U N I T E D N A T I O N S
28 March 1968
* Also issued under the symbol A/7079.
LETTER DATED 28 MARCH 1968 FROM THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OP JORDAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to refer to the Israeli letter addressed to you on 5 March 1968
and to state the following:
In my letter of 23 February 1968 (A/7057 and Add.1, S/8427 and Add.1), I referred to statements of fact reached by the International Commission appointed by the British Administration of Palestine with the approval of the League of Nations. I also cited some of the findings reached by this International Commission. In order, however, to make the complete text of this important International document available to all Members of the United Nations, and (especially the Security Council, I requested that the report of the Commission be circulated as an official document of the United Nations.
While unable to deny the glaring facts and findings embodied in the report of the International Commission regarding ownership and possession, the Israeli representative in his letter (A/7064, S/8439) resorted to distortion in an attempt to discredit the findings of the international body constituted to ascertain the facts vis-à-vis the Western Wall of the Haram-Esh-Sharif (Wailing Wall) and the adjacent area and determine the rights and claims of the parties.
It is clear that all charges and allegations in the Israeli letter are rebutted by the findings of the Commission.
The Israeli representative has charged that the statement that "the Wailing Wall and the entire adjacent area are an integral part of Haram-Esh-Sharif" is a "wilful attempt" on my part "to confuse the issue". In fact, a wilful attempt to distort and confuse is evident in the letter of the Israeli representative. The statement referred to is a quotation from the report of the same Commission which appears on page 39 and reads as follows:
"Subsequent to the investigation it has made, the Commission herewith declares that the ownership of the Wall, as well as the possession of it and of those parts of its surroundings that are here in question, accrues to the Moslems. The Wall itself as being an integral part of the Haram-Esh-Sharif area is Moslem property."
Furthermore, on page 57 the Commission concluded:
"To the Moslems belong the sole ownership of, and the sole proprietary right to, the Western Wall, seing that it forms an integral part of the Haram-Esh-Sharif area, which is a Waqf property.
"To the Moslems there also belongs the ownership of the Pavement in front of the Wall and of the adjacent so-called Moghrabi (Moroccan) Quarter opposite the Wall, ...."
This is not the only distortion embodied in the Israeli letter and, for the record, we refer to the following deliberate attempts to mislead:
The findings of the International Commission (A/7057/Add.1. S/8427/Add.l)
"That conquest, like those that preceded and followed it, is incapable of effecting any change whatsoever in the sacredness of the Wall to the Jewish people - a sacredness which, indeed, the Jewish people alone is competent to determine." (p. 2)
"The Wall is also part of the Haram-Al-Sharif; as such it is holy to Moslems"(p. 38).
"Accordingly the British Government had held that the Western or Wailing Wall is sacred to both parties..." (p. 38).
"... that at the time that report was not accepted either by the Moslem or by the Jewish authorities, the Commission having been established solely to assist the Mandatory authorities in the discharge of what they conceived to be their duties under the Mandate." (p. 3)
The resolution of the League of Nations states that:
"Considering, however, that the question of the rights and claims of the Jews and Moslems with regard to the Wailing Wall urgently calls for final settlement:
"(l) A Commission shall be entrusted with this settlement;" (p. 4).
"It is to be noted that the Western Wall is a recognized antiquity and was treated as such also by the Mandatory Government, which also assumed responsibility for its maintenance and upkeep, (p. 3)
A clear distinction exists between the Haram-Esh-Sharif and the Western Wall, which were recognized as two separate Holy Places (p. 4). ... the Haram-Esh-Sharif area situated beyond the Wall" (p. 3).
"The Wall is also part of the Haram-Al-Sharif; as such it is holy to Moslems. Moreover, it is legally the absolute property of the Moslem Community and the strip of pavement facing it is Waqf property, as is shown by documents preserved by the Guardian of the Waqf." (The White Paper of the British Government 1928, p. 38 of the report.)
"The Wall itself as being an integral part of the Haram-Esh-Sharif area is Moslem property." (p. 59).
This letter will not refer to other irrelevant falsifications injected into the Israeli reply to confuse the issue. However, the examples cited demonstrate how much reliability and credibility could be given to Israeli allegations.
I request this letter to be circulated as official documents of the General Assembly and Security Council.
(Signed) Muhammad H. EL-FARRA
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