REPLY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL TO THE STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION
AND PRESENTATION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE PROPOSALS OF THE COMMISSION
Mr. FISCHER (Israel) said that the efforts which the Conciliation Commission had been devoting for nearly three years to the cause of peace had earned for its members and its Secretariat the esteem and respect of all who sincerely desired the return of lasting peace in the Middle East. Faithful to its line of conduct, which from the outset had been to cooperate with the Commission in the great task assigned to it by the General Assembly, the Government of Israel had accepted the commission’s invitation to take part in the present conference.
Before referring to the Chairman’s opening statement, the Israel delegation would like to submit a few observations on the atmosphere surrounding the opening of the conference. The very work “conference” evoked in the public mind the idea of a meeting of all the invited parties. It was not surprising that the public and the press should tend to interpret the calling of the parties to separate meetings as the result of the refusal of certain of them to meet the other, which other could be none but Israel, whose attitude of principle was well known. The adoption of an official stand by the Commission would serve to avoid any misunderstanding suggesting that the invitations to separate meetings were not the free choice of the Commission.
The Israel delegation deeply deplored the statement made on the occasion of the present conference by certain Arab leaders, which sent so far as to proclaim that the Arab States refused “to the end of time” to make peace with Israel, thereby manifesting an attitude as incompatible with the spirit of the Charter as with that of the Commission’s mission. In fact, such statements proclaimed in advance the failure of the Commission’s efforts. The Arab Governments had accepted the invitation, but their acceptance could be nothing more than a pure formality, devoid of all reality, so long as the attitude of extreme hostility, again so recently manifested, was not replaced by the expression of a sincere desire to live at peace with their neighour, Israel.
The text of the Chairman’s statement explaining the Commission’s intentions had been communicated to the Israel Government in order that it might transmit to its delegations the requested reply, for the nature and importance of the text were such that the Israel delegation could not reply until it received instructions. He assured the Commission that the question was being studied with all the diligence appropriate to its importance.
The Israel delegation had already received instructions to give satisfaction to the Commission on one specific and essential point which the Commission emphasized as being essential to any positive advance towards a peaceful solution of the question. It was in the desire to live peaceably together with Arab people, as good neighbours, that the Israel Government had sent a delegation to the present conference. It was therefore without reserve that his Government at the beginning of the conference, expressed its determination –- to use the Chairman’s own words –- to respect the rights of its neighbours to security and freedom from attack to refrain from hostile acts against them and to promote the return of permanent peace in Palestine.
The CHAIRMAN thanked the Israel representative for his statement and regretted the latter’s inability to reply to the opening statement. He hoped, nevertheless, that the Israel Government would be able to state its opinion before long, as it was important that all the delegations should receive the Commission’s comprehensive proposals. He was convinced that the proposals would enable the parties to have better understanding of the purpose of the present conference. His intention was to communicate them to the Israel representative in the course of the meeting and it would be regrettable if the latter were not in a position to receive them.
Mr. FISCHER (Israel) recalled that he had expressed the hope that the Commission would not hand out the proposals. It would be fairer not to communicate them to one party when the other party did not consider itself in a position to receive them. He explained that the fact that he did not consider himself prepared to received the proposals was bound up with a question of principle not yet settled by the Israel Government and not within the competence of that Government’s representative. He must therefore await instructions from his Government.
The CHAIRMAN thought that, in the circumstances, the Commission had no choice but to hope to received the Israel Government’s reply as soon as possible. He pointed out that the Commission’s comprehensive proposals were unquestionably of great interest and were so closely linked to the opening statement that they were of use in a study of the statement itself.
Mr. FISCHER (Israel) could only repeat the assurance that his Government was considering the matter with the utmost diligence.