Second Progress Report of the Committee on Jerusalem (document Com.Jer/11)
The CHAIRMAN pointed out that the Second Progress Report of the Committee on Jerusalem had been submitted to the Commission primarily for purposes of information.
Commenting on the first sentence of paragraph 2 of the Report, he did not consider it desirable or accurate to state that considerable doubt existed “as to the possibility of internationalizing Jerusalem in a manner fully compatible with the letter and spirit of paragraph 8 of the resolution of the General Assembly of 11 December 1948 and acceptable to the parties concerned.”
Mr. BARCO (United States representative on the Committee on Jerusalem) pointed out that that statement had been made before the Committee had drawn up its Preliminary Draft for an International Regime for the Jerusalem area, which it considered to be fully compatible with paragraph 8 of the General Assembly’s resolution.
There being no objection, the Commission approved the Second Progress Report of the Committee on Jerusalem.
Draft press communique (document Press/9)
The CHAIRMAN informed the Commission that both the Israeli and the Arab delegations had agreed to the desirability of issuing a press communique stating that both parties undertook to collaborate towards the establishment of a just and permanent peace in Palestine. After due consideration of its terms, the Arab and Israeli delegations had expressed their approval of the following draft communique:
“Upon resumption of the Lausanne exchanges of views, the Conciliation Commission has considered it useful to define more precisely the objectives of those exchanges.
“The Arab delegations and the delegation of Israel have given express assurances regarding their intention to collaborate with the Commission with a view to the definitive settlement of the Palestinian problem and to the establishment of a just and permanent peace in Palestine.”
The Chairman also informed the Commission that the Press Officer would contact the Israeli and Arab delegations with a view to ensuring that his commentary on the communique would be fully in keeping with their views.
Mr. PORTER expressed his satisfaction that the Commission had succeeded in obtaining such a constructive statement.
The Commission agreed that the communique as approved should be given to the press.
Report by the Chairman of the General Committee on recent meetings of the Committee
Mr. de la TOUR DU PIN (Chairman, General Committee) recalled that the Committee had been instructed by the Commission to submit to the Arab and Israeli delegations the proposal of the Technical Committee concerning the establishment of mixed Arab-Israeli working groups to evaluate damage done to Arab property in Israel. The Committee had accordingly presented the proposal to the Israeli delegation at a recent meeting (Com.Gen./SR.25). The Israeli representatives, however, had considered the suggestion as premature, and had expressed a preference that the matter should be dealt with in connection with wider proposals on the refugee question as a whole, which would probably be submitted within a few days. In view of this attitude, the Committee had decided to postpone presentation of the proposal to the Arab delegations until a later moment; it would request the Commission’s approval of that decision.
The Commission had further instructed the General Committee to endeavour to secure a broadening of the present Israeli concept of the “family” as applied to the reuniting of members of separated families. In the same meeting with the Israeli delegation, the United States member of the Committee had drawn the attention of that delegation to the advantages of making the basis of their plan liberal rather than encouraging a liberal treatment of exceptions to the rule. The Turkish member of the Committee had submitted an alternative definition of the categories of refugees eligible for repatriation under the present programme, The Israeli delegation had agreed to transmit the definition its Government, but had expressed doubt as to whether it would receive favorable consideration, in view of the absence of any reply from the Arab States to the official Israeli request for appointment of officials at border posts to facilitate the re-entry of refugees.
At a subsequent meeting with the Arab delegations (Com.Gen./SR.27), the Committee had discussed the question of the appointment of officials at frontier posts. The four Arab delegations had unanimously agreed to request their Governments urgently to appoint such officials, subject to the reservations, first that such agreement should be without prejudice to the final settlement regarding repatriation of all refugees, and secondly, that they maintained their previous objections to the restrictive Israeli concept of the family.
Finally, the General Committee had asked the Arab delegations to state their position regarding the Israeli proposal for the unblocking of accounts on a reciprocal basis. The Egyptian delegation had not as yet received instructions from its Government in the matter. The other delegations had accepted the principle of reciprocity, while making a distinction between a general reciprocal unblocking of the accounts, regardless of the amounts involved, and unblocking on a basis of equality, pound for pound. The former procedure only was considered to be fair and just. Since the greater part of the blocked accounts were located in Egypt, the instructions awaited from the Egyptian Government would probably have considerable importance.
The General Committee expected to meet the Israeli delegation following the present meeting, and would discuss the Arab replies on the subject of the blocked accounts and of the arrangements for reuniting of families.
Mr. YALCIN pointed out that in connection with the repatriation of the refugees required by the resolution, the Israeli Government interpreted the word “home” as signifying any location within Israel. He asked whether the Arab delegations understood and accepted that interpretation.
Mr. de la TOUR DU PIN replied that the Israeli Government had undertaken, when repatriating members of families, to enable them to rejoin the head of the family wherever he might be at present located in Israel. The offer had been communicated by the General Committee to the Arab delegations in a memorandum in those terms (document Com.Gen./7), which had proved acceptable to them.
In reply to a question from Mr. Yalcin as to whether such reunited families would have the right to move from one place to another in Israel, Mr. de la Tour du Pin observed that the question had not been discussed. He pointed out that two considerations were involved: first, the humanitarian question of reuniting members of families, and secondly, the general conditions of life in Israel. Mr. Hirsch had given the assurance that Arab refugees returning to Israel would live under exactly the same laws as the Jewish inhabitants, without discrimination.
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