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        Security Council
17 November 1966


Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1322)
Adoption of the agenda
The Palestine question
Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/7687)


Held in New York, on Thursday, 17 November 1966, at 11 a.m.

Present: The representatives of the following States: Argentina, Bulgaria, China, France, Japan, Jordan, Mali the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uganda, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Uruguay.
Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1322)

1. Adoption of the agenda

2. The Palestine question:
Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/7587)
Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.
The Palestine question

Letter dated 15 November 1966 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/7587)

1. The PRESIDENT: In accordance with our previous decision, I shall, with the consent of the Council, invite the representative of Israel to take a place at the Council table.

At the invitation of the President, Mr. M. Comay (Israel) took a place at the Council table.

2. Mr. RUDA (Argentina) (translated from Spanish): For the third time in four months, the Security Council has been convened to deal with serious incidents which have occurred in Palestine. Unfortunately, political and military tension in that region is increasing day may be constant repetitions of the kind of serious incidents which occurred last Sunday, and no one can predict what the ultimate consequences of such events may be. The Council must therefore, in my delegation’s opinion, seriously consider what has happened and do its utmost to end this series of incidents which are gravely disturbing peace in the Middle East.

3. Last Sunday’s events in the area south of Hebron, in Jordan, seem to be clear and for the most part undisputed. The information supplied yesterday morning by the Secretary-General [1320th meeting] on the basis of the reports received from the military observers gives an objective, explicit and definite picture of what happened, even though it is only a preliminary report. Furthermore, the violation of the armistice demarcation line by armed forces of the Israel regular army was not denied by the representative of Israel in his statement yesterday morning; he confined himself to attempting to provide a justification, on the grounds of security, for the Israel Government’s decision to undertake quite a heavy military attack on some small Jordanian villages near the frontier.

4. I must say that I remain utterly unconvinced by the reasons adduced by Israel. My Government not only deplores the loss of several lives, and of goods and property, in Jordan bust strongly condemns Israel’s armed attack on Jordanian territory and villages which, as the explanations given here show, was unprovoked.

5. Reprisals, particularly armed reprisals, are unlawful, illegal acts under the norms of general international law and under the United Nations Charter, which allows the use of force only in self-defense or in executing measures authorized by the United Nations collectively. As my delegation has stated on a number of occasions, and most recently in the Security Council in August and November of this year, my Government cannot let acts of this type be committed with impunity at this stage in the development of international relations, which are increasingly based on binding rules for coexistence among States. We therefore condemn that which clearly merits condemnation.

6. In so clear a case as this, however, the Council for the sake of its prestige as the organ primarily responsible for maintaining international peace and security, must not confine itself to condemning the illegal action of the Government of Israel. In view of the situation which is developing in Palestine, everything points to the fact that an endeavor must be made to adopt whatever measures or recommendations are needed to secure peace in the area. As my delegation stated on 17 October of this year [1308th meeting], my Government hopes that full advantage will be taken of the organizations established to maintain peace in Palestine b y all the States of the region and that, if they are not sufficiently effective, they will be supplied with the material and legal means to perform their tasks.

7. I hope that the Government of Israel will consider the consequences which unlawful acts may have with respect to its own future and I would point out that, just as in October I said that the submission of its complaint to the Security Council was a positive step, today- one month later- I must describe its military action on Sunday, 13 November 1966, as a negative act which can only serve to worsen existing tensions. As you, Mr. President, pointed out in your capacity as representative of the United States, violence breeds violence.

8. In short, the position of my delegation at this stage of the discussion is as follows: first, it deplores the loss of life and property caused by the Israel attack on Jordan; secondly, it condemns this action as a violation of the Charter and of the principles of international law; thirdly it considers that the armed reprisal by Israel is not only illegal, but also unjustified and disproportionate to the causes which, according to Israel, provoked it; fourthly, it believes that the time has come to adopt recommendations or measures to avert a recurrence of such incidents with a view to preventing a worsening of the situation in the Middle East, with special emphasis on the need to supply the organizations operating in the area with the necessary means to perform their task more effectively.

9. Mr. MATSUI (Japan): Once again, within the short space of few weeks, the Council is faced with a situation of high tension in the border area between Israel and her neighbors. The situation this time is caused by the military action of Israeli armed forces against Jordanian territory on 13 November, an extremely grave and serious matter which might easily lead to further aggravation if prompt measures are not taken.

10. My delegation most strongly deplores this retaliatory action as well as the human casualties and property damage caused by it. We welcome the correct course followed by the Jordanian Government bringing this matter so promptly to the attention of the Council. As I have said, it is certainly of great seriousness and there can be no doubt of the Council’s responsibility to deal with it effectively and as rapidly as possible

11. My delegation also welcomes the Secretary-General’s prompt action in arranging for the early submission of a report form the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, which we all anxious to receive. Meanwhile, the preliminary oral report given to us yesterday by the Secretary-General has helped greatly to clarify the situation and we are grateful to him for it.

12. Pending receipt of the complete report the Truce Supervision Organization I feel that there is sufficient information at hand now to permit me to state in the most unreserved and most unequivocal terms that the Japanese delegation is shocked by the Israeli attack, which was carried out in plain disregard of Israel’s obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and the General Armistice Agreement1/ as well.

13. This action cannot by any means possibly be condoned. WE do not overlook the terrorist incident that preceded this Israel military action and which is used as an excuse for retaliatory action by the Israeli Government. Even under these circumstances, however, the Israeli Government should have resorted to peaceful means.

14. The Japanese delegation very deeply regrets that, just two weeks ago, the Council was unable to take effective action to reduce the long-standing tension in the area. The action proposed at that time, in our view might have provided a good basis of solutions in the future.

15. In view of the extreme gravity of the situation now prevailing in the area, it is our earnest hope that the Council this time will not fail to adopt constructive measures for the fulfillment of its clear obligations under the Charter. Another failure will certainly not reflect credit on the Council.

16. Meanwhile, my delegation strongly appeals to all concerned scrupulously to abide by their obligations under the Charter and the General Armistice Agreement, avoiding any action which would cause further aggravation of the already grave situation in the area.

17. That is all I wanted to say this morning; I may wish at a later stage in our consideration of this complaint to invoke the right to intervene again if that should seem to be appropriate.

18. Mr. CORNER (New Zealand): At the Council’s last series of meetings concerned with an aspect of relations between Israel and its neighbors, it was not possible, for reason well known to all of us, to arrive at an agreed conclusion. Nevertheless, in spite of the veto which was applied, it was apparent that there was sufficient support among Council members for the draft resolution voted upon on 3 November [S/7575/Rev.1] to demonstrate what my delegation referred to in its statement after vote as “the responsible position of the international community”. [1319th meeting, para.18.] The representative of Israel specifically endorsed that conclusion on our part in his final statement in the debate. One important element in that draft resolution, however, was operative paragraph 5, which urged the Governments of Syria and Israel-both Syria and Israel-to refrain from any action that might increase tension in the area. I do not refer to this because of any transcending importance attaching to that particular paragraph of the ill-fated draft resolution, or because I want to make a debating point by taking up the representative of Israel on a statement made in a tactical situation. It is not indeed necessary to base a statement deploring the action take in recent days by Israel on, comparatively, so flimsy a foundation when the clear word of the Charter and of the Israel-Jordan General Armistice Agreement is at hand. Rather, I make the point in order to illustrate tow propositions: first, that the Security Council cannot, because of the very nature of its responsibilities, permit the machinery which it offers to be used or not used at will be any Member State; secondly, that there can be no justification for claiming the attitude of a majority of Council members as constituting support for a complaint, while at the same time ignoring-so short a time after another important section of the same balanced text.

19. None of the Governments represented here can have any doubt to the position which they must adopt in face of brutal action, such as has been carried out within Jordanian territory by Israeli military united. While we may understand the frustrations to which continued incidents, including loss of life through terrorist activity across Israel’s borders, undoubtedly give rise in Israel, while we may appreciate the nature of the strategic quandary to which the representative of Israel has referred in his opening statement, it is not possible to condone a calculated act of retaliation-and, especially, an act which, as has been pointed out here, is in its character both different from and disproportionate to, even the different lengthy series of terrorist acts which preceded it.

20. My delegation has no doubt in other words, but that the Council is bound by the documents and principles which govern it to pronounce its firm condemnation of this action by the Government of Israel. That much, I take it from previous statements in this debate, is common ground to all members. That is one chapter of the Council’s proceedings, and it should be dealt with in a manner which makes plain that the Council can find no justification whatsoever for unilateral and official act of this nature against a populated area. The unnecessary heartbreak and suffering caused has added to the sum of unhappiness already felt by the people of this sorely tried area.

21. Having drawn a black line at the end of that chapter, is it possible to consider the question closed or dealt with in a manner which fulfils the Security Council’s responsibilities? The Council’s concern is to prevent the recurrence of violence which may threaten the peace in the Middle East area. It is not apology for Israel’s retaliatory action to state once again, and not of the first time during consideration of he Palestine question this year, the view that incidents which have occurred in Israeli territory-seventy-one since January 1965, as the representative of Israel has pointed out-must inevitably be a source of strain and tension in relations between Israel and those of its neighbors form which infiltrators come. Although the position of the majority of members of he Council on that aspect of the question has been made quite clear, it remains a matter of regret to my delegation that the Council has not to date, in my delegation that the Council has not to date, in any formal sense, been prepared to take this blindingly obvious fact into account in its decisions. It is not, I repeat, to condone this Israeli action to express the view that the Council will not have dealt seriously with the immediate causes of the present violent situation as long as it does n to address itself effectively to this problem.

22. In this connection, I would welcome particularly the emphasis laid by the representative of Argentina on the need to provide the necessary means to existing organizations in the area so that they may more effectively carry out their functions.

23. The PRESIDENT: The list of speakers for this morning has been exhausted. I should like to suggest that, if there is no objections, we recess for ten minutes to permit me to consult with members of the Council as to our further procedure.

The meeting was suspended at 11.55 a.m. and resumed at 12.5 p.m.

24. The PRESIDENT: As I indicated before we recessed, the list of speakers inscribed for our meeting this morning has been exhausted. Some members of the Council have informed me that they would find it useful if further time were allowed them to pursue the consultations now under way. Accordingly, I would suggest that, unless any of the members of the Council object, the Council adjourn now and that the next meeting be convened at 3 p.m. tomorrow to hear the speakers who have already indicated to me their desire to speak at that time. Of course, we shall consult together as to the future course of our deliberations at tomorrow’s meeting.
The meeting rose at 12.10 p.m.


1/ See Official Records of the Security Council, Fourth Year, Special Supplement No.1.

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