Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

English (pdf) ||Arabic||Chinese||Français||Русский||Español||

Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS


        Security Council
5 March 1971


5 March 1971



1. On 1 February 1971 I submitted to the Security Council a report
(S/10070/Add.1) on the activities of Ambassador Jarring, my Special
Representative to the Middle East, since the resumption on 5 January
1971 of the discussions under his auspices with the parties to the
Middle East conflict for the purpose of reaching agreement on a just
and lasting peace between them. In that report, I found grounds for
cautious optimism in the fact that there had been some progress in the
definition of the position of the parties and I appealed to them to
pursue their role in the discussions in a constructive manner, to
co-operate with Ambassador Jarring with a view to the carrying out of
Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and, in that very difficult and
crucial stage of the discussions, to withhold fire, to exercise
military restraint and to maintain the quiet which had prevailed in
the area since August 1970.

2. In response to that appeal, the Foreign Ministry of Israel, in a
communiqué released in Jerusalem on 2 February, announced that Israel
would preserve the cease-fire on a mutual basis; in a speech to the
National Assembly on 4 February, the President of the United Arab
Republic declared the decision of the United Arab Republic to refrain
from opening fire for a period of thirty days ending on 7 March.

3. In pursuing his mandate to promote agreement between the parties,
Ambassador Jarring, while sharing my cautious optimism that the
parties were seriously defining their positions and wished to move
forward to a permanent peace, noted with growing concern that each
side was insisting that the other should make certain commitments
before being ready to proceed to the stage of formulating the
provisions of a final peace settlement.

4. On the Israeli side there was insistence that the United Arab
Republic should give specific, direct and reciprocal commitments
towards Israel that it would be ready to enter into a peace agreement
with Israel and to make towards Israel the various undertakings
referred to in paragraph 1 (ii) of Security Council resolution 242
(1967). When agreement was reached on those points, it would be
possible to discuss others, including the refugee problem; such items
as secure and recognized boundaries, withdrawal and additional
arrangements for ensuring security should be discussed in due course.

5. The United Arab Republic continued to regard the Security Council
resolution as containing provisions to be implemented by the parties
and to express its readiness to carry out its obligations under the
resolution in full, provided that Israel did likewise. However it held
that Israel persisted in its refusal to implement the Security Council
resolution, since it would not commit itself to withdraw from all Arab
territories occupied in June 1967. Furthermore in the view of the
United Arab Republic Israel had not committed itself to the
implementation of the United Nations resolutions relevant to a just
settlement to the refugee problem.

6. The papers received by Ambassador Jarring from Israel and Jordan
relating to peace between these two countries showed a similar
divergence of views. Israel stressed the importance of Jordan's giving
an undertaking to enter into a peace agreement with it which would
specify the direct and reciprocal obligations undertaken by each of
them. Jordan emphasized the inadmissibility of the acquisition of
territory by war and expressed the view that the essential first step
towards peace lay in an Israeli commitment to evacuate all Arab

7. Ambassador Jarring felt that at this stage of the talks he should
make clear his views on what he believed to be the necessary steps to
be taken in order to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in
accordance with the provisions and principles of Security Council
resolution 242 (1967), which the parties had agreed to carry out in
all its parts. He reached the conclusion, which I shared, that the
only possibility to break the imminent deadlock arising from the
differing views of Israel and the United Arab Republic as to the
priority to be given to commitments and undertakings - which seemed to
him to be the real cause for the existing immobility in the talks -
was for him to seek from each side the parallel and simultaneous
commitments which seemed to be inevitable prerequisites of an eventual
peace settlement between them. It should thereafter be possible to
proceed at once to formulate the provisions and terms of a peace
agreement not only for those topics covered by the commitments, but
with equal priority for other topics, and in particular the refugee

8. In identical aide-mémoires handed to the representatives of the
United Arab Republic and Israel on 8 February 1971 Ambassador Jarring
requested those Governments to make to him certain prior commitments.
Ambassador Jarring's initiative was on the basis that the commitments
should be made simultaneously and reciprocally and subject to the
eventual satisfactory determination of all other aspects of a peace
settlement, including in particular a just settlement of the refugee
problem. Israel would give a commitment to withdraw its forces from
occupied United Arab Republic territory to the former international
boundary between Egypt and the British Mandate of Palestine. The
United Arab Republic would give a commitment to enter into a peace
agreement with Israel and to make explicitly therein to Israel, on a
reciprocal basis, various undertakings and acknowledgements arising
directly or indirectly from paragraph 1 (ii) of Security Council
resolution 242 (1967).

9. On 15 February, Ambassador Jarring received from the
representative of the United Arab Republic an aide-mémoire in which it
was indicated that the United Arab Republic would accept the specific
commitments requested of it, as well as other commitments arising
directly or indirectly from Security Council resolution 242 (1967). If
Israel would give, likewise, commitments covering its own obligations
under the Security Council resolution, including commitments for the
withdrawal of its armed forces from Sinai and the Gaza Strip and for
the achievement of a just settlement for the refugee problem in
accordance with United Nations resolutions, the United Arab Republic
would be ready to enter into a peace agreement with Israel. Finally
the United Arab Republic expressed the view that a just and lasting
peace could not be realized without the full and scrupulous
implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and the
withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from all the territories
occupied since 5 June 1967.

10. On 17 February, Ambassador Jarring informed the Israeli
representative of the contents of the United Arab Republic reply to
his aide-mémoire.

11. On 26 February, Ambassador Jarring received a paper from the
representative of Israel, in which, without specific reference to the
commitment which he had sought from that Government, Israel stated
that it viewed favourably "the expression by the United Arab Republic
of its readiness to enter into a peace agreement with Israel" and
reiterated that it was prepared for meaningful negotiations on all
subjects relevant to a peace agreement between the two countries.
Israel gave details of the undertakings which in its opinion should be
given by the two countries in such a peace agreement, which should be
expressed in a binding treaty in accordance with normal international
law and precedent. Israel considered that both parties having
presented their basic positions should now pursue the negotiations in
a detailed and concrete manner without prior conditions.

12. On the crucial question of withdrawal on which Ambassador Jarring
had sought a commitment from Israel, the Israel position was that it
would give an undertaking covering withdrawal of Israeli armed forces
from "the Israeli-United Arab Republic cease-fire line" to the secure,
recognized and agreed boundaries to be established in the peace
agreement; Israel would not withdraw to the pre-5 June 1967 lines.

13. On 28 February, Ambassador Jarring informed the United Arab
Republic representative of the contents of the Israeli paper.

14. Ambassador Jarring has been very active over the past month and
some further progress has been made towards a peaceful solution of the
Middle East question. The problems to be settled have been more
clearly identified and on some there is general agreement. I wish
moreover to note with satisfaction the positive reply given by the
United Arab Republic to Ambassador Jarring's initiative. However, the
Government of Israel has so far not responded to the request of
Ambassador Jarring that it should give a commitment on withdrawal to
the international boundary of the United Arab Republic.

15. While I still consider that the situation has considerable
elements of promise, it is a matter for increasing concern that
Ambassador Jarring's attempt to break the deadlock has not so far been
successful. I appeal, therefore, to the Government of Israel to give
further consideration to this question and to respond favourably to
Ambassador Jarring's initiative.

16. To give time for further consideration and in the hope that the
way forward may be reopened, I once more appeal to the parties to
withhold fire, to exercise military restraint and to maintain the
quiet which has prevailed in the area since August 1970.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter