PALESTINIAN (PM) TAKE #1
Prince Feisal declared that the Palestinian question was complicated because it was deliberately rendered so, and because it was not intended to be solved. Those responsible for the complication were, said Prince Feisal, primarily Great Britain and the United States, and secondly the League of Nations. Great Britain, he said, was responsible because her leniency made the Zionists covetous. Partition, he explained, was not a solution; a minority inside a country could reasonably claim a part of this country.
Prince Feisal also declared that he could neither comprehend nor just by the intervention of the United States in the Palestine question all her support for the Zionists.
Why do not the United States, he asked, open their gates to the refugees since the U.S. are richer and more spacious than Palestine.
Prince Feisal warned the Committee that partition would set a dangerous example for the various religious minorities and political groups all over the world.
Continuing, Prince Feisal said he had not found anything new in the recent speech of the United States delegate; he had sided with the Jews, thereby encroaching on the most fundamental rights of men. The Arabs, he said, did not harbor any enmity towards the Jews who, for long centuries, had lived among the Arabs and had been well treated.
The Arabs, he went on, regret what the Jews met with at the hands of Hitler. But, he added, their affliction should not be used as a weapon for encroachment on the rights of others.
Prince Feisal denied that the Arabs were indulging it threats or wanting to disturb world peace. The Arabs, he said, absolutely rejected partition and refused to accept it as a basis for discussion because partition did not lead to peace but would lead to constant conflict which might spread beyond the borders of Palestine.
Prince Feisal welcomed the declaration of the United Kingdom Government that it was prepared to terminate the Mandate and to declare Palestine independent. It was up to the British, he said, to set a date for their promises. As for the Arabs, he added, they were well equipped to help their brethren in Palestine to maintain peace and order during the transitory period. Those elements or the population, he said, who would interfere with this would be treated in the same manner as any country treats factions who trample on the laws and disturb peace.
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Dr. Arce further declared that even if a solution were to obtain the support of the two-thirds of the General Assembly, the latter had no authority to set up an army of volunteers to enforce such a solution.
True enough, Dr. Arce continued, the Assembly might ask the Security Council to enforce the solution, but was not the main task of the United Nations to preserve peace?
Although, said Dr. Arce, the Argentine delegation wished to help in the creation of a Jewish National Home, it could not advocate the use of force for the creation of a Jewish State.
It was necessary, Dr. Arce said, to devise a compromise which would satisfy at least some of the claims of both sections of the people of Palestine. The Arabs and Jews should be asked, he said, to renounce part of their aspirations, to submit, themselves, a compromise solution, and then, he added, let us help them to carry out this solution.
Dr. Arce added that he was aware such a suggestion would not meet with the approval of the Jews, but, he said, he would rather incur their opposition than violate the Charter and use force against the population of Palestine.
Dr. Arce proposed to set up a joint committee of Arabs and Jews of Palestine, to be presided over by an impartial person designated by the General Assembly. This Committee would be entrusted with the task of finding a solution acceptable to both contending parties. If, added Dr. Arce, the United Kingdom were to give up the Mandate for Palestine, the United Nations might take over the administration of the country until the above mentioned committee ended its work.
Before concluding, Dr. Arce referred to the question of displaced persons, Jewish and non-Jewish. Dr. Arce suggested that the Assembly ask the Economic and Social Council to set up a sub-committee of 5 or 7 members whose task it would be, in three months or less, to find homes for all the displaced persons in various countries of the world. The expense of settling them, he said, should be supported by the United Nations.
Mr Creech-Jones began by saying that the United Kingdom set out 30 years ago to establish a National Home for the Jewish people and undertook to do nothing which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.
It had proved, he said, a thankless, and ultimately an impossible responsibility for, in the nature of things, neither Jews nor Arabs had been satisfied that their rights and claims had been fully acknowledged by the Mandatory; neither had felt able to assume genuine responsibility in government or administration and neither had been prepared to acknowledge differences and find some mutual accommodation.
Nevertheless, he added, the National Home had been established, a Jewish community of over 600,000 had been built up, the total population had doubled, social standards had improved and economic activities increased to the advantage of everyone.
Continuing, Mr. Creech-Jones said that if efforts to find accommodation between the Arab and Jewish communities in Palestine had failed, this could not be attributed to the various terms of the White Paper of 1939 which in a number of major respects had not been implemented. Indeed, he said, immigration had continued well beyond the 75,000 contemplated.
Mr. Creech-Jones said that in discussions with the two communities in recent years, the United Kingdom Government had evolved a number of proposals within the terms of the Mandate but experience finally convinced them that an impartial consideration by an international and independent authority was needed. This decision, he explained, seemed the more necessary because there existed prejudices and suspicions about Britain’s role in Palestine and these had been expressed over a period in bitter and unfriendly terms.
Mr. Creech-Jones then went on to repeat what, he said, he had already made clear in his first statement to the Committee - that he could not easily imagine circumstances in which the United Kingdom would wish to prevent the application of a settlement recommended by the Assembly regarding the future structure of Palestine. Furthermore, he said, the United Kingdom Government’s decision to make an early withdrawal not only of their forces but also of their administration was designed to remove all lingering doubts, to induce both parties to face up to the consequences of failure to come to an agreement, to emphasize the urgency of the whole matter and to leave the United Nations unhampered in its recommendations as to the beet solution for the future government.
Mr. Creech-Jones also declared that in the judgement of the United Kingdom Government a Mandatory Government might voluntarily relinquish the administration of a mandate.
Mr. Creech-Jones then said that no solution could be divorced from the question of its implementation. It seemed essential, he said, that in determining the nature of a settlement, the Assembly should also determine the measures to implement it.
But, he added, the United Kingdom Government was not prepared to carry sole and full or even major responsibility for the administration of Palestine and for enforcing changes, which the United Nations regarded as necessary, for an indefinite transition period.
Mr. Creech-Jones expressed the hope that in view of the British firm intention to withdraw, both the Jewish and Arab communities would be seized with their realities of the situation and would appreciate to the full the unhappy consequences that could follow to themselves and their country by failure to agree on the future of Palestine.
He also expressed the hope that anxieties now felt in the Middle East about the present deliberations of the United Nations and their possible outcome would not lead to military preparations or deployment of force amongst the peoples concerned.
Continuing, Mr. Creech-Jones said that another dangerous factor in the present situation whether traffic in illegal immigration into Palestine and the connivance of some Governments in the provision by their nationals of ships, arms and money to defeat the Mandatory in the very difficult task of upholding the rule of law in Palestine. This factor, he said, greatly influenced the feeling of the Arab world and set irresponsible influences at work which could not readily be controlled.
The immigration question, he declared, was one which aroused bitter feelings in Palestine and proposals for a change in the status quo should not be lightly put forward by those who had no responsibility for the consequences. An urgent contribution to the solution of the Palestine problem, said Mr. Creech-Jones would be the absorption of Jews and other displaced persons in countries besides Palestine.
Concluding, Mr. Creech-Jones stated that if the Assembly should recommend a policy which was not acceptable to the Jews and Arabs some authority alternative to the United Kingdom must be provided in order to implement the United Nations policy.
Mr. Lawrence declared that it was the failure of Arabs and Jews to reconcile themselves to a common political point of view that compelled the Mandatory Power to bring the problem to the United Nations.
The United Kingdom, he said, had not failed to carry out the Mandate, and he added that the presence in Palestine today of flourishing and prosperous Jewish and Arab communities was the best answer to such criticism.
Turning to the Report of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, Mr. Lawrence stated that the minority proposals failed to offer a clear-cut solution of the Palestine question and that their acceptance would only prolong the present the state of uncertainty.
He therefore gave his support both to the unanimous and the majority recommendations. The latter, he explained, might not offer the ideal solution of the Palestine problem, but they at least provided for finality and for a workable solution, and one which made possible a speedy transition into reality of the conception of a National Home.
Mr. Lawrence reminded the Committee that the establishment of a National Home for the Jews had for long received the support of Field-Marshal Smuts, and that it was declared, international policy from 1919 onwards.
Mr. Lawrence asked that if the solution of partition were adopted, the establishment of an economic union should receive careful attention.
Concluding, Mr. Lawrence supported the Canadian proposal for the creation of a subcommittee, including the Big Five, to deal with the question of the transition period, and the United States proposal for the creation of another subcommittee to determine the boundaries of the two proposed States.
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Dr. Belt said if Cuba thought the majority report was just, it would approve it. However, he said, Cuba felt strongly - as the Jewish Agency had stated in the Ad Hoc Committee - that the majority report was a denial and betrayal of the rights of the Jewish people.
Dr. Belt added that the Cuban Delegation was against the adoption of the Majority recommendations also on the ground that it would endanger the peace.
Dr. Belt, in closing, said the delegation of Cuba would willingly support any United Nations plan to harbor the Displaced Persons of Europe.
The British Government, said Sir Carl, had earnestly endeavored to carry out an obligation which might well have been, from the commencement, impossible of achievement. Nevertheless, he added, something of lasting value had been achieved in Palestine, and conditions now existed as would justify the establishment of a Jewish State and of an Arab State.
Sir Carl declared that his Government had come to the conclusion that in the present circumstances there was no acceptable alternative to the principle of partition. He added that in considering this, or any other solution, the United Nations must equally and at the same time concern themselves with the question of how such a solution was to be brought about.
Dr. Jamali went on to state that in dealing with the question of Palestine came up against a conflict between logic and emotion. Dr. Jamali took up several statements from a speech in the Committee made by the Representative of Uruguay, and he asked how much of this speech - which chiefly dealt with the humanitarian side of the Jewish problem - would stand the test of logic. The world, said Dr. Jamali, must do something to solve the Jewish problem on an international scale. The people of Palestine, he said, need not pay by the loss of their freedom for what happened to the Jews elsewhere.
Turning to the recent speech by the Representative of Poland, Dr. Jamali commented that his encouragement to the Polish Jews to emigrate to Poland was hardly a humanitarian or a patriotic gesture.
Dr. Jamali then declared that it was of the utmost importance to determine whether the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate over Palestine mere right or wrong. “In the name of humanity,” said Dr. Jamali, “we are not to violate other people’s rights; to self-determination, freedom and independence; we must distinguish between rights well established, and claims which have been falsely repeated so often as rights….”
Replying to the speech of the delegate of Guatemala, on the achievements of the Jewish colonists, Dr. Jamali said that even an unlimited amount of dollars and western technique, tremendous development was possible. The Zionists, said Dr. Jamali, rarely spoke of the great losses incurred in, what they achieved.
Of the speech by the delegate from the United States, Dr. Jamail said it did not surprise him because “we know very well that the people of the United States have been subjugated to Zionist propaganda for the last 25 years.”
The United States Government, said Dr. Jamali, had never spoken of a Jewish State and never interpreted the Jewish National Home to be a State before.
But, he added, recently Zionist pressure coinciding with the electoral season, had produced this new United States policy.
Coming to the United States proposal to enforce the United Nations decision through an international volunteer force, Dr. Jamali declared the proposal would lead to a new era of trouble in the Middle East.
Dr. Jamali then gave his views on the Report of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine.
He dwelt at some length on the setting up of the Committee and on its terms of reference, and then went on to say that instead of engaging itself with the problem of Palestine alone, the Committee partially engaged itself with the problem of refugees which was in the realm of the International Refugee Organization. The Committee, he said, gave the Arab States only two days for official hearings and questioning.
Dr. Jamali declared that the Majority Report of the Committee could stand examination in the light of: (1) Legal and moral principles, the principles of the United Nations Charter; (2) The political and international affecting peace and security in the Middle East; (3) Practicability and implementation.
Dr. Jamali said that the majority report was defective not only because it did not give enough weight to the natural Arab rights to their own country, and to self-determination, rights already recognised in the Covenant of the League of Nations and by the United Nations’ Charter, but because it gave the Zionists that which was never promised to them namely a Jewish State.
Dr. Jamali said that the economic life of Palestine was one and indivisible, and could not be broken up by partition without causing chaos. Furthermore, he said, Arabs and Jews were so interspersed that it was impossible to define boundaries that would completely separate the Jews from the Arabs. The proposed boundary, he said, would create a Jewish State with an Arab and Bedouin majority. It would also, he said, give the most fertile part of the country to the Jewish State. Thus, he said the Arab State would not be viable.
The Arabs, said Dr. Jamali, would certainly resist being subjected to this state of affairs. Before concluding his speech, Dr. Jamali took up the question of immigration, and stated that the Majority Report, whilst recognizing that Palestine was densely populated, suggested further Jewish immigration into this country without, however, giving the Arabs any say in the matter.
Any decision, said Haekal Pasha, creating a Jewish State could not fit within the framework of the Charter, nor within the prerogative of the General Assembly or any other organ of the Organization.
Such a decision, he said, - regardless of how overwhelming a majority approve it - would be null and void. Since the Charter alone gave Members their powers, he said, they had no power outside of the Charter.
Haekal Pasha expressed the hope that the UNSCOP Report would be shelved like so many previous reports on Palestine which, he said, had failed to solve the Palestine problem because they had all considered Palestine in the false light of Zionism or as a palliative to the persecution of the Jews.
Even the most overwhelming majority, said Haekal Pasha, could not act against a clear and precise stipulation of the Charter, nor could it ignore inherent justice or right.
“We are all too mature today”, he said, “to have anyone tell us that the majority is always necessarily right. It cannot be overlooked that the majority may have its passions as well as its prejudices. This Organization was never intended to become necessarily the weapon of the greatest number or the greatest strength,”
Continuing, Haekal Pasha said that the initial error was to speak of the Jewish problem in terms of international law, because, according to the Charter, international law recognized neither races nor religions. Furthermore, he said, nothing justified connecting the problem of Palestine with the problems of Zionist hi anti-Semitism.
“Having liberated Palestine”, said Haekal Pasha, “did not give the liberators any right to promise a part of it to the Jews.”
The Representative of Egypt then turned to the recent speech of the Soviet delegate and stated that if his thesis for the Jews of Palestine were to be accepted, it would entitle minorities all over the world to claim the right to set up their own State.
Concluding, Haekal Pasha declared that the best solution which could be reached for the Palestinian problem, was not to cut up an over-populated country in order to create an artificial state: - a Jewish State - based rather on a racial distinction or religious belief than on a nationality, but to establish in Palestine an independent Palestinian State, with a democratic government and an immediate constituent assembly which would endow Palestine with a modern constitution assuring to the majority and minority their respective rights.
It would be equally necessary, he said, for certain effective measures to be taken in order to treat citizens of the Jewish faith throughout the world on an absolutely equal footing with citizens of other faiths.
“For anyone,” he said, “who has seen the Jewish people at work in Palestine, there can be no doubt about their unshakable will to live as a nation with all the attributes of nationhood”.
Regarding the historical arguments of spokesmen of the Arab case, Mr. Lisicky expressed the view that these spokesmen underestimated the strictly legal value of the various promises made to the Arabs during the first World War.
The promises, said Mr. Lisicky, made by the United Kingdom Government before the Palestine Mandate - a piece of positive international law - could not produce any legal effect if such provisions were inconsistent with the Mandate.
Mr. Lisicky suggested that, in accordance with the wishes of the Arab spokesmen themselves, an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice be sought on this point. But, added Mr. Lisicky, such a recourse should not delay the work of the United Nations on the Palestine problem.
Mr. Lisicky then went on to say that in view of the number and weight of the states whose representatives in the Committee had declared their agreement in principle with the proposals of the Majority Report, it could be safely assume that this Report would form the basis of further deliberations of the Committee.
Turning to the proposed boundaries of the Arab and Jewish States in the Majority Report, which had been criticized by various delegates, Mr. Lisicky conceded that the boundaries were complicated, but he denied that these were arbitrary.
These complications, he explained were due to the fact that the main groups of Jewish settlements in Palestine were themselves dislocated. Mr. Lisicky also mentioned the wish to avoid “enclaves” as the reason for including Jaffa and Beersheba in the proposed Jewish State. He indicated, however, that he would not see a different solution for these towns if such a solution obtained the support of the majority of the Committee.
Mr. Lisicky recalled the steps proposed by the Majority Report to prevent the government of the proposed Jewish State from dispossessing Arab landowners living within its boundaries.
He also recalled that the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine had mainly sought, during its stay in the Holy Land, to induce representatives of the Arab community to state their case to the Committee. Mr. Lisicky complained that it was therefore rather unusual for the Syrian delegate to blame the UNSCOP for not having heard the Palestine Arabs.
Mr. Lisicky then turned to the question of the implementation of a United Nations decision concerning Palestine The decision, he said, of the United Kingdom Government to lay down the Mandate over Palestine and to withdraw from that country was creating a vacuum.
The only suggestion for filling the vacuum, said Mr. Lisicky, was the United States suggestion to create an International police force. But, he asked, who should be charged with the task of recruiting this force? On what territorial basis? What about the composition of the commanding staff?
Mr. Lisicky asked if the inconveniences and risks would be smaller or larger if, instead, regular military contingents from a number of countries were dispatched to Palestine.
Prince Feisal El Saud (Saudi Arabia) declared that responsibility for the Palestine problem rested in Great Britain, the United States and the League of Nations. He stated that partition would set a dangerous example for all over the world and asked why the United States did not open their refugees. Prince Feisal welcomed the recent British declaration on the ending of the Mandate and on independence for Palestine and said that the Arabs were well-equipped to help their brethren in Palestine maintain law and order during the transition period.
Dr. Jose Arce (Argentina) announced that he was unable to support either the Majority or the Minority Report as both, in his opinion, were contrary to the Charter. Dr. Arce proposed to set up a joint committee of Arabs and Jews of Palestine to be presided over by an impartial person designated by the General Assembly, which would be entrusted with the task of finding a solution acceptable to both parties. Dr. Arce also suggested that the Assembly ask the Economic and Social Council to assign to a Sub-committee the task of finding homes in the various countries of the world for all displaced persons.
Mr. Arthur Creech-Jones (United Kingdom) said that the carrying out of the Mandate had ultimately proved an impractical responsibility owing to Arab-Jewish intransigence. Nevertheless, he said, a Jewish National Home had been established, and the Arab population had doubled its numbers as well as improved its standards. Mr. Creech-Jones declared that in the judgement of the United Kingdom Government a Mandatory Government might voluntarily relinquish its mandate, Mr. Creech-Jones said that in determining the nature of a settlement for Palestine, the Assembly should also determine the measures to implement it. He said that the United Kingdom Government was not prepared to carry sole or even major responsibility for the administration of Palestine and for enforcing changes, which the United Nations might deem necessary, for an indefinite transition period.
Mr. Harry Lawrence (Union of South Africa) said that it was with the present situation in Palestine, rather than with its historical background that the United Nations were called upon to deal. He gave his support to the proposals of the Majority Report; he recommended that the establishment of an economic union receive careful attention; and he supported the United States proposal for the creation of a sub-Committee to determine the boundaries of the two proposed States, as well as the Canadian proposal for the creation of another Sub-committee to deal with the question of the transition period.
Dr. Guillermo Belt (Cuba) said he considered the Majority Report to be a betrayal of the rights of the Jewish people. The Cuban delegation, he said, was against its adoption also on the ground that it would endanger the peace.
Sir Carl Berendsen (New Zealand) recalled that the League of Nations had approved the Mandate and that something of lasting value had been delivered in Palestine. Conditions, said Sir Carl, now existed there such as justified the establishment of an Jewish and of an Arab State. In considering any solution, Sir Car1 said, the United Nations must at the same time concern themselves with the question of its implementation.
Dr. Fadhi Jamali (Iraq) alluded to Zionist propaganda in the United States, and said that in dealing with the Palestinian question one came up against a conflict between logic and emotion. He replied to previous statements by the Delegates from Uruguay, Ireland, Guatemala, the United States and the Soviet Union. He declared that it was of the utmost importance to determine whether the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate were right or wrong. Of the Majority Report; Dr. Jamali said that it could not stand examination in the light of legal and moral principles, the principles of the Charter, the political situation the Middle East, practicability, viability and implementation. The Arabs, said Dr. Jamali, would resist being subjected to this state of affairs.
Dr. Mohammed Hussein Haukal Pasha (Egypt) noted that any decision creating a Jewish State could not fit within the framework of the Charter. He expressed the hope that the Report of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine would be shelved. The initial error, he said, was to speak of the Jewish problem in terms of international law because the Charter does not recognize races or religions. Furthermore, he said, the question of Palestine should not be linked with the questions of Zionism and of Anti-Semitism. The best solution, he concluded would be to establish Palestine as one independent democratic State.
Mr. Karel Lisicky (Czechoslovakia) mentioned the will of the Jewish people to live as a nation, and he expressed the view that the spokesmen for the Arab case overestimated the strictly lega1 value of promises made to the Arabs during the first World War. Such promises, he said, could not produce any legal effect if they were inconsistent with the Mandate and he suggested that an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice he sought on this point.
The Committee adjourned shortly after 6:30 p.m. and will reconvene this evening at 8:30 p.m.
NOTE: Take #9 is the last in the Press Release GA/PAL/17.)