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        Security Council
24 November 1966




Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1327) ....................................

Adoption of the agenda ................................................

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




Held in New York, on Thursday, 24 November 1966, at 10.30 a.m.


President: Mr. Arthur J. GOLDBERG
(United States of America).

Present: The representative of the following States: Argentina, Bulgaria, China, France, Japan, Jordan, Mali, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Uganda, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America and Uruguay.

Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1327)

1. Adoption of the agenda.

2. The Palestine question:
Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

The Palestine question

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

1. The PRESIDENT: In accordance with the decision taken previously [1320th meeting], I shall, with the consent of the Council, invite the representative of Israel to take a seat at the Council table.

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

2. The PRESIDENT: The Security Council will now continue its consideration of the urgent matter inscribed on its agenda. The fist speaker on my list this morning is the representative of Nigeria, Chief Adebo, to who I now give the floor.

3. Mr. ADEBO (Nigeria): The African members of this Council had refrained from speaking earlier in this debate in the hope that it would be possible to agree quickly on a draft resolution and that they would then be able to combine their general observations on the substance of the case with their statement in recommendation of the draft resolution. Regrettably, this has not proved possible. In spite of all the energies so far expended, we have not quite reached the point at which we could feel able to submit a draft which will take account both of the justice of the case, as we see it, and of the known points of view of other Council members.

4. This is the second case of its kind to be brought before the Council since Nigeria became a member of it. From the attitude we took and the views we expressed on the earlier occasion, there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind about the position of Nigeria on the present occasion. In the earlier case, Israel had taken official military action against an Arab country. It had openly acknowledged the fact, but it had pointed out that it had been provoked by a number of incidents carried out upon its territory to the damage of the life and property of its people. Israel has done the very same thing again, putting forth exactly the same plea in extenuation. Nigeria was unequivocal in its denunciation of the Israel reprisal action of last July; so were practically all the other members of this Council.

5. The Nigerian delegation is most unhappy that Israel has again acted in this way. In our intervention during the debate on the case in which Israel was the complainant and an Arab country was the defendant, on 20 October 1966, barely a month ago, we paid a compliment to Israel for not taking the law into its own hands and following instead the proper course of laying a complaint before the Security Council. We went on to say:

6. We regret that the Government of Israel has felt itself unable to accept that humble advice.

7. The Nigerian delegation would also like to support the following comment by the representative of the Netherlands, which he made in his intervention in this debate on 18 November 1966.

8. It is the duty of the Security Council to deal out justice in accordance with the merits of the case. In this particular case, there would not appear to be any doubt as to where the merits lie. There is no doubt as to which Government is the guilty party. That Government is the Government of Israel and the Security Council must unequivocally condemn its action. We say this, not with pleasure, but in the discharge of our duty and responsibility as a member of this Council.

9. In our intervention on 20 October in the debate on the Israel complaint against another Arab country, we made it clear that in our opinion to bring stable peace to the Middle East it would be essential to tackle the Palestine problem as a whole and not piecemeal on the basis of incidents and reprisals. We indicated that a successful attack on the problem of the kind we recommended would require, first,

and secondly,

10. We expressed appreciation of the fact that this was a long-term proposal, and we therefore went on the point out that in the meantime the Security Council must continue to insist upon adherence to the provisions of the relevant Armistice Agreements, including the provision in them that makes it the duty of all parties to prevent acts that would constitute a breach of the agreement.

11. While we agree with out colleague, the representative of Jordan, that in dealing with his country’s present complaint the Security Council must not allow itself to be diverted into wider or irrelevant fields, we are hoping that the decision of the Council, apart from roundly condemning the party that has proved to be the guilty party on this occasion, will reiterate the obligation of the parties to continue to honor their commitments under the relevant Armistice Agreement, and, if possible, include some recommendation for improvement in the working of the organs created for the purpose of making that agreement effective.

12. In other words, the Council has a double duty, namely, to deal firmly with the question of right or wrong in respect of the particular complaint now before it and, equally importantly, to initiate such action as would effectively provide against the recurrence of violent exchanges between the two parties concerned. The Nigerian delegation will continue its co-operation with other members of the Council in the search for a Council decision on this basis.

13. Mr. KIRONDE (Uganda): My delegation welcomes the decision of the Jordan Government to bring this matter to the Security Council. We also wish to express our gratitude to the Secretary-General for submitting his prompt interim report [1320th meeting] and for the report embodied in document S/7593, both of which had proved useful and helpful.

14. We cannot but regret that this Council has once again, for the third time in three months, reconvened to consider the tragically intractable question of the Middle East. A series of deplorable incidents has occurred in that particular area in the recent past, culminating in the most deplorable attack on Jordan by Israel. The facts are clear and incontestable: in the early morning hours of 13 November 1966, units of the Israel army entered Jordan and undertook an offensive action against villages in the Hebron territory of Jordan. Israel admits this, and explains that it acted in self-defense so as to preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty which had been violated by its neighbors in the form of organized terrorism.

15. Whatever the justification may be, the Israel operation of 13 November 1966, which resulted in the loss of human life and destruction of property, was completely disproportionate to the cumulative total of the various acts of terrorism conducted against Israel. My delegation unreservedly and unequivocally condemns this unfortunate and deliberate action which resulted in loss of life, casualties and large-scale destruction of property. The Israel military operation cannot be justified by the incidents which preceded it, and in which the Government of Jordan had played no active role.

16. I wish to reiterate what I said on 2 August 1966, when this Council was considering the Syrian complaint against Israel:

17. It is the view of my delegation that it is important to focus on the real sources of these eruptions, and to set up as a matter of urgency the necessary machinery with sufficient competence and capability to go the root cause of the problem.

18. Council members will recall the suggestion I made on 2 August that the time had come for the United Nations to devise effective means of dealing with the unsatisfactory state of affairs which unhappily exists in this region. I went so far as to suggest that, even though the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization had succeeded in keeping frontier disturbances in check, it did not have the competence or means of dealing with the underlying causes of border tension.

19. In my statement of 20 October 1966, I emphasized the same point, by saying that “the machinery which was set up over a decade and a half ago to supervise the cease-fire and generally ensure the maintenance of peace in the area has outlived its practical usefulness” and that “the time had come for the Organization to adopt new and bold measures which would take into account the political and other problems of the area” [1309th meeting, para. 101]

20. Unfortunately, the United Nations is afflicted with a creeping paralysis, and with the decrease in the effectiveness of the other organs of the body politic, this Organization seems to be making more frequent and more lusty uses of the tongue. The Security Council, in a spirit of self-complacency bordering on self-deception, seeks to conclude each and every one of its deliberations by merely formulating a resolution, thus meekly resigning itself to the role of a drafting committee.

21. I submit that, while this helplessness is highly reprehensible in the other organs of the United Nations, it is absolutely inexcusable and fraught with the most disastrous consequences when indulged in by the Security Council, the highest organ charged with responsibility for the peace and security of all nations, big and small.

22. Once again, violence has erupted in the Middle East, and once again the Security Council, true to its past performance, has been feverishly working away on the formulation of a document designed to produce maximum results with the least annoyance to the parties concerned. The supreme task and responsibility of the members of this Council has been forgotten, namely, the maintenance of international peace and security; and resolutions, which were designed as a summary or recapitulation of the methods which the Security Council intended to pursue in any given situation before it, have now become the end result of our activities here. Surely, the framers of the Charter never envisaged a Security Council whose highest achievement would be merely the passing of resolutions, however couched, and in whatever diplomatic language.

23. It thus behooves us, as members of the organ charged with the special responsibility of maintaining peace and security among nations, to devise practical ways and means of ensuring peace in the Middle East and, particularly, between Jordan and Israel.

24. My delegation feels that among measures which should be taken to ensure peace in the area, regular and special meetings of military commanders from both sides should be held in order to work out practical arrangements for the surveillance of the border. This is a practice which has been observed before between the Jordanian and Israel commanders, and which has proved in the past an effective preventive of the deterioration of the situation along the border lines. An example of this practice is given in the report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council, embodied in document S/3394 dated 18 April 1955.

25. In the view of my delegation, it would also be advisable to install a direct line of communication between local commanders on either side of the border line. The “hot line”, to be used for transmission of information where and when urgently needed, has served a useful purpose in the past between local commanders on both sides of the armistice demarcation line in the City of Jerusalem and between the delegations of Israel and Jordan to the Mixed Armistice Commission.

26. According to the New York Press, steps are already being taken by Israel to seal the border by erecting physical obstacles. My delegation welcomes these measures and notes that this will, of course, entail regular surveillance by patrols and observation posts. It is also the duty of the Security Council to call upon the two parties to co-operate fully with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. There is ample evidence from reports supplied by the Secretariat that the effectiveness of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization has been greatly reduced because of this lack of co-operation on the part of the parties.

27. In my delegation’s submission, there should be full freedom of movement in the demilitarized zones, in no man’s land and across the armistice demarcation line for the United Nations military observers engaged in the investigation of incidents. There is no reason why the United Nations specialist personnel should not be made use of in the fields of tracking, surveying and interpretation, to mention only a few. To avoid situations in which, as was recently the case, a tracker dog could not continue with its work across the demarcation line, for to do so would mean its imperative that greater use be made by both parties of United Nations resources and expertise. As a matter of urgency, United Nations observation post should be established in sensitive sectors along the demarcation line.

28. In view of the concern expressed by both the Jordanian and Israel representatives for the relaxation of tension between the two countries, all avenues must be explored in order to produce practical and constructive results.

29. Mr. KEITA (Mali)(translated from French): I shall be very brief. Once again the Security Council has before it a complaint arising out of the Arab-Israel conflict, and this time Jordan, which has been the victim of major aggression, has come to seek justice.

30. My delegation does not intend to go into the details of the attack by Israel on 13 November 1966, because, in our opinion, the case is so clear-cut that there is no room for any misunderstanding.

31. My delegation condemns this attack and deplores the loss of human life and the serious damage which it has caused. We note that the representatives who spoke in the debate all very properly condemned this brutal aggression. My delegation would like, however, to stress its amazement at the Israel attack of 13 November 1966.

32. We cannot understand why this attack should have been directed against Jordan, when, as I recall, the representative of Israel had recognized, at an earlier meeting, that Jordan had taken measures to reduce tension in the region. Now that aggression has taken place, causing destruction and the loss of human life, what is the Council to do? As everyone realizes, we are once again playing-with disappointing slowness, considering the gravity of the situation, and in an atmosphere colored by politics-the much-favored and time-honored game of trying to devise a well-balanced resolution. It is clear what will happen. We shall eventually take a decision to censor or congratulate, condemn or exonerate, and what then? Will that remove the tension and bring the dead back to life? Shall we then, in all conscience, be entitled to think that we have done our duty? My delegation does not think so, because, as I have had occasion to say before, there will unfortunately be a reaction-perhaps sooner than expected.

33. At the 1323rd meeting on 18 November, the Israel representative told the Council that it should not lose sight of the over-all picture. And so, we come back to the heart of the problem, from which, in the view of my delegation, we must never stray if any constructive contribution is to be made. We continue to believe that we must face the problem squarely if we really wish to find a solution, for the only definite thing which can be said of our resolutions, which are often the fruit of a sad, difficult and painful travail, is that they always come after the catastrophe. This seems to us very distressing and disturbing, and we should perhaps re-examine our methods, in order to preserve the prestige and dignity of this august Council.

34. We believe that the responsibility lies with the Council, because it is for the Council to create the right conditions so that its work will be strictly in the interests of the peoples concerned. Since the inadequacy of United Nations efforts in the region has been demonstrated to us, my delegation considers that the Council’s first duty is to remedy that deficiency, which it has not yet done. Again, since the Palestine question and all the related issues are still before the Council, we believe that instead of waiting for catastrophes before meeting, as it has done in the past, and then becoming embroiled in impassioned political debates, the Council should meet, without waiting for some fresh complaint, to consider what measures should be taken to reduce the tension in the area, naturally with the participation of the parties concerned and of the representatives of United Nations organs in the area.

35. We believe that in this way, fruitful and dispassionate work could be done to determine measures for preventing further incidents and to benefit the peoples of the regions concerned.

36. In the opinion of my delegation, there is nothing doubtful or confusing about the Israel attack of 13 November, and it has thus been condemned by all the members of the Council. We hope, therefore, that the Council will arrive at a conclusion very quickly.

37. The PRESIDENT: At this stage of our deliberations I have no other speakers on my list. Certain delegations have, however, indicated a reservation of their right to speak further in our current consideration of the question. I have consulted with members of the Council informally, and, unless there is an objection, we will recess very briefly for consultations; we shall resume our meeting this morning after these consultations have been concluded.

The meeting was suspended at 12 noon and resumed at 1.10 p.m.

38. Mr. ADEBO (Nigeria): I apologize to the members of the Council for having to speak a second time in one meeting, but I trust that when they have heard me they will agree that I am endeavoring to perform a service that will advance the cause which all us hold so dear to our hearts, namely, the elimination of the present tension on the Jordan-Israel border as part of movement towards the restoration of peace in the Middle East.

39. A draft resolution [S/7598] has been submitted by Mali and Nigeria for the consideration of the Council. It is with pleasure that I introduce this draft resolution because when the United Kingdom representative addressed us briefly at our last meeting, he emphasized the urgency of coming to a decision on this matter. IN doing so he was echoing the sentiments that had been expressed by the representatives of Jordan and of the Soviet Union. When I intervened immediately afterwards, I spoke in terms which suggested that we were in fact a long way from a position in which we could submit to the Council any draft resolution at all. Since those interventions were made yesterday, many further efforts have been made by different members of this Council, resulting in a greater meeting of minds this morning than was apparent yesterday.

40. After the general statements which were made by me and by my colleagues from Africa this morning, there was a recess in our proceedings which was used for the purpose of holding further consultations. As a result of all this, the representative of Mali and I have come to the conclusion that the draft resolution which we now put before you is a draft that is very likely to command the general support of this Council, and it is upon that basis and in that spirit that I submit this draft resolution.

41. When my colleagues have examined the draft carefully, they will discover that it is not couched in terms which they themselves would have liked to have seen. This text does not correspond exactly to the wishes of anybody round this table, as far as I have been able to ascertain those wishes, but we think that it goes the furthest distance to meet the wishes of all the members as they have been expressed in this debate. We therefore hope that every single member of the Security Council will be able, in tolerance, to accept this draft resolution because if it is adopted unanimously it will, in our view, in spite of its imperfections, make a very useful contribution to the restoration of peace between Jordan and Israel.

42. I do not propose to discuss at any great length the provisions of this draft. The preambular paragraphs require no explanation at all. They do what every resolution presented to the Council generally does. They recall what needs to be recalled and describe the general situation in the area, providing the frame of reference within which the operative paragraphs have been drafted.

43. The operative paragraphs also, in my view, require very little explanation or justification from the co-sponsor of this draft, for the simple reason that they merely put in language which we hope will be tolerable to all our colleagues the points of view that they have all so clearly expressed in their interventions in this debate. For instance, we all were concerned with the loss of life and the damage that resulted from the action that is the subject of the Jordanian complaint. Every member of the Council who has spoken has also expressed in very clear terms his condemnation of that action. The terms in which we have put these matters are not the terms in which each representative has expressed himself, but if we had attempted to use those terms we should have had fifteen different versions. I trust that the text we have used here will be found acceptable by every one of our colleagues.

44. It has not only been necessary for this draft to condemn the action which is the subject of the Jordanian complaint: it has been necessary for it to go further and to say in very clear language that it hopes that this will be the last case of its kind to come before the Security Council. We all know that, if this is to be the last of such cases, both parties to the dispute before us must generate in themselves and in their peoples the spirit that we all advocate not only in the Security Council but also in the General Assembly: the spirit of peaceful coexistence. If we had attempted to included in this draft a specific provision in regard to the peaceful coexistence, it would have necessitated further meetings of the Council, if only for the purpose of defining what peaceful coexistence is.

45. Nevertheless, on behalf of Mali and my own country, in putting this draft resolution to the Council for its unanimous approval, I wish to appeal to both parties to this dispute to accept it, if it is adopted, in the spirit in which we have put it forward.

46. We do not expect either of the parties to acclaim this text, but we expect them to accept it, if it is adopted by the Council, as an expression of the Council’s interest and genuine concern over the state of tension between Jordan and Israel and the Council’s genuine concern that peace should be restored and maintained in that area on the basis of peaceful coexistence which we all advocate.

47. With those few remarks, I should like, on behalf of Mali and Nigeria, to recommend this draft resolution for the Council’s unanimous endorsement, but I should like to add that, in the course of the inquiries which I made to ascertain how much support there would be for it, a number of our colleagues let me know that, while they saw nothing that was intolerable to them in the draft, they would like some time to consult their Governments before a vote is taken.

48. The PRESIDENT: The Council has before it a draft resolution submitted by the representatives of Mali and Nigeria. As President I have also noted that some delegations have indicated to the representatives of Mali and Nigeria their inability, for want of consultations with their Governments on the language of the text, to proceed today to vote on the draft.

49. I have consulted with members of the Council, and this confirms what the representative of Nigeria has said, namely, that some delegations are not prepared to vote today but desire consultations with their Governments.

50. I have also consulted members as to when, in the light of the urgency of this problem, the Council might appropriately proceed to the vote. The consensus among members is that the Council should adjourn now and meet again tomorrow, 25 November at 11.30 a.m. As there is no objection, it is so decided.
The meeting rose at 1.30 p.m.

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