Question of Palestine home
15 June 1969
WORK OF THE ORGANIZATION
16 June 1968--15 June 1969
OFFICIAL RECORDS : TWENTY-FOURTH SESSION
SUPPLEMENT No. 1 (A/7601)
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Status of the cease-fire ordered by the Security Council in June 1967
Complaints by Israel and Jordan
Complaints by Israel and the United Arab Republic
Complaints by Israel and Lebanon
Complaints by Israel and Syria
Treatment of civilian populations in Israel-occupied territories and related matters
Report of the Secretary-General of 31 July 1968
Meetings of the Security Council in September 1968
Report of the Secretary-General of 14 October 1968
Situation in and around Jerusalem and its Holy Places
Other matters brought to the attention of the Security Council
in connexion with the situation in the Middle East
Communications concerning an attack on an Israeli civil aircraft at Zurich airport
Communications concerning archaeological excavations in occupied Syrian territory
Report of the Secretary-General on the progress of the mission of his Special Representative to the Middle East
THE UNITED NATIONS OPERATION IN CYPRUS
OTHER POLITICAL AND SECURITY QUESTIONS
Disarmament and related matters
Effects of atomic radiation
Peaceful uses of outer space
Question of the reservation exclusively for peaceful purposes of the sea-bed and the ocean floor, and the subsoil thereof, underlying the high seas beyond the limits of present national jurisdiction, and the use of their resources in the interests of mankind
Admission of new Members
The policies of apartheid of the Government of the Republic of South Africa
Consideration by the Security Council of the question of Namibia
Implementation of Security Council resolution 253 (1968)
concerning the situation in Southern Rhodesia
I have the honour to submit to the General Assembly the twenty fourth report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization covering the period from 16 June 1968 to 15 June 1969.
The introduction to the annual report will, as in previous years, be submitted at a date nearer to the opening of the twenty-fourth session, as an addendum to the present document.
2 August 1969
The situation in the Middle East
The item entitled "The situation in the Middle East" was included in the agenda of the General Assembly at its twenty-third session, but at the closing plenary meeting, on 21 December 1968, the President announced that his consultations with various delegations had given him to understand that it was the general feeling that the item should be deferred until the next regular session. Accordingly, the Assembly decided without objection to include the item in the provisional agenda of the twenty-fourth session.
The material covered in this chapter, therefore, deals with developments in the Middle East between 16 June 1968 and 15 June 1969, principally in connexion with matters submitted to and considered by the Security Council, which are described in greater detail in the annual report of the Security Council to the General Assembly. The chapter has been organized in such a manner as to deal as concisely as possible with developments in connexion with the status of the cease-fire ordered by the Council in June 1967, the problem of the treatment of civilian populations in Israel-occupied territories and related matters, the situation in and around Jerusalem and its Holy Places, other matters brought to the attention of the Security Council in connexion with the situation in the Middle East, and reports of the Secretary-General on the progress of the mission of his Special Representative to the Middle East.
Status of the cease-fire ordered by the
Security Council in June 1967
1. Complaints by Israel and Jordan
As stated in last year's annual report of the Secretary-General, the Security Council, which had been requested by Jordan and Israel to consider the situation created as a result of violations of the cease-fire, had adjourned on 5 June 1968 after having included the respective complaints in its agenda.
During the month of June, Jordan submitted complaints of cease-fire violations in which fire had been directed across the Jordan River at civilian centres. In June also, Israel charged that armed personnel had crossed the river to lay mines and attack villages. In July Jordan charged that Israel had attempted to force refugees from Gaza to cross the King Hussein Bridge into Jordan. In its reply, Israel stated that it was Jordanian forces that had opened fire on the Israeli military positions on the west bank without provocation.
MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL IN AUGUST 1968
In early August, Israel submitted charges of continued violation of the cease-fire from Jordanian territory by paramilitary terror units operating from Jordan with the co-operation and encouragement of the Jordanian authorities. On 4 August Jordan charged that Israeli military aircraft had bombed areas west and south of the city of Salt, nineteen miles west of Amman, using napalm bombs and causing casualties among civilians. On the same day Israel reported that its aircraft had taken action against two terrorist bases in the Salt area because of continued acts of aggression from those bases.
On 5 August the Security Council met in response to requests made on that date by Jordan and Israel. Jordan's letter referred to the attack in the vicinity of Salt as well as to its complaints about attacks on the city of Irbid, inscribed on the agenda on 5 June, while Israel's letter asked for further consideration of its complaint of 5 June about firing and infiltration across the cease-fire lines from Jordan territory.
The Security Council considered the two complaints at seven meetings held between 5 and 16 August 1968. Besides the representatives of Jordan and Israel, the representatives of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Republic were invited, at their request, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote.
The representative of Jordan began the debate by saying that Israel's premeditated attack on 4 August against the civilian population of the areas around the city of Salt was similar in nature to Israel's previous action against Irbid on 5 June 1968. In that attack, thirty-four Jordanians had been killed and eighty-two seriously wounded. The areas involved were Jordan's most productive sections, on which the country depended for a great part of its agricultural needs. Israel's repeated attacks clearly indicated that country's aim to coerce the Arab States into submission. The Security Council had already given numerous warnings to Israel against acts of military reprisal. In view of Israel's continued defiance, the representative of Jordan urged that the Security Council take effective measures, as envisaged in Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.
The representative of Israel stated that his Government had constantly drawn attention to the warfare that was being carried out against its territory and people from across the cease-fire line. It had also explained that the inequitable Security Council resolutions only increased intransigence and bred more violence. Since the adoption of Council resolution 248 (1968) of 24 March 1968, terrorist raids and armed attacks had increased greatly. It had therefore become inevitable for Israel to take action in self-defence. The targets of Israel's counteraction of 4 August had been limited to terrorist bases. The town of Salt and Jordanian army camps had remained outside the scope of that action. It was imperative for the Council to raise its voice against the continuous warfare being waged by terrorists against Israel from Jordanian territory and to impress on Jordan the vital necessity to abide by its cease-fire obligations.
In the ensuing discussion in the Security Council, all of the members emphasized the need for an early settlement of the Middle East situation and condemned the Israeli attack of 4 August, which they considered would hamper the efforts of Ambassador Gunnar Jarring, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, to secure agreement on the implementation of Council resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967. They all expressed their full support for Mr. Jarring's efforts and urged the parties to give him their fullest co-operation.
Some members of the Council, among them Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States, said that there appeared to be a vicious circle of violence and counter-violence and that the Security Council should condemn all acts of violence. The representative of the United States suggested that, in view of the charges and countercharges with which the Council was faced, it would be helpful to establish United Nations observers in the area. The presence of such observers, besides providing the Council with accurate and factual information, would serve as a deterrent to further incidents. Other representatives maintained that it would be unjust to equate the small, sporadic and spontaneous acts of resistance of the people of the occupied territories with the carefully planned, large-scale military operations of Israel. To equate them thus would amount to condoning military reprisals. The USSR representative stated that the purpose of Israel's military action was to create obstacles to a political settlement in the Middle East. Israel's latest attack had taken place at a time when the United Nations, through the Special Representative, was engaged in the next stage of consultations for a peaceful settlement.
On 16 August the President of the Security Council announced that as a result of consultations among members of the Council, a draft resolution had emerged which reflected their views on the course the Council might adopt. Under it, the Security Council would: (1) reaffirm its resolution 248 (1968) which,
, declared that grave violations of the cease-fire could not be tolerated and that the Council would have to consider further and more effective steps as envisaged in the Charter to ensure against repetition of such acts; (2) deplore the loss of life and heavy damage to property; (3) consider that premeditated and repeated military attacks endangered the maintenance of peace; and (4) condemn the further military attacks launched by Israel in flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and resolution 248 (1968) and warn that if such attacks were to be repeated the Council would duly take account of the failure to comply with the present resolution.
On 16 August the draft resolution was adopted unanimously as resolution 256 (1968).
After the adoption of the draft resolution, the President of the Council stated that he had taken note of the widespread support that had been expressed for the efforts of the Special Representative, and that with the consent of the Council he would request the Secretary-General to convey to Mr. Jarring the Council's expression of support.
On 21 and 26 August following the adoption of resolution 256 (1968), Jordan made further charges of attacks against civilians by the Israeli forces and listed,
twenty-seven incidents of Israeli attacks on Jordanian villages and farms.
In a letter dated 26 August, Israel charged that a large-scale military attack had been carried out against Israel from Jordanian territory using mortars and small arms.
On 17 September Jordan charged that Israeli forces had shelled the city of Irbid and had used heavy artillery. On the same date Israel charged that 103 attacks had been made against it from Jordanian territory involving the use of small arms, bazookas, mines and rockets.
During October and November, Jordan submitted a number of complaints related to cease-fire violations. On 10 October it complained that Israel had attempted to change the armistice demarcation line in the Aqaba area, but Israel denied the charge in a letter dated 21 October. On 15 October Jordan charged that Israeli soldiers had penetrated to the East Bank of Jordan, had laid mines and fired upon mosques and schools.
On 23 October Israel complained of intensified attacks from Jordanian territory. On 3 November it informed the Security Council that those attacks had culminated in the shelling of the city of Elat on 2 November and on 5 November, charged that the 23 October shelling had come from Iraqi artillery and was directed at the area of Ashdot Ya'aqov. Iraq denied Israel's allegations and indicated that its troops were in Jordan at the request of that Government and were under a joint command whose attitude towards the cease-fire was governed by the position of the Governments of Jordan and the United Arab Republic. Jordan complained that in attacks in mid-February 1969, villages had been shelled by mortar and field artillery, and that a ninety-minute napalm bomb raid by Israeli jets and helicopters had left six Jordanian soldiers dead and ten others wounded.
Both parties presented complaints of even more frequent and serious incidents during March, with Jordan asserting that Israeli air attacks were coming closer to the city of Amman and Israel insisting that it had been compelled to take counter-measures to defend itself from ever more persistent armed attacks by regular and irregular forces coming from terror organization bases in Jordan.
MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL IN MARCH AND APRIL 1969
On 26 March Jordan charged that Israeli jet fighters had attacked villages and civilian centres in the area of Salt, causing the death of seventeen civilians and the wounding of twenty-five more. Jordan requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider such continuous and grave Israeli violations and to adopt more adequate measures to check them and restore international peace and security. The following day Israel also requested an urgent meeting of the Council to consider continual violations of the cease-fire by terrorist groups operating from Jordan.
On 27 March the Security Council included the two complaints in its agenda as separate items, and considered them in the course of eight meetings held between 27 March and 1 April.
In describing the incident at the opening of the debate, the representative of Jordan said that Israel jet fighters had attacked rest homes and winter resorts in Ein Hazir, one kilometre from Salt, and had bombed and strafed the main roads connecting the villages around Salt and the city itself. He added that that raid was part of a series of attacks that Israel had continuously carried out against his country and to which the attention of the Security Council had been drawn regularly by his delegation. During the preceding six weeks Israel had intensified its daily raids under a policy which its leaders had called euphemistically "active self-defence". In spite of that continued aggression, Jordan had been reluctant to submit a new complaint to the Security Council so as not to prejudice the peaceful efforts of the four permanent members of the Council. However, it appeared that unless effective measures were taken in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter Israel would continue its aggressive policy.
The representative of Israel stated that in spite of the cease-fire resolutions of the Security Council, the Arab leaders had continued to exhort their people to warfare against Israel. The cease-fire was being violated by regular Arab forces and also by irregular commandos. Thus, in the absence of effective United Nations action, Israel had no choice but to defend itself. It was precisely for that reason that on 26 March Israel had taken action against an El-Fatah base at Ein Hazir, which was an isolated site quite far from the settlements of civilian population. Jordan's responsibility for the activities of the terrorist organizations was well established as they had received protection and encouragement from the Government of Jordan. If Jordan wanted peace in the area, it had to put an end to terrorist activities, as sabotage and killing would not lead to peace.
After further statements by the representatives of the parties, by members of the Council and by the representative of Saudi Arabia, who had been invited to participate in the discussion at his request, the President of the Council announced on 29 March that a draft resolution had been submitted by Pakistan, Senegal and Zambia. The three-Power draft was later revised by the sponsors and was adopted on 1 April by 11 votes to none, with 4 abstentions (Colombia, Paraguay, the United Kingdom and the United States), as resolution 265 (1969). Under its operative paragraphs the Council (1) reaffirmed resolutions 248 (1968) and 256 (1968); (2) deplored the loss of civilian life and damage to property; (3) condemned the recent premeditated air attacks launched by Israel on Jordanian villages and populated areas in flagrant violation of the Charter and the cease-fire resolutions, and warned once again that if such attacks were to be repeated the Council would have to meet to consider further more effective steps as envisaged in the Charter to ensure against repetition of such attacks.
Since the adoption of resolution 265 (1968) on 1 April 1968, Israel and Jordan have continued to address complaints to the Council. On 8 April 1969 both parties complained of attacks on the cities of Elat and Aqaba, Israel asserting that following a rocket attack against Elat from the area of Aqaba, it had taken air action in self-defence, and Jordan charging that Israeli aircraft had raided Aqaba with rockets and bombs. Both sides reported casualties in the exchange.
Charges by Israel in the latter part of April reported mortar fire from Jordan territory on an Israeli post in the Golan Heights, exchanges of fire across the Jordan River, engagements with saboteur units infiltrating from Jordan and the intensification of artillery attacks, with the participation of Iraqi artillery stationed in Jordan, timed to coincide with an Egyptian campaign in the Suez Canal area.
Jordanian complaints towards the end of April and early in May charged that Israeli forces had opened fire on villages in northern Jordan, shelled areas from their positions in occupied Syrian territory, and intensified their attacks in the whole northern area by use of heavy mortar shells, heavy artillery, rockets and napalm.
On 6 May the representative of Iraq rejected the Israeli charges against his country, reiterated his Government's policy and blamed the present situation on Israel's continued occupation of Arab territories.
On 16 May Jordan charged that Israeli forces had been using the farm of an Arab orphanage in the Jericho area to shell Jordanian positions. Israel denied the charge in a letter dated 21 May and stated that it was only a pretext for Jordan shelling against civilian targets in the Jericho area.
On 22 and 23 May, Jordan submitted more charges of Israeli aerial and ground attacks against the villages of Safi, Feifa and the area of Dair Alla in the north. On 25 May Israel complained of attacks against the Ethiopian monastery south of Allenby Bridge, and listed fifty-seven others against its territory from Jordan between 11 and 17 May. In a further letter dated 29 May, Israel charged that the orphanage of the Arab Development Society had also been shelled again from Jordan.
2. Complaints by Israel and the United Arab Republic
The Secretary-General continued to submit to the Security Council supplemental information concerning the observance of the cease-fire in the Suez Canal sector based on reports received from the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, Lieutenant General Odd Bull. During June those reports concerned exchanges of fire across the Canal with small arms, and efforts by United Nations military observers to arrange a cease-fire on each occasion. On 8 July a report was submitted concerning an exchange of artillery, machine-gun, mortar and rifle fire across the Canal. The same incident was cited by the United Arab Republic, in a letter of 10 July, as an act of aggression against the civilian inhabitants of the city of Suez which had caused heavy casualties and property losses, while Israel claimed that the United Arab Republic in its letter had disregarded the findings of the United Nations military observers that Israeli forces had acted with restraint and in self-defence.
MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL IN SEPTEMBER 1968
On 28 August Israel complained to the Security Council about an incident on 26 August in which two Israeli jeeps were ambushed while on patrol along the Suez Canal, damaged by mines and attacked by the ambush party, which killed two soldiers and abducted a third.
This incident was the subject of reports from the Chief of Staff, dated 29 August and 4 September, which indicated that United Nations military observers had heard explosions and firing and seen flares on 26 August. Israel had complained of the ambush to the Chief of Staff and demanded the immediate release of the soldier alleged to have been kidnapped. An inquiry by United Nations observers had indicated that an Israel Defence Force patrol had been mined and ambushed, but they had not been able to verify that two Israeli soldiers had been killed, having been told that the bodies had been removed from the area for burial. In meetings with the Chief of Staff on 28 and 29 August, the United Arab Republic authorities had categorically denied any involvement of their forces in the incident or any knowledge of the alleged kidnapping.
On 2 September Israel requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider that incident, and the Council included the matter in its agenda at a meeting held on 4 September.
During the discussion in the Security Council, the representative of Israel stated that in violation of the cease-fire established by the Council and in breach of the arrangements prohibiting military activities in the Canal, a well-planned military attack had been carried out against Israel by United Arab Republic forces operating from the west bank of the Canal. Israel would like to know whether the United Arab Republic was prepared to take the necessary measures to prevent such attacks in the future and whether it would return the captured Israeli soldier.
The representative of the United Arab Republic, after reiterating his Government's denial of the involvement of its forces in the alleged capturing of an Israeli soldier, stated that in making those charges Israel might in fact be creating a pretext to start large-scale operations against his country. Moreover, Israel should not be allowed to hold every Arab Government responsible for acts of resistance by the people of the occupied territories.
After further statements by the parties and by members of the Council on 5 September, the Council adjourned. On 8 September it reconvened and added to its agenda further complaints received on that date from Israel and the United Arab Republic and relating to new incidents of heavy firing across the Suez Canal. Discussion continued at four meetings between 8 and 18 September.
When the Security Council met in the evening of 8 September, the Secretary-General stated that in three brief cable messages he had received that afternoon, the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization had informed him of a heavy and prolonged exchange of fire across the Suez Canal that day. The first of those messages stated that exchange of fire in the Canal area had ceased and since 1650 hours GMT United Nations observation post had nothing more to report. The Secretary-General added that in view of the fact that no reports of further firing had been received, it was safe to conclude that the cease-fire arranged by the United Nations military observers had been holding since it became effective at 1650 hours on 8 September. He then read out the text of a report just received from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO with details of the exchange of fire observed by the military observers at different observation posts along the Canal, the weapons used and the attempts made at securing a cease-fire. The reports also contained accounts of damage to UNTSO installations and the wounding of a United Nations military observer.
After some discussion in the Council, the representative of the United Kingdom proposed that in view of the urgency of the matter he would suggest that the Council might recess for a brief period in order to hold consultations on what immediate action it could take. The United Kingdom suggestion was later submitted in a formal proposal, under rule 33 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure, by the United States representative and was approved.
When the Council resumed its meeting the same night, the President of the Council stated that after extensive consultations he was authorized to make the following declaration:
"The Security Council, having met urgently to consider the item on its agenda contained in document S/Agenda/1448/Rev.1, having heard the reports of General Odd Bull presented by the Secretary-General, and having heard the statements of the representatives of Israel and of the United Arab Republic, deeply regrets the loss of life, and requires the parties strictly to observe the cease-fire called for by the Security Council's resolutions."
On 10 and 11 September, the Security Council continued its consideration of the complaints before it All the members of the Council expressed their concern over the situation prevailing in the area as reported by the Chief of Staff of UNTSO and the grievous loss of life and damage to property on both sides. They believed that the Security Council had a special responsibility to demand that the cease-fire should be fully respected. However, only a political solution could put an end to the incidents whose repetition could very well engulf the whole area once again in disaster. They pointed out that the elements of that solution had been laid down in the Council's resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967. The only hope for peace in the Middle East lay in its earliest implementation.
During the period from 9 to 17 September, the Council continued to receive reports from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO containing supplemental information on the status of the cease-fire in the Suez Canal sector. The Chief of Staff also reported that on 16 September he had addressed letters to the appropriate authorities in the Governments of Israel and the United Arab Republic protesting strongly against the damage to UNTSO installations and property and against actions which had placed the United Nations staff in grave danger.
On 18 September, when the Council resumed its debate, the President stated that, as a result of continuous consultations with a view to determining the Council's action with regard to the items on its agenda, and in the light of the discussion in the Council and the reports received from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO, he was able to present to the Council a draft resolution reflecting the agreement of the greatest possible number of members of the Council. He then read out the text of a draft resolution under which the Security Council would (1) insist that the cease-fire ordered by the Council in its resolutions must be rigorously respected; and (2) reaffirm its resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, and urge all the parties to extend their fullest co-operation to the Special Representative in the speedy fulfilment of the mandate entrusted to him under that resolution.
The Security Council adopted the draft resolution on 18 September by 14 votes to none, with 1 abstention (Algeria), as resolution 258 (1968).
SUBSEQUENT COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS
Following the adoption of resolution 258 (1968), Israel continued to submit complaints of further incidents during the month of September in the course of which, it charged, United Arab Republic forces had crossed the Suez Canal and attacked Israeli forces. Reports from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO indicated that two incidents involving mines had been the subject of Israel complaints to UNTSO, and that inquiries into them had been conducted by United Nations military observers, who saw in each case one Israeli military vehicle damaged by a major explosion and footprints leading from the scene of the incident to the bank of the Canal.
MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL IN NOVEMBER 1968
On 26 October Israel complained that United Arab Republic forces had opened artillery fire on Israeli positions along the entire length of the Suez Canal that afternoon, and that firing had ceased only after two attempts by United Nations military observers to arrange a cease-fire. The following day, Israel reported, the attacks had continued, fire having been intensified after an attempt by United Arab Republic forces to cross the Canal to the east bank in the vicinity of Port Tawfiq. Israel asserted that Algerian forces stationed in the Suez Canal Zone had participated in those attacks.
The United Arab Republic also submitted a complaint on 26 October, charging that Israeli forces in the Suez Canal area had launched an attack against Port Tawfiq with ground-to-ground rockets, resulting in the loss of lives and damage to property.
On 1 November both the United Arab Republic and Israel submitted urgent requests for a meeting of the Security Council. The United Arab Republic complaint charged Israeli aircraft with infiltrating deep into United Arab Republic air space on the night of 30 October and with bombing civilian targets, including the Nag Hamadi Bridge and an electric power station. Israel charged that since 10 September the United Arab Republic had been carrying out a series of premeditated and unprovoked acts of firing, mine-laying and incursions by land and air, which were related to its recently announced policy of "preventive military operations".
Reports were submitted to the Security Council containing information received from the various United Nations observation posts about the exchanges of fire on 26 and 27 October, as well as on investigations, made by the military observers, of Israeli charges concerning mining incidents and canal crossings.
On 1 November 1968, the Security Council included the complaints of the United Arab Republic and Israel in its agenda. Their representatives and also the representative of Saudi Arabia were invited to participate in the discussion without the right to vote. The Council discussed the matter at two meetings, held on 1 and 4 November.
The representative of the United Arab Republic said that the fact that the Israeli air attack had been directed against installations constituting part of the economic structure of his country clearly showed that Israel was trying to undermine the economy of the United Arab Republic. While carrying out those and other destructive acts against its neighbours, Israel was at the same time waging a publicity campaign about its peaceful intentions and constructive approaches. However, Israel's refusal to declare its acceptance of and its readiness to implement resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November spoke more eloquently about its real intentions. Considering Israel's defiance of the Security Council's resolutions and its continuous acts of aggression against the Arab States, it was incumbent upon the Council not to content itself with just another condemnation of Israel, but to apply the required enforcement measures as envisaged in Chapter VII of the Charter.
The representative of Israel stated that although the Security Council, as far back as 1948 and more recently on 22 November 1967, had called upon the parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to conclude a permanent peace settlement, the United Arab Republic had continued its policy of belligerency towards Israel. It had now initiated a policy of so-called preventive defence, under which it had started a series of unprovoked acts of open fire, mine-laying and incursions by land and air across the cease-fire lines. After prolonged and patient restraint, Israel was left with no choice but to act in self-defence. The action taken by an Israeli commando unit on 30 October had been limited to blowing up a power station and two bridges on the Nile between Aswan and Cairo. That action had carefully avoided densely populated areas and had not attacked United Arab Republic troops. Its sole purpose was to bring home to the Government of the United Arab Republic that its army could not ignore its cease-fire obligations with impunity. The obligations to maintain the cease-fire were of a reciprocal nature and must be mutually observed.
In the statements that followed. some members of the Council stated that the latest violations of the cease-fire in the Suez Canal sector, resulting in loss of innocent civilian lives, again underlined the need of increasing the effectiveness of the United Nations cease-fire observation operation. They considered that tension in the area had been greatly increased by the United Arab Republic's policy of "preventive defence" and Israel's policy of military reprisals. Although the cease-fire was not a substitute for peace, its observance would strengthen the efforts of the Secretary-General's Special Representative to transform it into a just and lasting peace on the basis of the Council's resolution of 22 November 1967.
Other representatives maintained that the main cause of tension in the Middle East was the occupation of Arab territories by Israel. It was not enough for the Council merely to ask for observance of the cease-fire or to condemn its violation. The important thing was to insist on the full implementation of resolution 242 (1967), which the Council had unanimously adopted on 22 November 1967. It was a matter of regret to them that the application of that resolution had not been accepted in equal fashion by all parties, and they hoped that all parties would make an equal effort to facilitate the Special Representative's work.
After its meeting on 4 November, the Council did not resume consideration of the above complaints.
SUBSEQUENT COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS
Further incidents of cease-fire violations in the Suez Canal area were the subject of reports from the Chief of Staff during the month of November. One involved the penetration of United Arab Republic aircraft into Israeli-controlled territory and firing by United Arab Republic anti-aircraft at jets flying on the east side of the Canal. Another incident involved an explosion on the east side of the Canal on 26 November, which was investigated by United Nations military observers, who reported having seen an Israeli half-track damaged by an apparently recent explosion, and mines with no visible inscriptions still in the ground. Other incidents of firing across the Canal on 28 November and 11 December were the subject of reports from the Chief of Staff and of a complaint to the Security Council by Israel.
Between 11 December 1968 and 26 January 1969, the Chief of Staff reported only one incident of light machine-gun fire across the Suez Canal, on 2 January, and the parties complained of no specific incidents. On 25 January the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel drew the Council's attention to a statement by the President of the United Arab Republic to the National Assembly on 20 January praising the action of the Palestinian resistance forces, pledging to place all his Government's resources at their disposal, and expressing appreciation of Palestinian organizations' rejection of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967. In the view of the Foreign Minister of Israel, that policy statement had deeply disturbing implications regarding the maintenance of the cease-fire and the establishment of a just and lasting peace as called for in resolution 242 (1967). By giving political and material support to terrorist organizations operating from their territory, he asserted, the United Arab Republic and other States concerned were repudiating the responsibilities they had undertaken in accepting the cease-fire.
The Secretary-General submitted to the Council a series of reports from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO concerning incidents of firing across the Suez Canal between 5 and 11 February. In his report of 11 February, the Secretary-General indicated that in reporting recent firing incidents in the Suez Canal sector, the Chief of Staff had expressed his concern at this development and believed the situation to be serious.
On 13 February 1969, Israel submitted charges that eighteen mines had been found along the east bank of the Canal, and complained to the Council about repeated sniping attacks by United Arab Republic forces during 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 February, which created serious security dangers and were designed to undermine the peace-making efforts of the United Nations. Also on 13 February the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Republic addressed a letter to the President of the Security Council stating that, despite the Council's adoption of resolution 242 (1967) for the peaceful settlement of the situation, which the United Arab Republic had accepted and was ready to implement on the basis of its call on Israel to withdraw from all Arab territories occupied as a result of its aggression, Israel continued to refuse to implement the resolution and insisted on continuing its occupation. He urged the Council to take the positive steps necessary to implement resolution 242 (1967).
During the second half of February, the Secretary-General continued to transmit to the Security Council reports received from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO concerning the cease-fire in the Suez Canal sector. During this period the United Nations military observers had reported machine-gun fire and rifle shots across the Canal, and a mining incident involving an Israel truck on the east side of the Canal. In his report of 28 February concerning an exchange of fire on that day, the Secretary-General stated that General Bull had expressed concern, which he shared, that the continued firing in that sector, if not checked, might result in a still more serious breach of the cease-fire.
Reports received from the Chief of Staff indicated that firing had continued between 1 and 7 March and that only small arms had been used.
On 8 and 9 March, General Bull reported that heavy exchanges of fire had broken out with mortar, tank and artillery fire employed by both sides. He also reported the aerial activities observed in the Suez Canal sector on the morning of 8 March. In the course of the heavy exchanges of fire, General Bull reported, UNTSO buildings, observation posts and vehicles suffered damage and one observer was slightly injured. In view of the failure of numerous efforts to obtain adherence to a cease-fire, General Bull had appealed to the Governments of Israel and the United Arab Republic to observe the cease-fire and to suspend all military activities in the area.
On 9 March the United Arab Republic charged that when four of its fighter aircraft were proceeding on a routine flight over the Suez Canal area, eight Israeli Mirage planes had intruded and fight had ensued, following which Israeli forces had shelled several cities in the Suez Canal area and subsequently extended the firing all along the Canal.
Again on 11 March, both complaints from Israel and the United Arab Republic and reports from the Chief of Staff indicated that outbreaks of heavy firing along the whole length of the Canal had occurred throughout the day, that weapons ranged from small arms to artillery, tank and rocket-fire, that numerous efforts to obtain a cease-fire were unavailing, and that once more United Nations buildings, facilities and vehicles sustained damage. Subsequently, Israel charged that Algerian armed forces had participated in these attacks and it noted Algeria's continuing refusal to accept the cease-fire established by the Security Council resolutions of June 1967.
During the remaining part of March, additional complaints received from the parties and reports submitted by the Chief of Staff indicated that outbreaks of heavy firing had occurred on 12, 13, 18 and 24 March, sometimes extending across the whole length of the Canal, involving small arms, mortars, automatic and heavy weapons and causing damage to UNTSO installations and casualties on both sides.
During the month of April, the Secretary-General transmitted to the Council reports from the Chief of Staff relating to firing incidents which took place on an almost daily basis in the Suez Canal sector. During the first half of the month, these incidents were also the subject of complaints to the Council by the representatives of Israel and the United Arab Republic, each blaming the other party for initiating attacks and noting the efforts by the United Nations military observers to arrange for cease-fires. Both parties complained also, during this period, of penetration of aircraft of the other party into their air space and reported engagements to compel the invading aircraft to depart.
On 15 April the United Arab Republic complained to the Council that Israeli forces had shelled the cities of Suez, Port Tawfiq and Ismailia for three consecutive hours, and charged that the daily attacks against civilians and civilian installations formed an integral part of Israel's aggressive policies. A further letter of 18 April charged Israel with similar attacks on civilian centres on 16 and 17 April.
The reports received daily between 16 and 30 April from the Chief of Staff indicated that the number of firing incidents observed by United Nations military observers persisted at a high level, that in the majority of cases firing was initiated by United Arab Republic forces, that guided missiles were being employed by the United Arab Republic forces on some occasions, and that on several occasions firing was directed at United Nations observation posts and military observers, on one occasion at a United Nations ambulance.
On 21 April the Secretary-General, in a special report to the Security Council, called attention most urgently to the prevailing situation in the Suez Canal sector, which he regarded as grave. Since 8 April, particularly, observance of the Security Council's cease-fire resolutions had been degenerating steadily and daily for twelve successive days there had been major breaches of the cease-fire. The United Nations military observers, who were operating under great danger and difficulty, exerted every effort to bring a quick end to each instance of firing, but it quickly erupted again. In the circumstances it was only possible to conclude that the cease-fire had become almost totally ineffective and that a virtual stage of active war existed in the Suez Canal sector.
According to a complaint submitted to the Council by Israel on 21 April and to UNTSO on 22 April, United Arab Republic commando units crossed the Canal on the nights of 19, 21 and 22 April and attacked an Israeli position in the first incident and two Israeli patrols in the latter two incidents.
In a telegram dated 30 April, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Republic complained that on the preceding evening two Israeli planes had attacked civilian installations in the United Arab Republic hundreds of miles away from the military front. Although the aggression had failed to attain its objectives and no damage had been caused, the attempt emphasized the gravity of Israel's persistence in trying to destroy economic installations and attack civilian targets.
On 2 May the Secretary-General submitted a report to the Security Council on developments threatening the effectiveness of the United Nations observation operation in the Suez Canal sector, which had exposed United Nations personnel to grave danger and caused heavy damage to United Nations installations, vehicles and equipment. He quoted the texts of identical letters he had addressed to the representatives of Israel and the United Arab Republic on 21 April drawing attention to the daily accounts of heavy exchange of fire reported by the Chief of Staff of UNTSO which constituted serious violations of the cease-fire and impaired the United Nations observation operation. The letters recalled that on several occasions the Chief of Staff had complained to the authorities on both sides that United Nations installations and facilities, although clearly and unmistakably marked, had been repeatedly fired upon by both sides and that observation posts had been heavily encroached upon by military positions of the parties, reducing the capability and endangering the lives of the military observers. The Secretary-General had therefore requested both representatives to convey his views to their Governments and asked that instructions be given urgently to the military forces concerned to avoid as far as possible actions which restricted the observation operation or endangered the safety of United Nations personnel, in particular by encroaching on United Nations observation posts and by firing at United Nations installations and facilities. He had further requested that the construction of new shelters for United Nations personnel should be completed as a matter of urgency. In his report the Secretary-General also reproduced the replies he had received on 23 April from the representative of Israel and on 25 and 30 April from the representative of the United Arab Republic, as well as his further letters to the two representatives dated 1 May.
In a reply of 23 April, the representative of Israel stated that his country's forces were under strict orders to do all within their power to prevent danger to United Nations personnel and installations. He added that it was clear that the United Arab Republic forces had recently been opening fire intentionally on United Nations military observers and United Nations installations and transport in order to inflict injury, damage and destruction on them. In a second letter on the same day, the representative of Israel added that it was beyond dispute, which was borne out in the latest series of reports from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO, that the Israel armed forces were punctilious in respecting the status and duties of the United Nations military observers in the Suez Canal sector and that they were co-operating fully with General Bull and doing their utmost to reduce to the absolute minimum any risks to the observers and their equipment and to United Nations installations. He added that his Government therefore regretted that the Secretary-General in his letter had referred indifferently to "parties" in general terms, which was liable to convey a misleading impression that the two parties were equally responsible for the situation in the Suez Canal sector. After referring to General Bull's reports relating to the incidents in the Suez Canal sector, the representative of Israel further stated that with one exception, all damage to United Nations installations had been on the Israeli side, owing to attacks by Egyptian armed forces. The Government of Israel also regretted that the Secretary-General's observation that assistance for the improvement or for the construction of shelters for United Nations personnel had been "inadequate" might convey the impression that it was equally applicable to Israel, an impression that would be misleading inasmuch as the Israeli authorities had exerted their utmost endeavours to expedite the construction of shelters and would continue to do so to the extent that Egyptian acts of aggression did not impede it. Israel believed that the simple answer to the difficulties to which the Secretary-General had referred was the faithful and scrupulous observance of the cease-fire.
In a letter dated 30 April, the representative of the United Arab Republic stated that his Government had affirmatively responded to the proposals submitted by the Chief of Staff of UNTSO and had already taken the necessary steps towards strengthening the shelters assigned to the observers all along the west bank of the Suez Canal with a view to making them safer and more secure for the observers against Israeli fire from across the Canal. The responsibility for the deteriorating situation and aggravation of conditions in the Suez Canal sector lay clearly with Israel, which, after having committed its aggression of 5 June 1967, was insisting on a policy of annexing the Arab territory it had occupied and in particular refusing to implement the Council's resolution of 22 November 1967.
On 1 May the Secretary-General had addressed a further letter to the representative of Israel denying Israel's claim that from 12 March until the end of the period under review no damage whatsoever had been caused to the United Nations observation posts on the United Arab Republic side. The Secretary-General added that the purpose of his letter had not been to start a discussion on the responsibility for the events in the Suez Canal sector, but rather to secure as far as possible increased co-operation in facilitating the task of observation and the provision of all possible assistance and protection to United Nations personnel in carrying out their duties. He expressed appreciation for the co-operation which the United Nations military observers had received.
In his letter dated 1 May to the representative of the United Arab Republic, the Secretary-General, after noting the offer of continued co-operation in the building of shelters for United Nations military observers, stated that the representative of the United Arab Republic had not made any specific reference to two other matters which continued to concern him and which he had raised in his letter of 21 April, namely, the question of encroachment on United Nations observation posts and incidents of firing near United Nations personnel, installations and vehicles. Since 21 April, the day on which he had addressed identical letters to the two parties, exchanges of fire had continued to take place daily in the Suez Canal sector. Encroachment on United Nations observation posts had continued and some of those posts had been hit. After giving details of some of the recent incidents, as reported to him by General Bull, the Secretary-General stated that his concern over the safety of United Nations military observers had been unhappily borne out by an incident on 22 April, when a United Nations military observer had been seriously injured as his vehicle struck an anti-tank mine. Efforts by General Bull to secure assurances from the United Arab Republic that the wounded observer could be safely evacuated either by helicopter or by ambulance were unsuccessful, and in fact a clearly marked ambulance flying a United Nations flag came under fire from United Arab Republic forces on the west bank of the Canal before reaching the scene of the incident. The observer had thereafter been evacuated by an Israeli helicopter and was reported to be in good condition. The observer had been wounded at a time when he was proceeding with a second military observer to assist two others whose vehicles had, earlier that morning, struck a mine while en route to a United Nations observation post, and the relief of the team of observers at that post had to be postponed for almost a week, owing to the mining and continued firing in the area.
The Secretary-General went on to state that the Chief of Staff of UNTSO was approaching the authorities on both sides in order to discuss with them practical measures to facilitate the observation operations in the Suez Canal sector and to secure all possible assistance and protection for the United Nations military observers and personnel in the performance of their duties. One of the proposals that General Bull had in mind was the establishment of safe perimeters around United Nations installations. General Bull had considered, and the Secretary-General agreed, that each of the United Nations control centres and observation posts should be surrounded by a free area of agreed dimensions, which should be clearly marked and free of any manned or unmanned firing positions and of any military personnel and equipment. The Secretary-General also agreed with another proposal of General Bull that, with the agreement of the two parties, UNTSO should be provided with a United Nations craft to be used for the relief of United Nations personnel at observation posts when relief by road was not possible, and to evacuate United Nations personnel if necessary. Finally, the Secretary-General paid special tribute to the United Nations military observers and Field Service personnel, who continued to carry out their tasks with a high sense of duty, great courage and with accuracy and objectivity.
In a letter dated 8 May, the representative of the USSR, referring to the Secretary-General's report of 21 April 1969 on the situation in the Suez Canal sector, expressed his delegation's satisfaction that the Secretary-General had brought that matter to the attention of the Security Council at an opportune moment. He added that the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East could not fail to arouse grave concern and that the reason was Israel's desire to frustrate the efforts towards a peaceful settlement in the Middle East, as provided in the Security Council resolution of 22 November 1967. Israel's attitude towards the current four-Power consultations also indicated the same policy. In the opinion of the Soviet Union, however, those consultations could be an effective means of reaching a settlement on the basis of the Security Council resolution. The Soviet Union believed that if the situation in the area was to be brought back to normal, it was also necessary that the Security Council resolutions on the cease-fire be strictly observed.
In a letter dated 13 May, the representative of the United Arab Republic referred to meetings between General Bull and the Under-Secretary of State of the United Arab Republic in which General Bull had been informed that the fortification of the military observers' shelters along the west bank of the Suez Canal was under way, that the United Arab Republic was prepared to undertake the fortification in accordance with specifications submitted by General Bull, and that other steps had been taken to eliminate the exposure of the United Nations military observers to Israeli fire. The United Arab Republic was ready to respond positively to any suggestion which was consistent with its defences in the area. In conclusion he reiterated that Israel bore sole responsibility for the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East, owing to its persistent aggression, avowed intentions and systematic attacks on cities and towns and destruction of economic installations.
In a letter dated 15 May, the representative of Israel commented on the views expressed in the letter of 8 May from the representative of the USSR, asserting that the vilification contained therein was an expression of established Soviet policy and threw additional light on the reasons for Israel's opposition to the current talks between the four permanent members of the Council. If the Soviet Union were in fact interested in the maintenance of the cease-fire in the Suez Canal area, he indicated, it would be well advised to impress upon the United Arab Republic its responsibility for the persistent violation of the cease-fire, as was clear from the reports submitted by General Bull. Israel, he pledged, would continue to observe scrupulously the cease-fire on the basis of reciprocity, and hoped that the United Arab Republic would do likewise.
On 17 May the representative of Finland expressed appreciation for the Secretary-General's efforts to protect the observers. As one of the Governments which had made military personnel available to serve as United Nations observers in the Suez Canal sector, his Government hoped that the arrangements initiated would ensure, with the co-operation of the Governments concerned, the continued effectiveness of UNTSO, which was an indispensable means of maintaining the cease-fire.
Four communications received from the representatives of Israel and the United Arab Republic during the month of May and until 15 June are summarized in the following paragraphs.
A letter dated 7 May was received from Israel commenting on United Arab Republic complaints of 25 and 30 April which, it said, contained familiar propaganda versions of the twenty-one years of Arab war on Israel and distorted United Nations records and resolutions. The reports of General Bull and of the Secretary-General made it clear that Israel was trying to reduce to the minimum any risk to the observers while the United Arab Republic forces had initiated gross military assaults on them. The letter asserted that the United Arab Republic campaign against the cease-fire was an aspect of its proclaimed doctrine of offensive military actions against Israel, that the constant exchange of fire and raids into Israeli-held territory were part of a general planned operation, and that Israel was forced to take measures of self-defence but was committed to the observation of the cease-fire on a reciprocal basis.
Two letters dated 12 and 15 May were received from the United Arab Republic complaining of three days of shelling against cities and villages along the west bank of the Canal, concentrating on civilian centres and economic installations, and of an attempt by an Israeli force to cross the Canal in rubber boats in order to infiltrate positions on the west bank. Along with its campaign against civilians, it was charged, Israel had intensified the fortification of its positions on the east bank of the Canal in order to be able to fire on the city of Port Said. That action had seriously aggravated the situation in the Suez Canal area to the point of a threat of explosion.
A letter dated 19 May was received from Israel contrasting the letters of the United Arab Republic representative blaming Israel for tension in the Suez Canal sector with statements by United Arab Republic leaders openly proclaiming its policy of maintaining tension along the cease-fire line. Israel charged that the United Arab Republic, having decided to sacrifice the welfare of its population along the west bank and turn the sector into a daily battlefield, had evacuated civilians from the sector and turned the localities into bases for a campaign of intensified aggression.
A letter dated 13 June from Israel drew the attention of the Security Council to the fact that units of the armed forces of Kuwait were stationed in Egypt and were participating actively in the Suez Canal sector. After pointing out that the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait had, on 8 June 1967, officially informed the Secretary-General that the Government of Kuwait would not "observe nor adhere to" the cease-fire resolutions that had been adopted by the Security Council, the letter added that the same Minister had, according to Radio Kuwait on 5 June 1969, stressed that Kuwait completely rejected the Security Council resolution of November 1967.
Reports received from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO from the beginning of May until mid-June indicated that firing incidents continued to take place on a daily basis in the Suez Canal sector, although the intensity of firing in general decreased after mid-May.
3. Complaints by Israel and Lebanon
On 27 October 1968, the Chief of Staff of UNTSO reported that in a complaint to the Chairman of the Israel-Lebanon Mixed Armistice Commission, Lebanon had stated that on the night 26-27 October forty mortar rounds had been fired at the village of Al Majidiah, and it had requested an inquiry. In the course of the inquiry, the United Nations military observers had found bloodstains which were said to be of a wounded man, as well as fifty craters in the village area, and the bodies of numerous livestock which were reported to have been killed by the shelling. On 28 October Lebanon also submitted a complaint to the Security Council, stating that on the preceding day Israeli forces had shelled the above-mentioned Lebanese village with one hundred mortar shells. On 29 October the Chief of Staff reported that Lebanon had presented another complaint of Israeli mortar fire on 28 October in three areas, and added that the United Nations military observers had conducted three inquiries and found twenty-two mortar tailfins in the impact area with markings in Hebrew.
On 6 November, in reply to Lebanon's complaints, Israel stated that the cease-fire had first been violated from the Lebanese side and that Israel had had to take action in self-defence.
MEETINGS OF THE COUNCIL IN DECEMBER 1968
On 29 December the representative of Lebanon requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider its complaint concerning an act of aggression committed by Israeli air forces against the Civilian International Airport of Beirut for which, the representative of Lebanon said, Israel had admitted its responsibility. On the same day, Israel also requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider its charges of the constant violation by Lebanon of the United Nations Charter and the cease-fire resolutions of the Security Council.
When the Council met the same day to consider the two requests, it also had before it two reports from the Acting Chief of Staff of UNTSO.
The first reported that early in the morning of 29 December the Chairman of the Israel-Lebanon Mixed Armistice Commission had received a complaint from the Lebanese delegation stating that on the previous evening Israeli troops brought in by helicopter had destroyed thirteen civil aircraft at the Beirut International Airport. The report added that in discussion with the Chief Operations Officer of UNTSO, the Assistant Israel Liaison Officer had stated that fourteen aircraft had been destroyed or damaged.
The second report stated that in an inquiry conducted by United Nations military observers eleven witnesses had been interrogated who provided an account of the attack at the Beirut International Airport, and of the physical damage and injury received by some of the personnel at the airport. The United Nations military observers had seen evidence of an attack, including thirteen destroyed aircraft.
The representative of Lebanon stated that Israel's attack on the defenceless Civil International Airport of Beirut, damaging its installations and civil aircraft, constituted a threat to the peace and security of the Middle East and the world as a whole. Since Israel's aggressive act was committed in flagrant violation of the purposes and principles of the Charter and in defiance of previous Security Council resolutions, another condemnation of Israel would not be enough, and the Council must take effective measures under Chapter VII of the Charter. After it had fully assessed the damage done, Lebanon would further request the Council to take the necessary measures to make Israel compensate for the damage.
The representative of Israel stated that on 26 December, an Israeli civil airliner en route to New York had been attacked by bombs and machine-guns at the Athens International Airport. The assailants, who used hand grenades, had come from Beirut and had opened fire indiscriminately, killing one passenger and gravely injuring one member of the crew. The Government of Lebanon bore the responsibility for that attack because, in spite of its obligations under the Security Council cease-fire resolutions, it had permitted terrorist organizations to conduct their activities against Israel from its territory. An attack on Israeli aircraft was as much a violation of the cease-fire as an attack on Israeli territory, and entitled the Government of Israel to exercise its right of self-defence. It was in the exercise of that right that on 28 December a commando unit of the Israeli defence forces had landed at Beirut airport and struck at a number of aircraft belonging to Arab airlines.
During the discussion in the Council, a majority of members strongly condemned the attack on the Beirut Civil International Airport, which they considered to be entirely disproportionate to the act which had preceded it. Furthermore, there was a fundamental difference between the acts of the two individuals who had attacked the Israeli airline plane and those of a sizable military force operating directly under Government orders. Several members expressed sympathy with Lebanon and stated that reparations should be made for the damage suffered by it. Some members also expressed concern about the recurrence of violent acts which led to further violence and also about the non-implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967.
Some members stated that in view of the serious situation prevailing in the Middle East an element of restraint should be introduced and that that could be done only if the permanent members of the Security Council combined their efforts for peace in the Middle East. The representative of the United Kingdom said that the Security Council had repeatedly urged on the parties the acceptance and implementation of the principles and purposes of its resolutions. However, it was feared that if left to themselves alone, the parties might never come to an agreement despite the best efforts of the Special Representative. Therefore, the permanent members of the Security Council should not allow the declared aims of the Council to be frustrated.
On 31 December the President of the Council announced that after intensive consultation among members of the Council, agreement had been reached on the text of a draft resolution which was then being submitted to the Council. The draft resolution was adopted unanimously on 31 December as resolution 262 (1968).
Under the operative paragraphs of this resolution concerning the Israeli attack on the Civil International Airport of Beirut, the Security Council: (1) condemned Israel for its premeditated military action in violation of its obligations under the Charter and the cease-fire resolutions; (2) considered that such premeditated acts of violence endangered the maintenance of peace; (3) issued a solemn warning to Israel that if such acts were to be repeated, the Council would have to consider further steps to give effect to its decisions; and (4) considered that Lebanon was entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it suffered, responsibility for which had been acknowledged by Israel.
SUBSEQUENT COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS
On 3 January 1969, the Secretary-General received a report from the Acting Chief of Staff of UNTSO concerning the situation in the Israel-Lebanon sector, which he transmitted to the Security Council the following day upon receipt of the summary of an inquiry made by United Nations military observers. The inquiry was made in response to a request from the Lebanese delegation to the effect that during the night of 2-3 January mortar and artillery shells had been fired on two occasions from Israel territory against four Arab villages in Lebanon. In the course of their inquiry the United Nations military observers had interviewed three witnesses and had seen physical evidence of mortar impacts and two broken telephone wires, but had found no evidence of artillery shelling or casualties.
In a letter 22 February, the representative of Lebanon complained that on the previous day Israeli military planes had violated Lebanese air space on twelve occasions, sometimes in pairs or in groups of four. Lebanese anti-aircraft artillery and air force units had taken action against the intruders. The Lebanese representative stated that the action should be viewed in the light of Israel's repeated threats against Lebanon, its efforts to implicate Lebanon in the incidents at the Zurich and Athens airports, and other unjustified and unprovoked acts which revealed Israel's aggressive designs against Lebanon.
The Chief of Staff of UNTSO reported on 22 February that the Lebanese delegation had submitted complaints to the Chairman of the Israel-Lebanon Mixed Armistice Commission concerning the above incidents of Israeli penetration of Lebanese air space, and added that twice on 21 February a United Nations military observer in the area had observed two Mirage-type aircraft flying south from one of the Lebanese villages concerned.
4. Complaints by Israel and Syria
During the past year communications have been addressed to the Security Council by the representatives of Israel and Syria complaining of violations of the cease-fire by the other party, and the Secretary-General has circulated reports received from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO concerning the observance of the cease-fire in the Israel-Syria sector.
On 5 September Israel complained of incidents in which, it charged, Syrian soldiers and saboteurs had infiltrated across the cease-fire line on 30 August and 2 September.
The Chief of Staff of UNTSO reported that United Nations military observers in the sector had witnessed an exchange of fire on 30 August and firing by Israeli forces on 2 September. General Bull also reported that Syria had complained to the Chairman of the Israel-Syria Mixed Armistice Commission regarding the incident of 2 September in which it asserted two Syrian soldiers had been killed and one wounded.
Further reports received from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO indicated that exchanges of fire had been observed by the United Nations military observers.
On 6 October the Chief of Staff of UNTSO reported on two incidents which had occurred on 5 October in the Israel-Syria sector. Syria had complained to the Mixed Armistice Commission that during the morning of 5 October, Israeli military positions had opened fire on Syrian women at work and had killed one.
With regard to the second incident, on the afternoon of 5 October, both parties had submitted complaints. In a complaint to the Mixed Armistice Commission, Syria charged that two Syrian soldiers had been shot after running into an Israeli ambush, while Israel informed General Bull that a group of three armed Syrian soldiers had crossed the no-man's land, penetrated into Israel-held territory and opened fire on an Israeli patrol. United Nations military observers on duty at the time had heard several explosions and heavy machine-gun fire and seen five illuminating flares. During the inquiry on this incident, United Nations military observers were told by Syria that members of a Syrian patrol were new in the area and had become lost, and by Israel that its patrol had been fired on by unknown persons and had returned the fire and that a search had revealed two bodies in uniform, which should be returned to Syria by the Red Cross. General Bull later reported that the handover of the bodies of the two Syrian soldiers had taken place on 8 October in the presence of two United Nations military observers.
On 21 November the Chief of Staff of UNTSO submitted a report concerning a Syrian complaint to the Mixed Armistice Commission to the effect that one Syrian civilian had been killed and two were missing following a shooting incident on 19 November.
On 7 February 1969, the Chief of Staff reported that a light aircraft had been seen crossing the Israeli forward defended localities by United Nations military observers and that rounds of ack-ack and heavy machine-gun fire had been heard at the same time. On 8 February the Chief of Staff reported that the Israeli authorities had informed him that a land mine had exploded under an Israeli vehicle south of the village of Rafid in the Israel-Syria sector and that one Israeli soldier had been killed and another wounded.
On 14 February the Chief of Staff reported that United Nations military observers had witnessed aerial activity and anti-aircraft and machine-gun fire from both sides in the Israel-Syria sector. Each party had charged that jet aircraft belonging to the other side had violated its air space and that following an air engagement Israel had claimed and Syria had admitted the loss of one of the Syrian jets.
On 24 February the Chief of Staff submitted a report regarding several overflights from west to east on that day, several of the planes having been identified as Israeli Mirage aircraft. The report added that Syrian anti-aircraft guns had opened fire on some of those planes. In a subsequent report, the Chief of Staff stated that he had received a message from the Syrian delegate to the Mixed Armistice Commission complaining that jet fighters and bombers had attacked civilian installations in two areas in Syria, and that twenty civilians had been wounded. The Chief of Staff later reported that at the request of Syria an inquiry had been conducted by United Nations military observers into the Israel air attack of 24 February. During the inquiry the observers had seen material damage and visited thirty-one hospitalized persons who were reported to have been injured in the air attack.
On 25 February Syria complained to the Security Council about the same incidents, charging that on the previous day a number of Israeli bombers and fighters had launched air attacks on two towns and a suburb of Damascus. In the attack with bombs and rockets fifteen people had been killed, forty wounded and a number of houses, factories, a youth summer camp, a customs-police station and other civilian installations had been destroyed. Private vehicles, including the car of the Ambassador of Hungary to Syria, had been attacked on the road and two Syrian and three Israeli aircraft had been lost in the engagement.
On 28 February Israel stated in reply that on the morning of 24 February, it had taken air action in self-defence to disable two El-Fatah bases in Syrian territory, which were the central bases of the terrorist organizations in the two towns on the road between Damascus and Beirut. The Government of Syria had for years, it charged, openly sponsored, organized and encouraged terror warfare against Israel.
In a letter dated 4 March, Syria denied that the targets of the Israeli attack of 24 February were El-Fatah bases and adduced evidence to prove that the targets of that planned attack had been civilian installations.
On 11 March the representatives of Hungary and the USSR also sent communications relating to the above incident. The representative of Hungary transmitted a protest to the Government of Israel against the Israeli air attack on 24 February during which the life of the Ambassador of Hungary had been endangered and his car demolished. In the
the Hungarian Government had termed the armed attack a grave violation of international law and had reserved its right to claim full compensation. The letter from the USSR transmitted a statement dated 28 February from the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) protesting the acts of provocation committed by Israel against the Arab countries and stating that those acts showed that Israel was pursuing an aggressive policy with the aim of aggravating the situation in the Middle East and creating conditions which would preclude the possibility of establishing a lasting peace in the region.
During March, April and May, the Security Council continued to receive from time to time complaints by the parties on cease-fire violations in the Israel-Syria sector as well as reports of the Secretary-General based on the information submitted to him by the Chief of Staff of UNTSO. Exchanges of fire in the sector were reported by United Nations military observers on 3, 5 and 28 March.
In letters dated 5 March, and 4, 8 and 11 April, Syria complained to the Security Council that Israeli forces in occupied Syrian territory were deliberately destroying homes and villages, which it termed violations of the cease-fire lines and the buffer zone. In reply to those charges, Israel asserted in a letter dated 15 April that Syria had no grounds for complaint over defence measures taken by Israel on its side of the cease-fire line in the face of Syrian violations by its regular forces and by marauders and saboteurs. Syria in turn protested on 17 April that so-called defence measures could not justify the razing of villages, demolition of houses and mass execution of shepherds, and called attention to Israel's refusal to accept the dispatch of a special representative of the Secretary-General in accordance with Council resolution 259 (1968) of 27 September 1968. A letter from Israel on 25 April declared that since Syria's policy had remained one of war with Israel, Syria had no basis for advising Israel on how to defend itself, and a reply from Syria on 9 May transmitted further charges of the destruction of houses by Israeli authorities as well as charges of opening anti-tank fire across Syrian cease-fire positions.
Additional reports from the Chief of Staff of UNTSO relating to firing across the forward defended localities in the area were circulated on 9 April and 14 May, and on 8 April Syria charged in a letter to the Council that six Syrian shepherds had been captured and murdered by Israeli soldiers on 5 April in an area they had occupied in the buffer zone.
During the period between March and June 1969, several communications to the Council dealt with the presence of Iraqi troops in Syria. On 19 March Israel called attention to the reported entry and stationing of Iraqi armed forces in Syria, which, it said, would further aggravate the situation in the area, as there was no assurance that they would observe the cease-fire. Israel requested the Secretary-General to obtain from Iraq an assurance that the Iraqi forces would respect the cease-fire. On 26 March Syria stated that in view of Israel's policy of aggression, in particular since June 1967, and its oppression of Arab residents in occupied territories, it was but natural that the Arab countries should co-ordinate their defence and it was for that reason that they had formed an Arab common defence pact. On 1 April Iraq, commenting on Israel's letter of 19 March, stated that the entry of Iraqi armed forces into Syria had taken place at the specific request of the Syrian Government and under the Joint Defence Agreement between Iraq and Syria. It added that the Iraqi troops had been stationed at a considerable distance from the cease-fire line in Syrian territory and that their presence was in accordance with the right of self-defence recognized by the Charter of the United Nations and by international law. On 10 April Israel noted that the Government of Iraq had refused to accept the cease-fire ordered by the Council in June 1967 and continued to proclaim a policy of waging war against Israel. Accordingly Israel considered that Governments which permitted the maintenance of the Iraqi expeditionary forces on their territory should bear full responsibility for the consequent aggravation of the situation. Israel further stressed the urgency of efforts by the Secretary-General to obtain assurances that Iraq accepted the cease-fire resolutions and that its forces would respect the cease-fire. The position of Iraq in this matter was reiterated in letters dated 24 April and 5 May and that of Israel in letters dated 29 April and 12 May.
Treatment of civilian populations in Israel
occupied territories and related matters
During the past year the Security Council received a series of communications concerning the treatment of civilian populations in territories occupied by Israel and the Israeli countercharges. Communications from the Arab States complained about Israel's policies in occupied Arab territories which were said to include the arrest, detention, torture, dispossession and expulsion of Arab civilians from their homes, and the establishment there of Israeli settlements.
Jordan drew attention in particular to the deteriorating conditions of more than 400,000 expelled refugees living on the East Bank of Jordan, and complained of the alleged intention of the Israeli authorities to expel and deport another 50,000 Arab refugees from the Gaza Strip to the East Bank, a matter that aroused the concern of the Sudan also.
Syria charged that the Israeli occupying authorities were demolishing Arab villages in occupied Syrian territory with a view to annexing the Golan Heights and integrating them into Israel. It decried the apathy of international public opinion on the matter and warned that any condonation of such Israeli policies presented a threat to world peace.
Israel rejected the charges contained in the communications from the Arab States. With regard to the condition of the Arab refugees on the East Bank of Jordan, Israel stated that it was the Jordanian authorities that had failed to effect a return of 3,000 refugees a day to the West Bank following a humanitarian agreement signed by the two countries on 6 August 1967. It also complained about the treatment of Jewish citizens in Arab countries, particularly of the execution by Iraq of nine Jews, among others, in January 1969, a matter that evoked correspondence from countries other than those directly involved in the conflict in the Middle East.
1. Report of the Secretary-General of 31 July 1968
On 31 July 1968, the Secretary-General, pursuant to Security Council resolution 237 (1967) and General Assembly resolution 2252 (ES-V), and subsequent to his earlier note of 19 April 1968, issued a report containing the texts of
exchanged between him and the parties concerned between 2 May and 30 July relating to his suggestion to send a second mission to the Middle East on humanitarian questions.
The representative of Syria, noting the assertion in Israel's reply contained in the Secretary-General's earlier note of 19 April, to the effect that the Special Representative in the projected mission would look into the situation of the Jewish communities in the Arab countries in the area of conflict, had reaffirmed in a note to the Secretary-General that such an interpretation was totally unacceptable to his Government.
In his exchange of notes with the Secretary-General, the representative of Israel had insisted that before the decision to dispatch the projected second mission Israel would have to have assurances that the Arab States would help the Secretary-General's Special Representative this time to investigate the condition of the Jewish communities in the area of conflict, including Iraq and Lebanon. He said that the second mission should have the same scope as the first under Mr. Nils Gussing, which had included a mandate to investigate the condition of the Jewish minorities in the Arab States in the area, although Mr. Gussing's efforts to carry out that part of his mission had not been successful.
The Secretary-General in his replies had stated that the question raised by Israel at such a late date would extend the scope of the projected mission beyond the provisions and intent of the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions establishing it, and was bound to delay the commencement of its work. No such question had been raised by Israel at the time of the first mission. Moreover, the projected mission was not intended to deal with minority groups in the area: the Arab people in the area were not a minority but virtually constituted the total population of the territories under military occupation, whereas the members of the Jewish communities in the Arab States, though certainly a minority on religious grounds, were for the most part citizens of the States in which they resided. A brief legal analysis included in the Secretary-General's note to the representative of Israel stated that operative paragraphs 1 and 2 of Security Council resolution 237 (1967) and of General Assembly resolution 2252 (ES-V) applied to the areas occupied by Israel since June 1967. Moreover, there was no legal basis under which the precedent of the Gussing mission, which had inquired into questions relating to the Jewish minorities in Syria and the United Arab Republic, could be extended to Iraq and Lebanon.
Noting that the position taken by Israel constituted a condition of acceptance of the second mission by that State, the Secretary-General had appraised the Governments of Syria, Jordan and the United Arab Republic of the situation before submitting his report on the matter to the Security Council and to the General Assembly. In their replies the three Arab Governments had expressed their readiness to receive and co-operate with the projected mission in implementation of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. But they all rejected Israel's attempt to extend the scope of the mission as
the provisions of those resolutions, which had specifically called upon the Government of Israel to ensure the safety, welfare and security of the inhabitants of the areas where military operations had taken place and to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who had fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities.
In view of the above positions of the parties and the legal interpretation of the two relevant resolutions, the Secretary-General had concluded that there was no basis upon which the mission could proceed. He felt that it would not be proper to ask a responsible person to undertake a mission of that kind without the agreement of the parties on its basic functions. As far as the situation of the Jewish community in Iraq was concerned, it already had been the subject of a series of discussions between him and the representative of Iraq; and as for the situation in Lebanon, he had never received any reports that there had been anything in the treatment of the Jewish community of that country that needed to be examined.
The Secretary-General regretted that the well-being of a great many people could not be given sufficient priority and considered sufficiently urgent to override the obstacles that the projected second mission had so far encountered.
2. Meetings of the Security Council in September 1968
In a letter dated 17 September the representatives of Pakistan and Senegal requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider the report of the Secretary-General of 31 July 1968. The Council considered it at two meetings held on 20 and 27 September.
When the Council met on 20 September, it had before it a draft resolution submitted by Pakistan and Senegal on the previous day, which was subsequently revised. In accordance with the revised draft, the Security Council would: (1) request the Secretary-General urgently to dispatch a special representative to the Arab territories under military occupation by Israel following the hostilities of 5 June 1967, and to report on the implementation of resolution 237 (1967) ; (2) request the Government of Israel to receive and co-operate with the Special Representative and to facilitate his work; and (3) recommend that the Secretary-General be afforded all co-operation in his efforts to bring about the implementation of the present resolution and of resolution 237 (1967).
The draft was introduced on 20 September by the sponsors, who expressed regret that Israel had created obstacles to the implementation of resolution 237 (1967) by introducing entirely alien and irrelevant conditions into the procedure which the Secretary-General was authorized to follow, thus denying the Security Council the opportunity of discharging its moral duty. They added that the discussion prior to the adoption of resolution 237 (1967) had made it quite clear that the Council's concern was for the inhabitants of the occupied areas where military operations had taken place. Urging the adoption of their draft resolution, they stated that the people left under military occupation should not be denied their fundamental rights.
During the ensuing discussion on 20 and 27 September, the representatives of Jordan, Syria and the United Arab Republic maintained the position that it was urgently necessary to dispatch a special representative to the areas under Israel's military occupation, as the condition of the inhabitants of those areas was deteriorating. The representative of Jordan listed a number of charges of violation of civil rights committed by Israeli authorities in the occupied territories and stressed that if Israel should deny those charges, that would reinforce the necessity of finding out the truth by on-the-spot investigation.
The representative of Israel said that Israel was not unwilling to co-operate with a second representative on a fact-finding mission within the context of Security Council resolution 237 (1967) and General Assembly resolution 2252 (ES-V), but that it had asked only that the mission should have an equal opportunity to investigate the situation of Jewish communities that were being persecuted in the Arab countries since the recent conflict. Israel could not accept a deliberate disregard for the fate of those Jews in distress.
The representatives of France and the United Kingdom supported the Secretary-General's idea of sending a new representative to the area in accordance with resolutions of the Council and the General Assembly, but regretted that certain obstacles had made it impossible to effect the humanitarian purpose so clearly expressed by the Council after the June hostilities. France had always urged a speedy end to the military occupation by Israel, but while that occupation continued, the Council must be informed with regard to the conditions prevailing there.
The representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics said that Israel had not heeded the warning contained in resolution 237 (1967) but had only continued to commit acts of lawlessness in occupied Arab territories and had established a régime of arbitrary oppression there. What was happening in those territories emphasized the need for the speediest possible liquidation of the consequences of Israeli aggression, and any further delay by the Council in coming to a decision on the matter was inadmissible.
After further consideration of the question on 27 September, the two-Power draft resolution was put to the vote and adopted by 12 votes to none, with three abstentions (Canada, Denmark and the United States), as resolution 259 (1968).
Immediately after the vote the Secretary-General informed the Council that he had been ready for some time to designate a Special Representative who would undertake the second humanitarian mission and that the Special Representative would proceed to the area with minimum delay once there was assurance that he would have the access and co-operation indispensable to the fulfilment of his mission.
The representatives of Canada, Denmark and the United States, explaining their vote, stated that they had abstained because, while fully supporting resolution 237 (1967) and sharing the deep concern about the safety and welfare of the inhabitants in the area of conflict, they nevertheless felt that the two-Power draft resolution had taken an unnecessarily restrictive view of the second projected mission instead of keeping its scope similar to that of the first mission of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General By narrowing the terms of reference of the mission, the sponsors had hampered the chances of its achieving any practical results.
3. Report of the Secretary-General of 14 October 1968
On 14 October the Secretary-General, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of resolution 259 (1968), submitted a report containing the texts of letters exchanged by him with the represenatives of Israel, Jordan, Syria and the United Arab Republic. On 28 September he had addressed a letter to the representative of Israel seeking assurance that the Government of Israel would receive, co-operate with and facilitate the work of the Special Representative to be designated by him. On the same day, he also wrote to the representatives of the three Arab States to obtain the co-operation of their Governments for the Special Representative.
In their replies, the representatives of Jordan and the United Arab Republic had given assurances of their Governments' fullest co-operation with the Special Representative. The representative of Syria, after stating his Government's understanding that under resolutions 237 (1967) and 259 (1968) the Special Representative had no mandate over Syrian citizens of Jewish faith, also assured him that the Special Representative would be afforded all co-operation in his efforts. The representative of Israel reiterated his Government's stand that the task of the Special Representative should, in accordance with its interpretation of resolution 237 (1967), include the question of treatment of both Arab and Jewish persons in the States which were directly concerned because of their participation in the war He added that, as soon as the Secretary-General had received assurances from the Arab Governments that had participated in the June war that the Special Representative would have the access and co-operation indispensable to the fulfilment of his mission concerning and Jewish minorities in those countries, Israel would be ready to discuss the arrangements for the mission.
In his reply to the representative of Israel, the Secretary-General pointed out that his request for co-operation had been made under resolution 259 (1968) which, in paragraph 1, referred exclusively to "Arab territories under military occupation by Israel", and in paragraph 2 made a request to Israel which envisaged implementation without conditions. The Secretary-General concluded that since Israel's reply did not afford him a basis on which to dispatch the Special Representative, he had no alternative but to report accordingly to the Security Council.
In conclusion, the Secretary-General stated that, as would be seen from the correspondence, he had not been able to give effect to the Council's decision.
Situation in and around Jerusalem and its Holy Places
During the period under review a number of communications were received regarding the situation in Jerusalem and its Holy Places. The Secretary-General also submitted a report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 252 (1968) relating to the status of Jerusalem. This report and some of the communications are briefly noted below.
In a letter dated 11 October 1968, Syria transmitted to the Secretary-General a message from some of the religious leaders in Syria condemning the desecration of the Holy Places by the Israeli occupying forces. On 6 November Jordan also brought to the attention of the Secretary-General charges of continuous Israeli acts of demolition and change of character of historical and religious buildings in Jerusalem, and transmitted a letter from the Mayor of Jerusalem containing an account of Israel's measures in that respect. On 11 February 1969, Jordan transmitted a list of protests submitted to the Israeli authorities by religious leaders and institutions against the measures taken by the Government of Israel and concerning the conduct of some Israeli citizens in Jerusalem.
On 8 February Jordan requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council "to consider the continued Israeli defiance of Security Council resolution 252 (1968)" which, among other things, called upon Israel to desist from taking any action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem. Jordan stated that despite that clear warning, Israel had enacted, against Arab opposition, legislation designed to destroy the character of the city and incorporate the Arab life and institutions into Israeli life. The legislation was to take effect on 25 February and would create a situation which threatened not only the economic life of Christians and Moslems of Jerusalem, but also international peace and security.
In a note dated 10 February, the President of the Security Council stated that since the Government of Israel had decided to postpone until 23 May 1969 the putting into effect of the legislative provisions which formed the subject-matter of Jordan's complaint, the meeting of the Security Council which had been fixed for 11 February had been postponed.
On 10 February Jordan transmitted the text of a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of Israel by a group of Arab lawyers in Israeli-occupied territory, in which they had protested against Israeli legislation aimed at completing the process of Israel's annexation of Jerusalem and its environs.
On 13 February Jordan sent a letter to the Secretary-General stating that the postponement allowed for an extension of the time-limit during which efforts could be made for the repeal of the legislation and thus avoid confronting the world with a
. Jordan also requested the Secretary-General to furnish the Security Council with a progress report on the implementation of resolution 252 (1968).
On 11 April the Secretary-General, in a report submitted in pursuance of Security Council resolution 252 (1968), stated that since the termination of the mission of his Personal Representative in Jerusalem in September 1967, he had had no means of obtaining first-hand information upon which he could base a report. On 13 February he had sent a note to Israel in which he recalled that under resolution 252 (1968) the Security Council had considered that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tended to change the legal status of Jerusalem, were invalid and could not change that status; urgently called upon Israel to rescind all such measures already taken and to desist forthwith from any further action which tended to change the status of Jerusalem; and had requested the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of the resolution. He had stated that he must in the main look to the Government of Israel for the information necessary in the discharge of his responsibilities under the resolution and requested the Government of Israel to provide him with such information. In his reply of 25 March, the representative of Israel informed the Secretary-General that the position of his Government continued to be the same as set forth in the letter of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel of 10 July 1967 and in the statements which had been made on that subject by the representatives of Israel in the General Assembly and the Security Council.
The Secretary-General then stated that the only other source of information of an official nature pertinent to the implementation of Security Council resolution 252 (1968) which had been available to him was the
Israel Official Gazette,
published originally in Hebrew. According to that
the Israel Parliament, on the basis of a bill submitted by the Government of Israel, had adopted on 14 August 1968 the Legal and Administrative Matters (Regulation) Law, which related to the situation in Jerusalem. Regarding the implementation of this law, the Secretary-General recalled that the President of the Security Council had indicated, in his note on 10 February 1969, that Israel had decided to postpone until 23 May 1969 the putting into effect of this law. An unofficial translation of the law and of the relevant bill and explanatory notes was annexed to the report.
Other matters brought to the attention of
the Security Council in connexion with the
situation in the Middle East
1. Communications concerning an attack on an
Israeli civil aircraft at Zurich airport
On 18 February 1969, a spokesman of the Secretary-General stated that the Secretary-General had heard with dismay and deep concern of the attack that day on an El Al airliner at Zurich airport. The Secretary-General believed that that attack, as well as the one at the Beirut airport two months previously, was a matter of urgent concern to all Governments and peoples. He also hoped that that act would not be followed by an attack of retaliation, but rather by constructive international action to prevent acts of violence against international civil aviation in the future.
In a letter dated 20 February, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel protested to the Secretary-General against an armed assault on the crew and passengers of an El Al aircraft at Zurich on 18 February 1969, two months after a similar attack on another Israeli aircraft at Athens airport. He believed that those actions were the work of organized groups of saboteurs operating with the support and co-operation of Arab Governments which were Members of the United Nations and Members of the International Civil Aviation Organization. After noting that the Security Council resolution of 31 December 1968 had not said a word against the attack on an El Al aircraft at the Athens airport, the Foreign Minister expressed the view that the latest attack had taken place "in the atmosphere of international indulgence thus created". After referring to the above statement of the spokesman of the Secretary-General, he expressed interest in what constructive international action the Secretary-General had in mind to prevent those actions against international civil aviation.
In a letter dated 26 February, the Secretary-General stated that even before the receipt of the letter of the Foreign Minister of Israel he had been in touch with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Air Transport Association regarding the Zurich incident and had since kept himself in touch with ICAO. He had also consulted certain Members of the United Nations with a view to finding a means to prevent those acts. He believed that improved methods of international police co-operation and regulation of a national as well as international character might contribute towards the prevention of those acts of terrorism and violence. The Secretary-General considered, however, that the only sure way of bringing an end to terrorist acts would be some substantial movement towards a peaceful settlement of the major issues underlying the Middle East conflict. In that respect it was his strong conviction that the Security Council resolution of 22 November 1967 offered the only practical basis for the promotion of a just and lasting peace in the area, and an essential first step towards that end would be a declared readiness by the parties to implement that resolution.
In a letter dated 5 March, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, noting the Secretary-General's reply, said that his country was vitally interested in the promotion of improved methods for international police co-operation and regulation of a national and international character, and would actively associate itself with the meeting of the Council of ICAO. He believed, however, that it would be wrong to ignore the responsibility of Member States in that question. He charged that the attacks at the Zurich and Athens airports and the hijacking of an Israeli airliner to Algiers had been acts not of individuals, but of terrorist organizations supported and encouraged by Arab States in violation of their international responsibilities. The question therefore arose whether constructive international action to safeguard civil aviation should not include an undertaking by all States to prevent and condemn actions on their soil designed to endanger civil aviation. He regretted that the Secretary-General had not conveyed his Government's request to certain Arab Governments to condemn those attacks and dissociate themselves from them and to take required steps against the organization which had carried them out. With regard to the question of accepting and implementing the Security Council resolution of 22 November 1967, the Foreign Minister of Israel said that his Government's position in that respect had been set forth by him on 8 October in the general debate at the last session of the General Assembly, and added that his Government would continue to co-operate with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to promote an agreement for the implementation of that resolution.
In a letter dated 10 March, the Secretary-General referred to the observation of the Foreign Minister of Israel that the two questions of his Government had not been transmitted to certain Arab Governments, and recalled that in his aide-mémoire of 20 February to the Permanent Representative of Israel he had indicated that it would not be helpful if his good offices were used to transmit questions or messages of a political nature from one Government to another unless the parties concerned had previously agreed to that procedure. He was, therefore, unable to carry out the request, but had suggested that the Government of Israel might bring those questions to the attention of those concerned through a communication to the Security Council. The Secretary-General added that he continued to believe that a declaration by the parties of their readiness to implement the 22 November resolution would constitute a helpful first step towards a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Five other communications were addressed to the Security Council by the representatives of Finland, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States between 19 and 25 February concerning the attack on the Israel airliner at Zurich airport. All those communications expressed the grave concern of their respective Governments at the threat to the safety of international civilian air travel. They appealed to all the parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exercise the utmost restraint so as to avoid the chain of action and reprisal, and not to jeopardize the efforts in search of peace in the area.
2. Communications concerning archaeological
excavations in occupied Syrian territory
In a letter dated 23 May 1969, the representative of Syria stated that Israel was continuing its excavations in occupied Syrian territory and was misappropriating Syrian cultural property. Those excavations were being carried on in the areas of Banias and Fiq where Roman temples had been found, and in the area of Jibbin where an archaeological hill had been destroyed as a result of the opening of a road. After asserting that very important archaeological pieces had been removed from their places of origin, the representative of Syria added that those illegal acts constituted a violation of articles 4 and 5 of the 1954 Hague Convention and of article VI, paragraph 32, of the recommendations adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1956. The representative of Syria further recalled his delegation's letter of 7 July 1967, in which it had complained initially to the Secretary-General about Israel's excavations in occupied Syrian territories and the looting of historical properties, to which Israel had replied on 14 July that the Syrian charges were unfounded and that a representative of UNESCO, who was then expected in Israel, would be invited to visit the site referred to by Syria. The representative of Syria concluded by requesting a report on the question of excavations and "theft of cultural property of Syria".
Only a report by the Director-General of UNESCO submitted in 1969, with specific reference to Syria's complaints of 1969, could be cited in answer to Syria's charges.
In a reply dated 29 May, Israel stated that no Israeli scientist had carried out any excavation in any of the sites mentioned in the Syrian letter, and that the historic altar from the town of Banias had been temporarily removed but immediately restored to its site after arrangements for its safety had been taken. Such Syrian allegations had been dismissed by the Commissioner-General appointed under the Hague Convention of May 1954 in his letter of 6 February 1968 to the Director-General of UNESCO, and also in the latter's report to the Executive Board of UNESCO at its seventy-eighth session, indicating that the investigations carried out, "where the information supplied had been sufficient to make inquiries possible", had indicated that the complaints had proved groundless. Israel added that the Commissioner-General had since then twice visited the area in question and found no reason for any complaint.
In a letter of 10 June, Syria noted that the report of the Director-General of UNESCO to its Executive Board had been dated 16 May 1968 and referred to complaints formulated in 1967 and 1968, whereas the Syrian complaints were lodged in 1969. Accordingly, the complaints submitted by Syria on 23 May remained unanswered, and the Israeli occupying authorities were still accused of theft of cultural property and excavations in the occupied territories in disregard of the Hague Convention as well as the recommendations of the 1965 General Conference of UNESCO.
Report of the Secretary-General on theb progress of the mission
of his Special Representative to the Middle East
On 29 July 1968, the Secretary-General submitted to the Security Council a fourth report on the progress of the efforts of Ambassador Gunnar Jarring, his Special Representative to the Middle East, covering his activities after 29 March 1968. It stated that during that period Mr. Jarring had held discussions with the Governments of Jordan, the United Arab Republic, Israel and Lebanon. In addition to reporting to the Secretary-General regularly on those meetings, he had also met him at Teheran on 22 April 1968, when it was agreed that the Special Representative would return to New York for further consultations. He stayed in New York between 15 May and 21 June, during which time he held consultations with the Secretary-General and the permanent representatives of the parties concerned. During the period between 21 June, when he left for Europe, and 22 July, when he returned to New York, Mr. Jarring met with officials of some of the parties in various cities of Europe. In the light of his discussions he had arrived at the conclusion, which was endorsed by the Secretary-General, that it would be advisable for him to extend further his contacts with the parties and for that purpose he would return to the Middle East.
On 3 December 1968, the Secretary-General submitted a fifth report on the Special Representative's mission, covering his activities after 29 July. In accordance with his intention, as indicated in the previous report, Mr. Jarring arrived in Nicosia on 15 August for a further round of discussions with the Governments concerned. On 23 September he arrived at United Nations Headquarters, where the Foreign Ministers of the parties had gathered for the twenty-third session of the General Assembly. Mr. Jarring first met with them, both informally and formally, and at the end of the discussions received written communications from the Foreign Ministers of Israel and the United Arab Republic. On 26 November Mr. Jarring wrote to the Secretary-General stating that, as had been agreed, he was leaving New York on 27 November for a further round of talks with the parties. He added that he intended to invite the parties to begin a new round of talks in the middle of January 1969. In his reply of 27 November, the Secretary-General, after concurring with Mr. Jarring's programme, expressed his gratification on the Special Representative's willingness to continue his efforts with the parties towards a peaceful settlement. The Secretary-General once again put on record his appreciation of the sterling qualities of wisdom, tact and patience that Mr. Jarring had brought to the task entrusted to him.
During the period under review, no further reports were issued by the Secretary-General on the mission of his Special Representative in the Middle East.
For relevant documents and meetings, see:
Official Records of the Security Council, Twenty-third Year, Supplement for April, May and June 1968; ibid., Supplement for July, August and September 1968; ibid., Supplement for October, November and December 1968; ibid., Twenty-fourth Year, Supplement for January, February and March 1969; and ibid., Supplement for April, May and June 1969;
Official Records of the Security Council, Twenty-third Year,
1434th to 1440th, 1446th to 1449th, 1451st to 1454th, 1456th and 1457th meetings; and
ibid., Twenty-fourth Year,
1460th to 1462nd, and 1466th to 1473rd meetings;
Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-third Session, Annexes,
agenda item 95.