain fact of the matter is that it should be apparent to all members of the Council, as it is apparent to the world, that despite everything that the United Nations machinery has done-and I commend the Machinery and the Secretary-General for their great contribution towards maintaining the peace, albeit and uneasy one, which has existed there-we cannot in good conscience, faithful to our obligations under the Charter, be satisfied with conditions which, if allowed to continue, will surely threaten the peace and security in the area, cause a greater sacrifice of human life and the involvement of an ever-widening circle of States.

108. We think that now is the time for this Council really to make its great contribution towards stabilizing the situation in that important part of the world.

The meeting rose at 1.15 p.m.


1/ See Official Records of the Security Council, Fourth Year, Special Supplement No. 1. v

2/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-first Session Annexes, agenda item 21 A/6406, para 26.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter