Question of Palestine home
21 November 1966
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1325)
Adoption of the agenda
The Palestine question:
Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative
of Jordan to the United Nations Addressed to the President of
the Security Council (S/7587)
THIRTEEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIFTH MEETING
Held in New York, on Monday, 21 November 1966, at 4.30 p.m.
President: Mr. Arthur J. GOLDBERG
(United States of America).
Present: The representative of the following States: Argentina, Bulgaria, China, France, Japan, Jordan, Mali, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uganda, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Uruguay.
Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1325)
1. Adoption of the agenda.
2. The Palestine question:
Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/7587)
Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted.
The Palestine question
Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/7587)]
1. The PRESIDENT: In accordance with the decision taken previously and with the consent of the Council, I shall invite the representative of Israel to take a place at the Council table.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Comay (Israel) took a place at the Council table.
2. The PRESIDENT: The Security Council will continue its consideration of the question inscribed on its agenda, I direct the attention of the members of the Council to the addendum [S/7593/Add.1] to the report by the Secretary-General which has been distributed this afternoon. In accordance with the request made by the Security Council this morning, the Secretary-General has made the topographical map available to members. On behalf of the members of the Council, I express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his prompt response to our request.
3. Mr. YANKOV (Bulgaria)(translated from French): The Security Council has already had the opportunity of giving thorough consideration to the request addressed to it by the Jordanian Government. We have now reached the point where we must take a decision stating the Council’s position with regard to the serious and explosive situation precipitated by the Israel authorities and, at the same time, decide what measures must be taken in order to prevent further military provocation’s on their part. In its deliberations, the Security Council must take into consideration the disturbing fact that within a period of three months two acts of aggression of the same kind have been committed by the same forces, the second being on a much larger scale. On 14 July last, the victim was Syria; this time, the victim is another Arab country, Jordan. On 14 July, the Israel armed forces used jet fighters and bombers for the operation; this time, the act of aggression was carried out with tanks, armored personnel carriers, aircraft, artillery and heave machine-guns. But the motives behind these acts and their dangerous repercussions for peace and security are identical in both cases. The violations of the Charter, of the relevant provisions of the General Armistice Agreements and of the principles of the international law are of the same kind and entail the same consequences. We cannot ignore the fact that we are faced with a case of repeated acts of military invasion and open, premeditated, carefully planned and executed acts of aggression against the Arab countries.
4. The preliminary information submitted by the Secretary-General at the 1320th meeting on 16 November and the report of the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine [S/7593] reveal the heavy toll taken by the act of aggression of 13 November, with its great loss of human lives and substantial material damage. Even more disquieting, however, are the heightened tensions, the threats made by extremist circles in Israel against the Arab countries and the attempts being made to justify and encourage Israel’s acts of aggression. All this should be a subject of grave concern for the Council, which bears the principle responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The resolution which the Security Council adopts must reflect its concern about the present situation in the Middle East and also its determination to take strong measures to put an end to this dangerous situation.
5. The debate on the present item has shown unequivocally that all members of the Security Council condemn the doctrine and the practice of reprisals. Even those who seek to minimize the responsibility of the Israel authorities have been obliged to admit that by its military attack on Jordan, Israel has committed a flagrant violation of the Charter, of the General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan
/ and of the principles of international law. It is pointless for certain friends and protectors of Israel-and especially the United States-to try to divert the Council’s attention away from the true reasons for Israel’s act of aggression by bringing up incidents said to have occurred in Israel territory, in order to justify the open and premeditated aggression committed by regular armed forces on the order of the Israel authorities.
6. It has several times been said that “violence breeds violence”, in an attempt to explain and perhaps to justify the illegal acts committed by the Israel authorities. However, if violence breeds violence, it must also be recognized that violation of the rules of law creates an international responsibility and that no crime-and this includes crimes of aggression-should go unpunished by the international community, the United Nations and its competent organ, the Security Council. Violence breeds violence. However, in the present case, as indeed in other cases, the Israel authorities resorted to violence without provocation. Their doctrine of retaliation is based on arbitrary justification of the use of force, including military attacks against the Arab countries. Hence, it is not surprising that Jordan today and Syria yesterday should have been the victims of acts of aggression.
7. In its resolution, the Security Council must once again condemn Israel for its reprisals, as it has, incidentally, done several times in the past, when it condemned all acts of retaliation as being incompatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations. The condemnation must be clear and unambiguous; first, because the act of aggression of 13 November constitutes a violation of the Charter and of the General Armistice Agreement and presents a real threat to peace in the Middle East and to world peace. But what is particularly disturbing is the attitude of the Israel authorities and the encouragement they are receiving from imperialist circles. The act of aggression of 14 July last was described by the Israel representative as “strictly limited action”. Now the open and brutal invasion of Jordan, using tanks, aircraft, armored vehicles and so forth has been described by the same representative as “limited local action” and “defensive action”.
8. It is indeed regrettable that operations of such a kind and on such a scale should be treated so lightly and in such an irresponsible fashion. The Israel communiqué on the invasion of Jordan gives a distinct impression of coming from a country in a state of war. I shall quote a few excerpts from it:
“Israel forces including tanks and half-tracks penetrated into Jordan territory Sunday morning shortly after 6 o’clock. The Jordanian police station at Rujm el Madfa’a attempted to stop the Israel forces, but it was fired upon by the tanks and reduced to silence.”
9. Is this unprovoked act of aggression what the Israel representative calls “defensive actions”? It should also be added that the requests made by United Nations organs seeking to determine the true character of this “defensive action” and of those who had carried it out brought no response from Israel, as is stressed in the report by the Chief of Staff.
10. A further proof of this philosophy is the letter of today’s date addressed by the representative of Israel to the President of the Security Council, in which, after attempts to minimize the responsibility for, and the disastrous results of the act of aggression, we find the following, to us highly significant, passage: “My Government earnestly hopes that there may now be an end to violence and bloodshed of any kind” [S/7594].
11. This is the language of lawlessness, the language of one who has taken the law into his own hands and does with it what he will. This attitude on the part of the Israel authorities is becoming a line of conduct and an established policy. As the representative of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria emphasized in connection with the act of aggression committed against Syria, the Security Council must not remain indifferent in the face of this policy of Israel, because the sole purpose of all attempts to justify the present violations is “to establish a basis for future action liable to disturb peace and security” [1292nd meeting, para.24].
12. We have pointed out also that if the Council refuses to take action despite these repeated violations by the Israel authorities “the consequences for international peace and security my be disastrous. Such an attitude might well be interpreted as an invitation to further acts of reprisal” [1295th meeting, para.11].
13. The course of events has justified that analysis. The military attack on Jordan on 13 November last is glaring proof of this, and Israel’s complaint against Syria last October was but a component of a much broader plan and a preliminary to the act of aggression committed on 13 November.
14. According to the logic of the doctrine of retaliation, it would be in no way surprising if the attack on Jordan were but the prelude to some vaster and more dangerous military operation.
15. That is why we agree with those who consider that the time for condemnation is over. While mere condemnation, couched in strong terms, was still justified last July and might have served as a warning to Israel, that is no longer the case today. This time, the Council must take vigorous and effective action which will pave the way, once and for all, to any fresh acts of aggression by Israel against its neighbors and bring the extremist elements in that country back to their senses.
16. Mr. EL-FARRA (Jordan): I should like briefly to answer the additional distortions made by Mr. Comay this morning. Mr. Comay kept saying that they attacked the village of As Samu because it was the village involved in certain violations of the General Armistice Agreement inside Israel. He also said, in his intervention of 16 November [1320th meeting] that tanks were used because of the rough hilly terrain to be traversed. That statement is not in conformity with the findings of the Truce Supervision Organization, which clearly stated-not on the basis of hearsay, but on the basis of a visit to the area and on the basis of the fact-finding of the United Nations military observers-that:
“The area between the armistice demarcation line, Rujm el Madfa’a and As Samu provides fair access for wheeled vehicles and good access for tanks ....Approximately 500 meters separate the villages from the armistice demarcation line with no obstacles to vehicle travel between.” [S/7593, para. 8]
17. This is based on the findings of the observers and not on any claim by Jordan or so-called hearsay evidence. I wonder whether it is open to Mr. Comay to state before this Council that they used tanks because of the rough hilly terrain to be traversed.
18. Having said this on the tanks used to kill and destroy. I turn to another point raised by Mr. Comay: the question why this particular village was chosen for the attack. I submit that the answer to this is very simple. I have shown that the village in question is a peaceful village and that the claims and contentions of the Israelis have no foundation. The report, however, gives us the answer to the question why this particular area was chosen. It is clear from paragraph 8 of the report of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization that they area is hilly, rocky, and cut by some wadis, and that three roads lead to this area: a paved road from the north-east, a paved road from the north-west and a gravel road from the south. It is also clear that there were no obstacles to vehicle travel on these roads. It was the intention of the Israel Army to choose a perfect strategic area for its military operation which would give it, after the surprise attack, a military advantage-an advantage which enabled it to spend four hours completing its crime. It is clear from the map presented by the Secretariat-and I am grateful to the Secretary-General for his prompt action in this respect-and from paragraph 8 of the report when read in connection with the map, that “the highest points in the village area dominate the countryside for some distance around the village”.
19. Moreover, the three roads leading to As Samu were controlled, because Israel tanks occupied the four hills surrounding As Samu. The report states that the Israel covering troops were on the high ground surrounding both villages, and Israel fighter aircraft were overhead. The purpose behind the occupation of all four hills surrounding As Samu was obviously to seal the area against any outside help as well as to use those hills because of their advantageous dominating features as places from which to fire on the peaceful village. Therefore, the Israelis by these tactics had in mind not only inflicting the maximum casualties and damage on the village of As Samu but also preventing any aid to rescue those inhabitants. A special force had been detailed at a vantage point to meet the expected rescuers and to inflict the maximum casualties on them.
20. Tactics of this kind could be understood and expected if one’s enemy were a military target defended by proper conventional defensive methods; but their use on the peaceful inhabitants of a peaceful village as a sign of courage is something for the Security Council to consider.
21. In those circumstances, is it open to Mr. Comay to keep repeating-here I quote from the letter he submitted to the Security Council this morning [S/7594]-that the purpose behind the attack was “a warning against aiding and harboring saboteur and terrorist groups that had been carrying out a number of raids into Israel”?
22. The Truce Supervision Organization was not enabled to investigate on the other side of the demarcation line, and, according to paragraphs 29 and 30 of the report, no examination of witnesses or of some of the persons who committed the crime was possible. Had that been done, the report which we are now considering would have stated that another force was behind the demarcation line waiting to engage any possible Jordanian reinforcement. Let me refer in that connection to the fact that “a number of over-flights by Israel aircraft, most of them at low altitude, were taking place in the Hebron area” [S/7593, para. 5]-the area of the attack. This, again, was reported not by Jordanians, to be called hearsay evidence, but by the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization stationed in the Hebron area, fifteen kilometers from the scene of the attack.
23. Since Mr. Comay repeated the word “hearsay”, the question arises: did the Israel authorities co-operate with the United Nations in the area and help the United Nations carry out its investigations on the Israel side of the armistice demarcation line? We have offered full co-operation with the Truce Supervision Organization. On the other hand, paragraphs 29 and 30 indicate how Israel denied the investigating United Nations military observers any access to the area and/or any witnesses from the other side. The Israel representative’s reply was that “no Israel officer or soldier who had taken part in the operation would be called as a witness, and that there was no Jordanian aircraft in Israel territory”.
24. My fourth point refers to the volume of the Israel operation. I have time and again referred to facts and figures, and I need not reiterate what I said earlier. I should simply like to say that the Israel military spokesman himself, reporting on the question, said that the raid had been in brigade strength.
25. My fifth point is this. Mr. Comay said that no artillery had been used. However, the United Nations investigators found many craters on the road and in the ground. The fact that these craters were found by the investigators in the vicinity means that artillery and/or aircraft were used for bombardment-a fact which had been denied by Mr. Comay, who said that no artillery was used and no bombing from the air took place. The report gives the correct information. Small arms or machine-gun fire do not cause craters in the ground. They are caused only by artillery fire and/or air bombing or rocket-firing.
26. Finally, I know that it has been the practice of the Truce Supervision Organization, when inspecting the scene of any attack, to take pictures showing the tragedy. A cruel attack of this nature must have influenced the persons who inspected the scene to take some pictures. I should like to ask our Secretary-General whether pictures of the destruction and damage, of the village, of the area, of the animals and of the human beings, were taken by the military observers in the area. If the answer is in the affirmative, I respectfully request that all those pictures be made available to all members of the Security Council. They may be more convincing to Mr. Comay. They may put an end to the attempt to distort, to mislead and to confuse.
27. The PRESIDENT: The representative of Jordan has addressed a request to the Secretary-General. I should like to ask the Secretary-General whether pictures o the type requested are available.
28. The SECRETARY-GENERAL: I have been advised that routine pictures taken by the members of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization relating to the incident which is the subject of this discussion in the Council are available, if the Council so desires.
29. The PRESIDENT: We have a request from the representative of Jordan that these pictures should be made available to members of the Council. If there is no objection, I take it that the Secretary-General will be asked to comply with that request. I hear no objection. The pictures, then, will be made available. It is my understanding from the Secretary-General that the parties have had access to these pictures from the observers.
30. Mr. EL-FARRA (Jordan): I should like to say that I am grateful to the Secretary-General for his statement. I am sure the pictures will be helpful. They are, of course, United Nations pictures, and it is the proper procedure to have the United Nations representative present them to the Council.
31. The PRESIDENT: I now call on the representative of Israel.
32. Mr. COMAY (Israel): I have just one correction of fact. At the 1324th meeting, the representative of Jordan purported to quote from the statement by the Israel army spokesman that the force used had been of brigade strength. No such statement was ever made by the Israel army spokesman. What he did say, and I have checked it, is that a force including tanks and armored personnel carriers was used.
33. Mr. EL-FARRA (Jordan): I have the dispatch before me. This is dispatch No. 700 coming from Israel via the Associated Press: “Israel announced the raid to have been in brigade strength.”
34. The PRESIDENT: I recognize the representative of Israel.
35.Mr. COMAY (Israel): I cannot be responsible for the accuracy or otherwise of newspaper reports; but, if the representative of Jordan would like the exact text of the official statement made by the army spokesman, I should be very happy to let him have it.
36. Mr. EL-FARRA (Jordan): This is really confusing to me. When the United Nations military observers go to investigate, the answer is “No”, and when we resort to the information, we find again the answer is “No”. I did not want to quote this. I wanted the United Nations to be there so as to cross-examine and investigate, to hear statements and see witnesses. However, the answer will be found in paragraph 29 and 30 of the report. I am sure that my colleagues will find the time to read those paragraphs.
37. The PRESIDENT: There are no more speakers on the list for this afternoon. Members of the Council who have been in consultation have indicated that they would like additional time throughout this evening and tomorrow morning. After discussion with members of the Council, it has been agreed to hold our next meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, 22 November, at 3 p.m.
The meeting rose at 5.55 p.m.
Official Records of the Security Council, Fourth Year, Special Supplement No.1
.orders of the Israel authorities.