Home || Permalink


5 August 1949





(Working paper prepared by the Secretariat)

1. The question of the unblocking of Arab assets in Israel has been the subject of numerous discussions, and it appears useful, at a time when the General Committee has been considering the possibility of arranging for joint meetings of Arab and Israeli experts under the auspices of the United Nations, to give a brief account of the positions of the parties concerned.


2. The Commission was the first to mention, as one of the preliminary measures likely to create a favourable atmosphere for exchanges of views, the idea of unblocking Arab assets. The Commission asked the Government of Israel for an assurance that The Israeli Delegation replied: 3. The delegations of the Arab States submitted the following claim: 4. The delegations of the Palestine refugees have on several occasions submitted similar claims.

A. The Arab General Refugee Congress, through Mr. Bulos:

The delegation of Israel replied: (The delegation of Israel subsequently explained that Arabs returning to Israel would be granted free disposal of their assets which are at present blocked.) b) Mr. Bulos subsequently made a proposal which implied the intervention of the British Treasury, should the Jewish reply as to the proposal mentioned in para. a) be negative. Mr. Bulos’ proposal was transmitted by the General Committee to the delegation of Israel for information (Com.Gen/6): The Commission suggested that Arab depositors in British banks might ask the latter to take up the question of their blocked accounts with the British Government (letter from Mr. de Azcarate ORG/22).

c) In reply Mr. Bulos stated that the British banks had been approached more than once in the past twelve months, and were unable to do anything in the matter. He therefore suggested that the Commission request the views of the British Government on the question (document ORG/24 para. 2).

The Commission is studying this proposal and has not yet given an official reply.

B. The Jaffa and District Inhabitants Committee, having given an estimate of blocked assets, stated that

5. The Delegation of Israel replied to these various requests: 6. The Arab delegations accepted a proportional unblocking by both parties. They said they would hold themselves at the disposal of the Commission for studying the practical means of carrying out such unblocking (6.VIII.49).


7. First of all, a distinction must be made between The present working paper is restricted to the unblocking of Palestinian-Arab assets in Israel and Israeli-Arab assets in Arab countries. Point (2) will be dealt with in a separate document.

The first point to be settled is to ascertain who are the parties concerned.

One may regard as interested parties in connection with these unblocking measures, persons owning accounts who are:

8. Two methods of procedure may be considered:

A. The setting-up of, an ad hoc committee of experts, without political responsibility, which would:

This Committee of Experts might consist of an expert approved by the organizations of Palestinian Arab refugees and by the Arab delegations, and an expert appointed by the Government of Israel, who would meet under the permanent chairmanship of a representative of the Commission, assisted by the Secretariat. The Commission’s representative would be delegated by it for this question, and would report to it. This procedure appears to be flexible and would allow of unofficial and numerous contacts. It would be time enough, when the negotiations were completed, to have the agreement officially confirmed.

B. If, on the other hand, the Commission decided to appoint special committees, the problem of unblocking, the assets might be submitted to the economic committee.

9. It would be desirable before setting up any committee of experts, or entrusting the task to an economic committee, to obtain beforehand certain information concerning:

The breakdown of these assets is one of the factors which will make it possible to determine their liquidity, i.e. the possibility of transferring them for compensation purposes.

I. Israeli proposal concerning the unblocking of merchandise (Com.Gen.SR/28)

Mr. SASSON said that “although he lacked the necessary data, he wondered whether it would not be opportune, in the interests of all concerned, to envisage a plan whereby the value of any merchandise belonging to Arab Israelis and blocked by the Arab States might be taken in exchange for the release of frozen funds in Israel, if the Arab State concerned had none or insufficient assets to enable the State of Israel to undertake an exchange under the scheme it had already suggested. Mr. Sasson did not have any precise indications as to the quantity or nature of the merchandise blocked by the Arab States, and he had not as yet consulted his Government in the matter. He thought, however, that that would be a practical suggestion which the Committee might well consider and which would moreover be evidence of the State of Israel’s readiness to co-operate in the matter of unfreezing of Arab assets.”

*The term Palestinian Arabs is used to denote the Arab inhabitants of Palestine who do not possess Israeli citizenship;
the term Israeli Arabs to denote Palestinian Arabs of Israeli nationality.

Document in PDF format

Positions sur le déblocage des comptes bancaires des arabes - Comité général de la CCNUP Français