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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/1113
A/AC.25/5

16 November 1949

Original: English

Fourth session
Item 18(b) of the agenda



PALESTINE

PROTECTION OF THE HOLY PLACES

Letter from the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine to the Secretary-General,
concerning protection of and free access to the Holy Places,
religious buildings and sites in Palestine outside the Jerusalem area


New York, 16 November 1949

By paragraph 7 of the resolution of 11 December 1948 (194 (III)), the General Assembly resolved that the Holy Places - including Nazareth - religious buildings and sites in Palestine should be protected and free access to them assured, in accordance with existing rights and historical practice. The Assembly further resolved that arrangements to this end should be under effective United Nations supervision and that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, with respect to the Holy Places outside the Jerusalem area, should call upon the political authorities of the are as concerned to give formal guarantees as to the protection of the Holy Places and access to them, which undertakings should be presented to the General Assembly for approval.

The Conciliation Commission accordingly addressed to the Heads of the Delegations of Egypt, the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom, Lebanon and Syria and to the Head of the Delegation of Israel, a letter dated 2 September 1949, communicating the text of a proposed Declaration to be made with respect to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites in Palestine outside the area of Jerusalem.

On 8 November 1949, Mr. A. Lourie, representative of Israel addressed a letter of reply on behalf of his Government to the Chairman of the Conciliation Commission.

On 15 November 1949, the Heads of the Delegations of Egypt, the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom, Syria and Lebanon transmitted on behalf of their respective Governments to the Conciliation Commission a Declaration made in New York on that date regarding the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites in Palestine outside the area of Jerusalem.

The Conciliation Commission has the honour to submit herewith copies of the three above documents for transmission to the General Assembly.

(Signed ) Canir YAICIN
Ely E. PAIMER
Claude de BOISANGER

HOLY PLACES, RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS AND SITES IN PALESTINE
OUTSIDE THE JERUSALEM AREA

A

Letter dated 2 September 1949 from the Conciliation Commission to
the Heads of the Arab Delegations and to the Head of the
Delegation of Israel, transmitting the text
of a draft Declaration

The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine has the honour to transmit to the Delegation of.a draft Declaration concerning the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites in Palestine outside the Jerusalem area.

By paragraph 7 of the resolution of 11 December 1948, the General Assembly resolved that the Holy Places - including Nazareth - religious buildings and sites in Palestine should be protected and free access to them assured, in accordance with existing rights and historical practice. The Assembly further resolved that arrangements to this end should be under effective United Nations supervision and that the Conciliation Commission, with respect to the Holy Places outside the Jerusalem area, should call upon the political authorities of the areas concerned to give formal guarantees as to the protection of the Holy Places and access to them, which undertakings should be presented to the General Assembly for approval.

In accordance with the terms of this provision, the Conciliation Commission has the honour, in transmitting the draft Declaration, to request that by this Declaration formal guarantees be given to the Conciliation Commission as soon as possible by the Government of.............. with respect to the protection of and free access to any Holy Places, religious buildings and sites of Palestine situated in the territory which may be placed under its authority by the final settlement of the Palestine problem or, pending that settlement, in the territory at present occupied by it under armistice agreements.

The Commission wishes to point out that this communication is not to be interpreted as prejudging in any way the final settlement of the territorial question in Palestine.

The Commission wishes finally to inform the Delegation of............... that a copy of this letter and the draft Declaration have been transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for his information.
(Signed ) Claude de BOISANGER
DRAFT DECLARATION


DRAFT DECLARATION CONCERNING THE
HOLY PLACES, RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS AND SITES
IN PALESTINE OUTSIDE THE AREA OF JERUSALEM.

The Government of.....

CONSCIOUS of its responsibilities concerning the preservation of the special character of Palestine, whose soil has been consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of the adherents of the three great religions;

DESIROUS of implementing the provisions of paragraph 7 of the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 11 December 1948 concerning the protection of and free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites in Palestine outside the area of Jerusalem as this area is defined in paragraph 8 of the resolution of 11 December 1948;

SOLEMNLY UNDERTAKES by the provisions of the present Declaration to guarantee the protection of and free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites of Palestine situated in the territory placed under its authority by the final settlement of the Palestine problem or, pending that settlement, in the territory at present occupied by it under armistice agreements;

Article 1

The free exercise of all forms of worship shall be guaranteed by the Constitution and effectively ensured by administrative practice in accordance with the Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948.
Article 2

The Holy Places, religious buildings and sites which were regarded as Holy Places, religious buildings and sites on 14 May 1948 shall be preserved and their sacred character protected. No act of a nature to profane that sacred character shall be permitted.
Article 3

The rights in force on 14 May 1948 with regard to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites shall remain in force.

The Government of...... undertakes in particular to assure the safety of ministers of religion, those officiating in religious services and the members of religious orders and institutions; to allow them to exercise the ministries without hindrance; and to facilitate their communications both inside and outside the country in connexion with the performance of their religious duties and functions.

Article 4

The Government of...... undertakes to guarantee freedom of access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites situated in the territory placed under its authority by the final settlement of the Palestine problem, or, pending that settlement, in the territory at present occupied by it under armistice agreements; and, pursuant to this undertaking, will guarantee rights of entry and of transit to ministers of religion, pilgrims and visitors without distinction as to nationality or faith, subject only to considerations of national security.

The Government of...... undertakes to give special consideration to such recommendations as may be made by the United Nations Commissioner in Jerusalem, or, pending his appointment, by the Representative of the United Nations in Jerusalem, dealing either with the elaboration or application of administrative regulations, police measures, or with the examination of individual requests for access to the Holy Places.
Article 5

No form of taxation shall be levied in respect of any Holy Place, religious building or site which was exempt from such taxation on 14 May 1948.

No change in the incidence of any form of taxation shall be made which would either discriminate between the owners and occupiers of Holy Places, religious buildings and sites, or would place such owners and occupiers in a position less favourable in relation to the general incidence of that form of taxation than existed on 14 May 1948.
Article 6

The Government of...... undertakes to establish a permanent Council composed of qualified persons chosen from among its own nationals and on which the United Nations Commissioner or, pending his appointment, the Representative of the United Nations in Jerusalem, shall be represented. This Council shall be charged with a study of measures to ensure the preservation of Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and to safeguard their sacred character, in accordance with article 2 of the present Declaration.
Article 7

The implementation of the above provisions shall be under the effective supervision of the United Nations Commissioner or, pending his appointment, of the Representative of the United Nations in Jerusalem.

The Government of...... undertakes to co-operate fully with the United Nations Commissioner or Representative in Jerusalem, to give him all necessary assistance, and to grant him the immunities and privileges necessary for the free and full performance of his functions.
Article 8

Disputes regarding the interpretation and the implementation of the present Declaration may be submitted either by the Government of...... or by the United Nations Commissioner in Jerusalem to the International Tribunal provided under the Instrument establishing a permanent international regime for the Jerusalem area. The decisions of the International Tribuna shall be binding on the parties.

Pending the establishment of the International Tribunal in Jerusalem, such disputes may be reported either by the Government of...... or by the United Nations Representative in Jerusalem to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for reference to the appropriate organ of the United Nations.
B

Letter dated 8 November 1949 from Mr. Arthur Lourie, representative of Israel
to the Chairman of the Conciliation Commission

I have the honour on behalf of the Government of Israel, to refer to the letter from the Commission dated 2 September enclosing a draft Declaration concerning the protection of the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites outside the area of Jerusalem.

2. My Government has given careful consideration to the draft Declaration and affirms its support for the safeguarding of Holy Places by binding declarations from the Governments concerned. The Government of Israel herewith reiterates its readiness solemnly to give formal guarantees for the free exercise in Israel of all forms of worship; for the preservation of Holy Places, religious buildings and sites in Israel, and for the associated amenities; for the granting of rights of visit, access and non-disturbance; and for appropriate measures in regard to taxation.

3. In considering the legal formulation of the matters contained in the Commission's draft Declaration, the Government of Israel has reached the conclusion that there are certain elements involved which have yet to be clarified. For example, the character of United Nations representation in regard to the Holy Places, and the method of settlement of disputes are still undecided. These matters, which are of cardinal importance in implementing any guarantees which may be given, are about to be discussed in the General Assembly of the United Nations. On these as well as on the general question of Jerusalem and the Holy Places, the Government of Israel intends at an early moment to make specific, positive and helpful proposals.

4. In the circumstances, my Government considers that it would be preferable to take up the actual formulation of a Declaration in the light of the situation soon to be clarified. The Government of Israel shares the desire of the Commission to achieve appropriate guarantees on the items above indicated. It is of the opinion, however, that it would in the circumstances be in the interests of a constructive and final settlement if the matter of formulation were dealt with after more far-reaching consideration of these problems by the General Assembly.
(Signed) Arthur LOURIE
/C Declaration
C

Declaration submitted by the Arab Delegations

The undersigned representatives of Egypt, the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom, Lebanon and Syria to the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, duly authorized by their respective Governments, hereby make the following declaration on behalf of their Governments:
Article 1

The free exercise of all forms of worship shall be guaranteed and ensured in accordance with the Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948.
Article 2

The Holy Places, religious buildings and sites which were regarded as Holy Places, religious buildings and sites on 14 May 1948 shall be preserved and their sacred character protected. No act of a nature to profane that sacred character shall be permitted.
Article 3

The rights in force on 14 May 1948 with regard to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites shall remain in force.

The Governments of Egypt, the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom, Lebanon and Syria undertake in particular to assure the safety of ministers of religion, those officiating in religious services and the members of religious orders and institutions; to allow them to exercise their ministries without hindrance and to facilitate their communications both inside and outside the country in connexion with the performance of their religious duties and functions.
Article 4

The Governments of Egypt, the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom, Lebanon and Syria undertake to guarantee freedom of access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites situated in the territory placed under their authority by the final settlement of the Palestine problem, or, pending that settlement in the territory at present occupied by them under armistice agreements; and, pursuant to this undertaking, will guarantee rights of entry and of transit to ministers of religion, pilgrims and visitors without distinction as to nationality or faith, subject only to considerations of national security, all the above in conformity with the status quo prior to 14 May 1948.
Article 5

No form of taxation shall be levied in respect of any Holy Place, religious building or site which was exempt from such taxation on 14 May 1948.

No change in the incidence of any form of taxation shall be made which would either discriminate between the owners and occupiers of Holy Places, religious buildings and sites, or would place such owners and occupiers in a position less favourable in relation to the general incidence of that form of taxation than existed on 14 May 1948.
Done in New York, 15 November 1949.



(Signed ) A. Monem MOSTAFA
Head of the Delegation of Egypt.
(Signed ) F. MULKI
Head of the Delegation of the Hashemite
Jordan Kingdom.
(Signed ) Edward A. GHORRA
for the Head of the Delegation of Lebanon.
(Signed ) Ahmad SHUKAIRY
Head of the Delegation of Syria
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