The following is a summary of the main points raised by the parties to the Lausanne meetings present at Lake Success (Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Syria) concerning the questions of Jerusalem and the Holy Places, Arab refugees and boundaries.
The statements summarised below were made for the most part in direct reference to Israelis eligibility or non-eligibility for membership of the United Nations. This emphasis has in most cases been omitted from the following note:
1) The Arab States had accepted the internationalisation of Jerusalem in order to protect the Holy Places. Internationalisation was the only solution whereby the interests of the three world religions could be defended and protected. An international zone, separating the parties to the conflict, would preclude the possibility of renewed hostilities.
2) If the Holy Places were severed from the rest of the city, freedom of access and the security of pilgrims could not be guaranteed, nor supplies assured.
3) The ad hoc Political Committee, if it sought the views of the Holy See on guarantees necessary to protect the Holy Places (as proposed in the Argentine draft resolution, A/AC.24/61), should also consult the authorities of other religious bodies. Moslems in particular had sanctuaries all over Palestine which were of great significance to hundreds of millions of Moslems throughout the world.
4. The ad hoc Political Committee should also seek information from the religious authorities concerning the fears which still existed regarding the form of control to be established in Jerusalem.
5) The Conciliation Commission’s reports gave no reassurance concerning Israel’s intentions with regard to Jerusalem and the Holy Places. They revealed that Zionist forces were entrenched in and around the Holy Places and that they maintained possession of more than half of the area to be internationalized and of practically all the other areas referred to in paragraph 8 of the resolution of 11 December. There was not the slightest indication that the Jews intended to evacuate these areas or to put them under effective United Nations control; the contrary seemed indicated (ad hoc Political Committee, 43rd and 46th meetings; Plenary 207th meeting).
1) Israel cooperated to the fullest extent with the Statute of November 1947. It bore no responsibility for the failure of that project, which was due to the armed resistance of the Arab States and to the refusal of organs of the United Nations to ratify or assume the necessary obligations.
2) Israel advocated the establishment of an international regime for Jerusalem concerned exclusively with the control of Holy Places and sites. If such a regime were established, the Government of Israel would cooperate with it.
3) Israel would also agree to place under international control the Holy Places situated in parts of its territory outside Jerusalem. It agreed that guarantees should be given for the protection of the Holy Places and free access thereto.
4) Israel was prepared to offer the fullest safeguards and guarantees for the security of religious institutions in the exercise of their functions, and to negotiate immediately with all religious authorities concerned with this end in view. Negotiations had already commenced with the Papal Envoy and with the Government of France.
5) Israel would persevere in its efforts to repair damage inflicted on religious buildings and sites in the course of the war, launched by the Arab States, with whom the initial responsibility for such destruction rested.
6) Israel regarded with pride and satisfaction its part in the restoration of peace and order which were the essential requisites of any reverent care for the Holy Places.
7) The integration of the Jewish part of Jerusalem had taken place as a natural historical process arising from conditions of war, from the vacuum of authority created by the termination of the Mandate, and from the refusal of the United Nations to assume any direct administrative responsibilities on the scene. This integration, which was paralleled by a similar process in the Arab area, was not incompatible with the establishment of an international regime charged with full juridical status for the effective protection of the Holy Places, no matter where situated. Israel would submit a proposal or alternative proposals for reconciling these interests to the fourth General Assembly. One such proposal had already been presented to the Conciliation Commission by the Prime Minister of Israel.
8) Israel would continue to seek agreements with the Arab interests concerned for the maintenance of peace and the reopening of blocked access into and within the City of Jerusalem. The negotiations now proceeding did not, however, affect the juridical status of Jerusalem, which Israel would seek to define by international consent.
9) Israel noted a disposition on the part of the Conciliation Commission and individual Member States to formulate new proposals for the satisfaction of international interests in Jerusalem. Israel would give its most earnest study to all such proposals, in the firm belief that the United Nations should only assume responsibilities which it was willing and able to exercise and which did not go beyond the limits required for the genuine fulfilment of universal religious interests.
10) The resolution of December 11 1948 provided for the discussion of a lasting solution for the Jerusalem problem at the Fourth Session. Israel believed that the General Assembly should on that occasion discuss the final juridical status of Jerusalem. Israel hoped to contribute to that discussion, either by commenting on proposals put forward or by submitting proposals of its own.
11) Profound religious interests gave Jerusalem a central and abiding place in Jewish spiritual life. All the sacred associations of Jerusalem derived ultimately from its Jewish origins. The preservation of synagogues, the right of access to the Wailing Wall and of residence within the Old City required international guarantees and implementation.
12) The above views were fully in accord with the principles of the Charter, with the resolution of December 11 and with the views of many members of the United Nations whose eligibility to retain their membership of the organization had never been questioned. The conscientious and honest regard which the Government of Israel had shown and would continue to show both for international interests and for the welfare of the population entitled it to present its record on Jerusalem as its highest point of credit.
13) Israel considered that its general policy with regard to Jerusalem and the Holy Places was in conformity with the objectives of the Papal Encyclical. On the other hand, Catholic spokesmen in the United States had expressed the view that the international status for Jerusalem was still capable of implementation in its entirety. Israel did not share this view.
14) Israel was still considering various plans for the future of Jerusalem, but were the Fourth Session of the General Assembly to open immediately, Israel would suggest that the incorporation of the Jewish part of Jerusalem into Israel should receive formal recognition from the General Assembly, which should acknowledge the right of the State of Israel to exercise its functions in that area. The word “sovereignty” was not used in this connection advisedly; in any case, the powers which Israel aspired to exercise even in the Jewish part of Jerusalem would not be unlimited, since Israel had already handed over to the international community full jurisdiction and authority in all matters relating to the Holy Places. An extensive military administration or financial undertaking on the part of the United Nations was no longer necessary, since order had been restored under existing administrations in both sections of the city.
15) Israel was prepared to consider alternative proposals for the future of Jerusalem and was in fact expecting one from the Conciliation Commission. Israel already knew that this proposal would be very different from the plan embodied in the resolution of November 1947. It should be noted that the General Assembly had not committed itself in advance to accept the proposals that the Conciliation Commission might draw up.
16) If the agreements reached as a consequence of negotiations now proceeding between Israel and certain religious authorities failed to win the approval of the Fourth General Assembly, Israel presumed that both parties would be entitled to revise them accordingly.
17) Israel would cooperate with the agencies of the United Nations with all the means at its disposal in the fulfilment of the resolution of 11 December 1948, which in its view was the last and valid word of the General Assembly on the future of Jerusalem. Its delegation in Lausanne was actively cooperating with the Conciliation Commission on the Jerusalem question. Israel did not feel that the divergent interests in this problem could not be swiftly recognised, and would cooperate with the Conciliation Commission in working out a practical scheme for Jerusalem.
18) In reply to a question put by the representative of Belgium asking whether if admitted to the United Nations, Israel would agree to cooperate subsequently with the General Assembly in settling the Jerusalem question, or whether it would invoke Article 2, paragraph 7 of the Charter (domestic jurisdiction of States), the representative of Israel stated that his Government would cooperate with the General Assembly. In his view Article 2, paragraph 7 could not possibly affect the Jerusalem problem, since the legal status of Jerusalem would be different from that of the territory over which Israel was sovereign. Furthermore, the application of article 2, paragraph 7 should be a matter for careful consideration if such application tended to deprive Assembly recommendations of all moral force. There was a divergency of legal theories about the validity of General Assembly recommendations, some giving them legal status, while others disregarded them at will. The representative of Israel could not say where his Government intended to stand between these two extremes, but it would certainly be nearer the first than the second.
19) The Arab States had not made a single proposal concerning the international regime they would be prepared to accept, nor had they promised to give up, if necessary, jurisdiction over Holy Places, as Israel had done. The Arabs had continued to reserve their right to reject any plan that might be presented.
20) The question whether Christians and Moslems who had lived in Jerusalem should be allowed to go back was an integral part of the refugee problem. It should be considered simultaneously with the question of the right of the Jewish inhabitants of the Old City to return to their homes.
(Ad hoc Political Committee 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th and 50th meetings)
21) Israel had taken careful note of the discussions on Jerusalem and the Holy Places in the ad hoc Committee. It would pursue its steadfast efforts to assist in the earliest possible settlement of this issue by discussions between Israel and the neighbouring states and through the good offices of the United Nations. It would strive to take a constructive and responsible part in whatever discussions might take place on this subject at the next session of the General Assembly.
(Plenary, 207th meeting, after Israel’s admission)
1) The Arabs favoured the internationalisation of Jerusalem and all statements to the contrary were not in conformity with the facts.
2) The point at issue was whether Jerusalem was to be partitioned or preserved as a Holy City for all mankind. The problem went far beyond a Jewish-Arab dispute and concerned that which was most sacred in Western civilisation.
3) Israel’s occupation of the greater part of the New City was making the establishment of an international regime impossible, was threatening the religious rights of Christian and Moslem communities in Jerusalem and was contrary to the expressed desires of the highest representatives of all Christian Churches and Moslem denominations. “Historical, political and religious reasons” made it impossible for Christians and Moslems, and for Christian and Moslem States, to accept the integration of Jerusalem, into the Jewish State, Even some representatives of the Jewish faith might possibly prefer an international to a Jewish. Jerusalem.
4) To admit Israel to the United Nations before ensuring the internationalisation of Jerusalem would be tantamount to allowing Israel to determine single-handed the fate of a city thrice holy to all three great faiths of mankind.
5) The present stand of Israel was in contradiction not only to the resolution of November 1947 but also to that of December 1948. The question of Jerusalem could not be settled by a compromise.
6) Partition would never have been voted and a Jewish State never accepted, had the resolution of November 1947 not provided for the internationalisation of Jerusalem. This provision had been reaffirmed by the resolution of 1948.
7) In distributing a questionnaire asking the Governments represented at Lausanne whether they would prefer Jerusalem to be partitioned or internationalised, the Conciliation Commission had exceeded its powers. It had no right to ask the Governments whether or not they wished Jerusalem to be partitioned.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 44th, 45th and 50th meetings; Plenary, 207th meeting).
1) Until there was a single government for the whole of Palestine, Jerusalem should be placed under an international regime. The United Nations should also place Nazareth under international control, since it was held sacred by Christians and Moslems, but not by Jews.
2) Jerusalem had not been allocated to Israel under any United Nations plan and the Jews had not the flimsiest grounds to justify their occupation of part of the city, except the argument of brute force.
3) The only way to remedy the present situation was to internationalise the city. This would permit Arab residents of the New City to return to their homes, thus contributing to a solution of the refugee problem. The majority of the Arab population of the New City had been expelled from their homes; if the present division of the city were accepted the Jews would continue in illegal occupation of the homes and property of the Arabs.
4) No real distinction had ever existed between the Old City and the new City; they were not independent entities. The administrative difficulties resulting from a permanent division of Jerusalem would lead to its ruin. The New City would be separated from the places which were Jerusalem’s greatest attraction; the Old City would become at best a museum and at worst a fossil,
5) If the present division of the city were accepted, Jerusalem would become the microcosm of the Palestine tragedy. If on the other hand it were made into an international zone, such as Tangier, Jerusalem would be the one place in Palestine where Arabs and Jews could live peacefully together; it would serve as a point of contact between the two peoples and be of incalculable importance for future relations between .Arabs and Jews.
6) The resolution of 11 December made a clear distinction between Jerusalem and the Holy Places, but the Jews had attempted to convince the world that the question of Jerusalem was in fact nothing more than the question of the Holy Places, on which latter point they were ready to give all the desired assurances. But if this theory were accepted, Israel’s statement that it would agree to the placing of Holy Places outside Jerusalem under international control was tantamount to accepting the placing of the whole of Palestine under an international regime.
7) Syria supported the Argentine proposal to ask the Vatican for its views on guarantees as regards the Holy Places, but considered that the views of other Christian churches, Moslem groups and Jewish sects should also be heard. Moslems throughout the world considered Jerusalem as the third sanctuary of Islam, and the Arabs of Palestine merely as the guardians of their Holy Places,
8) If the established rights of the great religions were explicitly or implicitly surrendered, the United Nations would alienate powerful and valuable support, of which it stood in need.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 48th and 49th meetings).
1) The reports of the Conciliation Commission and the statements of the Israeli representative to the Ad hoc Committee gave no semblance of assurance of any serious intention on the part of the Zionists to bear responsibility for their actions as regards refugees.
2) There could be no greater contempt of the aims and principles of the United Nations than the action of driving three-quarters of the lawful population of a country from their homes.
3) The representative of Israel had stated that a sad chapter of Jewish history was about to end. He was silent on the new and more cruel chapter which had been opened for the Arabs by Zionist action.
4) The Arab refugees apparently had no human rights. Who was going to pay for the property from which they had been driven, for their humiliation and sufferings and for their loss of a country? The Jews would not pay for this.
5) The resettlement of the refugees in other countries would constitute a negation of the rights of man as approved by the General Assembly. It would give rise to hatred in the hearts of all Arabs.
6) The argument of the Israeli delegation to the effect that the General Assembly had laid down a restrictive condition in stating that those refugees should return who wish to live in peace with their neighbours** was a ridiculous and preposterous attempt to evade the carrying out of the Assembly’s resolution of December 11 1948. The phrase had only been introduced into the resolution with a view to calling on the Israeli authorities to ensure the security of returning Arabs.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 43rd and 46th meetings; Plenary, 207th meeting).
1) The problem of the Arab refugees was a direct consequence of the war launched by the Arab States and was therefore the entire responsibility of those States.
2) The problem had, however, raised a deep humanitarian issue and also had serious implications for the future peace, development and welfare of the Middle East. The solution of this problem was inseparably linked with a general peace settlement and could only be found within the framework of such a settlement.
3) Israel maintained that resettlement of the refugees in neighbouring areas should be considered as the main principle of solution because (a) they could be integrated into such areas with no political friction and could live under a Government akin to them in spirit and tradition; (b) the economic and other potentialities of the underpopulated and undeveloped areas of the Arab States presented greater possibilities for resettlement than were afforded by Israel. Israel hoped that the Arab States would face up to their responsibilities and opportunities in the matter.
4) Israel, however, was ready to make its own contribution to the problem. Its first objective at Lausanne would be to reach an agreement through direct negotiation on the contribution to be made by each Government towards the resettlement of agreed proportions of refugees. Israel’s contributions would depend entirely on the formal establishment of peace and relations of good neighbourliness with the Arab States. It was not yet ascertainable how many refugees might wish to return under conditions that might be prescribed by the Assembly, or how many Israel could receive in the light of existing political and economic considerations.
5) It was unrealistic to make commitments in advance as to mathematical proportions of refugees to be accepted by various States. The provision of the Assembly’s resolution of December 11 relating to the return of refugees to their homes was conditioned by two considerations: first, the existence of peaceful conditions, for otherwise the whole criterion of living in peace with their neighbours would not arise: second, practicability. The exact number of refugees who wished to return, who wished to live at peace with their neighbours, and who could go back at a practicable date, would be a matter of lengthy negotiation. Furthermore, a great amount of preparatory work of an economic, social and financial nature would have to precede the return of the refugees.
In answer to a question by the representative of Lebanon as to whether, supposing the necessary preliminaries were accomplished and a certain number of refugees wished to return, the Government of Israel would be prepared now to undertake to accept that number, the Israeli representative stated that the number itself would affect the prospects of peace and the criterion of practicability. His Government held that an Assembly resolution could not be rejected, but its revision could be sought through normal and parliamentary forms.
6) Asked by the representative of Denmark how Israel reconciled its standpoint that the rights of the refugees should be dealt with as a subject of negotiation between States, and not as the rights of individuals, with Article 1, paragraph 2 of the Charter (equal rights and self-determination of peoples), the representative of Israel declared: (a) that the Assembly recommended the establishment of an Arab and a Jewish State in November 1947 in order to confirm the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; (b) that Article 1, paragraph 2 referred to relations between groups (nations or peoples) and did not affect the duty of a Government regarding the rehabilitation of individual refugees, which was a matter for agreement between Governments; (c) that the problem could only be approached on a governmental level, in view of the preparatory technical work involved; (d) that the only effect of Article 1, paragraph 2 on the refugee problem should be to ensure that the refugees were settled in the manner most conducive to the development of friendly relations between the States concerned.
7) Israel had already announced its acceptance of obligations to make compensation for abandoned lands. The entire question of compensation might well be settled by negotiations at Lausanne, as well as the general question of reparations and war damage.
8) Israel reaffirmed its obligation to protect the persons and property of all communities within its borders. It would discountenance any discriminations or interference with the rights and liberties of minorities. It looked forward to the possibility of relaxing restrictions on the liberty of persons or property, and wished that the Arab Governments would make a similar declaration of willingness to discontinue measures against Jewish citizens in their countries.
9) Israel observed with sympathy, and was prepared to assist in, the relief work of international agencies on behalf of the refugees.
10) An immediate declaration by all Governments concerned of their desire for an early peace settlement would create a favourable atmosphere for the discussion of the refugee problem.
11) Asked by the Belgian representative whether, if admitted to the United Nations, Israel would cooperate subsequently with the General Assembly in settling the refugee question, or whether it would invoke Article 2, paragraph 7 of the Charter (matters within the domestic jurisdiction of States), the representative of Israel said that his personal opinion was that although the principle of sovereignty was more applicable in the case of refugees than of Jerusalem, legal rights should not in this case be insisted on. Israel recognised that its moral duty was to make its contribution towards a solution, irrespective of its legal position.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th and 50th meetings).
12) Israel, had taken careful note of the discussions on refugees in the ad hoc Political Committee. It would pursue its steadfast efforts to assist in the earliest possible settlement of this issue by discussions between Israel and the neighbouring States and through the good offices of the United Nations. It would strive to take a constructive and responsible part in whatever discussions might take place on this subject at the next session of the General Assembly.
(Plenary, 207th meeting, after Israel’s admission).
1) Ninety per cent of the Arab population of Israel was at present outside its borders. The solution of their problem involved much more than temporary relief measures; it required the return of the refugees to their homes and occupations and to the conditions of human dignity which it was one of the basic objectives of the United Nations to secure. Could the Jews accept that their own uprootedness and homelessness should be cured by inflicting similar homelessness on others?
2) It had not been the intention of the United Nations that the Jewish State should rid itself of its Arab citizens. The partition plan, on the contrary, had contained provisions for minority rights.
3) The dispersion of Arab refugees would cause political, social, economic and spiritual disturbance in the Middle East.
4) The houses, land and furniture of the Arab refugees were being used by new Jewish immigrants. The establishment of these immigrants would create a de facto situation giving the Israeli authorities an excuse to claim that the principle of repatriation was difficult to implement.
5) It was impossible to conclude, from the Israeli statements to the ad hoc Committee, that Israel would take basic into its territory all the Arab refugees who wished to return. Israel’s statement that it did not exclude the possibility of repatriating a limited number of refugees promised nothing and committed Israel to nothing. It was obvious that Israel was going to use the refugees as a bargaining counter and that it intended to exact a price for the return of even a limited number of refugees. To admit Israel to the United Nations at that stage would be virtually to condemn about one million Arabs to permanent exile, death, poverty, insecurity and bitterness.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 45th and 50th meetings; Plenary, 207th meeting).
1) The real meaning of Israel’s statement that the refugee problem could only be solved within a general peace settlement was that the Jews were ready to use the misery of the refugees as a means of bargaining during the negotiations for a permanent political settlement. If the Jews sincerely wanted to settle their differences with the Arabs, they would not seek to derive advantage from the tragedy of the refugees.
2) It was ironical that the United Nations, instead of trying to improve the lot of the refugees and to return them to their homes, should be discussing the admission of the State which was responsible for the refugees’ plight.
3) The Israeli statements in the ad hoc Political Committee confirmed that Israel had neither the desire nor the intention to conform to the provisions of the General Assembly’s resolution relating to refugees. The admission of Israel before obtaining from her not only assurances, but the practical application of such assurances, would be tantamount to recognising that the refugees were to be expelled from their homes for ever.
4) The Israeli statement regarding compensation for abandoned lands was expressed in the vaguest terms. Israel had not specified that adequate compensation would be paid; and the question had been linked with what was termed the general question of reparations and war damage. This would appear to suggest that the Jews intended to make counter claims against the Arabs which should be settled by negotiation at Lausanne. Even if it were true, which in fact it was not, that the Jews could claim reparations and war damages, the total thus claimed would be far less than the total value of the Arab lands and property seized by the Jews.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 48th and 49th meetings).
1) Although the General Assembly was considering the application of a State for membership of the United Nations, the boundaries of that State were undefined; the Assembly was studying the application of a State which had in effect no frontiers.
2) The territory over which Israel might have control was the subject of controversy. The territorial provisions of the Armistice Agreements were purely military in character and did not prejudge the boundaries to be defined by the final settlement.
3) Jewish immigration would result in future expansionist territorial aims on the part of Israel.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 46th meeting; Plenary, 207th meeting).
1) Israel did not view the boundary question as a major obstacle on the road to a settlement.
2) The fact that the Arab State envisaged by the resolution of 29 November 1947 had not come into being, together with the circumstances of war and military occupation, rendered essential a process of peaceful adjustment of the territorial provisions of that resolution. The representatives of the General Assembly had themselves from time to time made proposals for effecting changes in those territorial provisions.
3) Israel interpreted paragraph 5 of the resolution of 11 December 1948 as a directive to the Governments concerned to settle their territorial difficulties by process of negotiation. This was apparently the view of the Conciliation Commission, which had indicated its willingness to begin boundary discussions at an early stage of the Lausanne meetings.
4) The successful armistice negotiations on boundaries, which had involved a process of reciprocal concession, was an encouraging precedent. During those negotiations, the United Nations had not attempted to lay down fixed principles, having in mind the general interest of peace rather than the absolute assertion of unilateral claims. The Israeli Government presumed that a similar process of thought and discussion would be followed by the parties in territorial discussions at Lausanne.
Israel assumed that the General Assembly would welcome any territorial settlement resting upon the agreement of the parties concerned.
6) Membership of the United Nations would allow Israel to feel more confident about its future territorial security, and would thus aid in bringing about a rapid territorial settlement. The need for such a settlement was reinforced by the Conciliation Commission’s view that a territorial settlement was essential for the solution of the refugee problem.
7) The Israeli delegation at Lausanne had proposed a draft as a basis for immediate discussion of territorial questions. Its purpose was to offer a legal and international framework for the common boundaries that might be agreed by early negotiation. Israel’s objective was to establish a system of safeguards removing any fear of encroachment by either side.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 45th meeting).
8) Israel had taken careful note of the discussions on boundary questions in the ad hoc Committee. It would pursue its steadfast efforts to assist in the earliest possible settlement of this issue by discussions between Israel and the neighbouring States and through the good offices of the United Nations. It would strive to take a constructive and responsible part in whatever discussions might take place on this subject at the next session of the General Assembly.
1) Israel at present included Western Galilee, Jaffa, Lydda, Ramleh and other Arab areas allotted by the General Assembly to the Arab State, as well as the New City of Jerusalem, which the Assembly had defined as part of an international area. To admit Israel to the United Nations forthwith, before it had given up the territory not allotted to it by the United Nations, would be equivalent to giving a blank cheque to draw its frontiers as it wished or as it was able.
2) It was difficult to distinguish between what the Israeli authorities considered as part of Israel and what they held to be temporarily occupied territory — if such a distinction existed in their minds.
The fact that Israel included in its territories areas allotted by the General Assembly to the Arabs and to an international administration, disqualified it from membership of the United Nations.
(Ad hoc Political Committee, 48th meeting)
*The first twelve points noted below summarise the detailed statement on Jerusalem made on 5 May 1949 by the representative of Israel to which Mr. Eytan referred in his letter of 31 May to the Chairman of the Committee on Jerusalem (Com.Jer./9) (Extracts from this statement were circulated as document Com.Jer./W.20). The remaining points summarise observations made in amplification of this statement, or in reply to questions put by members of the ad hoc Political Committee.
**See point (5) under “Israel’s below.
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