UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE
SUMMARY RECORD OF A MEETING BETWEEN THE CONCILIATION COMMISSION
AND THE DELEGATIONS OF ISRAEL
Held at the Hotel de Carillon, Paris,
On Friday, 21 September 1951,
at 5.00 p.m.
- Reply of the Government of Israel to the Chairman’s opening statement
Mr. FISCHER (Israel) again thanked the Commission for its welcome to his delegation. It had always been the earnest desire of the Israel Government to see permanent peace established, for the sake not only of the Middle East but of the world as a whole. His Government was convinced that peace and stability in the Middle East was a vital necessity for the peace of the world. The Israel delegation had come to the conference for the purpose of negotiating a final peace settlement with the Arab States.
The Israel Government had already made known to the commission the views it had strongly and consistently held, that only by direct negotiations between Israel and her neighbours could there be any real hope of achieving peace. That was the conclusion which the Commission itself had reached last year and had duly reported to the General Assembly. If the Arabs had any genuine desire for the settlement of the outstanding problems, they would agree to talk those problems over and work our mutually acceptable procedures. They could not claim to want a settlement and at the same time refuse to discuss it with the other party. If direct and frank talk was made impossible by the continued refusal of the Arab delegation’s to meet with the Israel delegation, he feared that latter’s presence at the conference would be of no great profit.
As a first step towards the achievement of peace, the Israel delegation, as already indicated, was willing to subscribe to a declaration such as that indicated by the Commission, concerning each country’s right to security and freedom from attack, and binding each to refrain from warlike or hostile acts against one another and to promote the return of permanent peace. The Israel delegation agreed with the Commission that no constructive progress would be possible unless all the parties, at the outset of the conference, explicitly accepted those obligations. Israel was prepared to extend to the Arab States the offer of a pact of non-aggression. Their acceptance would be a token of their willingness to work towards the essential goal of the conference –- the restoration of peace in the Middle East.
The plight of the Arab refugees was the direct result of the hostilities launched by the Arab themselves against Israel to crush her out of existence at birth. The real claim of the refugees lay against the Arab Governments which had sent their armies to invade Israel, in cynical violation of their international obligations. For its part, the Israel Government was willing to make a contribution to the resettlement of the refugees, provided that such an arrangement be mutual. Israel had taken in some 200,000 Jewish refugees from the Arab Governments concerned. His delegation was willing to embark upon a discussion of the question with the Arab States, with a view to finding a constructive overall solution.
Israel was also willing to take up the question of blocked accounts, subject likewise to the understanding that any discussion would include the blocked accounts in Iraq and Jews who had left that country and been admitted to Israel.
The main objective was the achievement of peace. There were three preliminary steps which might lead to it: acceptance by the parties of anon-aggression agreement, direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab States and, before any proposals were considered, the adoption of an agenda; for it was impossible to expect a conference to succeed if the parties had not agreed –- or been given the opportunity to agree –- upon the subjects of discussion and the procedure to be followed.
If the Arab countries refused to commit themselves to a policy of peace, and were unable to state that their intention in coming to the present conference was to seek the return of peace, all efforts to that end were doomed to failure. It, on the other hand they were as anxious as Israel was to pave the way towards peace, Israel would be happy to meet them in a common effort to achieve that aim and in those circumstances success would not elude their grasp.
The CHAIRMAN said that the Commission had listened with great interest to Israel’s reply to the opening statement. According to the procedure arranged, the Commission would hand its proposals to the Israel delegation. He added that the Commission would study Israel’s reply with the greatest care.
Mr. FISCHER (Israel) recalled that, as pointed out in his statement, his Government thought that, before any proposals were considered, an agenda should be established and a procedure for the conference arranged. However, if the Chairman wished, he would transmit the commission’s proposals to his Government, on the understanding that they would not be made public.
The CHAIRMAN recalled that the Commission had already modified its procedure by delaying the presentation of its proposals to Israel until the Israel Government’s reply had been received; it was similarly ready to delay the publication of its proposals in order to enable that Government to study them.
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