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        Security Council
16 November 1966


Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1321)

Adoption of the agenda


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

Held in New York, on Wednesday, 16 November 1966, at 4 p.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/1321)

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 the decision taken at our meeting this morning and with the consent of the Council, I shall 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. SEYDOUX (France) (translated from French): The reprisal undertaken on 13 November by Israel army units against the Jordanian villages of el Markaz and As Samu have created the particularly grave situation which is today before the Security Council.

3. My delegation thus considers it its duty to make a brief statement at this stage of the debate in order to condemn unequivocally the military action planned and carried out by the Israel authorities.

4. I have already stated in the Council, in particular on 39 July [1291st meeting], that France condemns all reprisal operations and all so-called “punitive” actions. Such operations are always out of proportion to the incidents, which may have given rise to them. They inevitably cause loss of human life and involve, both politically and psychologically, unforeseeable consequences. The blind way in which such expeditions are necessarily carried out is very evident in the present case. In saying this, my delegation is not unaware of the fact that the Israel Government was provoked into committing an action which constitutes a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and of the General Armistice Agreement1/ by incidents which, while not of comparable gravity, should not be underestimated. But what is difficult to understand, is that an attack so murderous should have been launched against a country which respects its international obligations. This realization strengthens, if that is possible, the feelings of my delegation in the matter. My delegation deplores the number of casualties caused by the operation of 13 November. We are fully aware also of the moral trials inflicted on a nation and a people for which my country feels a keen sympathy.

5. My delegation reserves the right to speak again in the course of the debate. We wished to make known today the position of the French Government on this most serious matter.

6. Mr. FEDORENKO (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (translated from Russian): As so often in the past, the Security Council’s attention has once again been drawn to the grave and tense situation in the area of the Near and Middle East, but this time in connection with an act of open aggression by Israel against Jordan, one of the Arab countries and a Member of the United Nations. We are concerned here not only with Israel’s military preparations, dangerous as they are to the cause of peace, but also with a clear breach of peace and security by the extremist circles of Tel Aviv and with the conduct of open aggressive military operations by Israel’s armed forces against the territory of a neighboring Arab country.

7. The statement made at the Council this morning [1320th meeting] by U Thant, the Secretary-General, gave detailed information on the events that have taken place, and brings out very clearly the full seriousness of the crime committed against Jordan by Israel’s armed forces on 13 November of this year. The fact of this new aggression by Israel is as flagrant as it is undeniable.

8. From the statement of Ambassador El-Farra, the Permanent Representative of Jordan, a member of the Security Council, at the Council’s meeting this morning and form the letter he addressed to the President [S/7586] it is evident that, on 13 November this year, Israel’s regular armed forces, supported by heavy artillery, tanks and aircraft, violated Jordan’s borders and subjected the peaceful Arab population of the villages of As Samu, Rafaat and el Tueweimin and the police post Rujm el Madfa’a to shelling and strafing. The tragic result of this brazen aggression was that the peaceful inhabitants of Jordan suffered heavy loss of life and considerable property damage.

9. It is significant, in this connection, that although the Mixed Armistice Commission twice called on the Israel command to cease fire and withdraw its troops behind the armistice demarcation line, its demands were rejected by Tel Aviv until determined resistance by the Jordanian army compelled the Israel armed forces to evacuate Jordan’s territory.

10. It is quite obvious that this was not what might be called an isolated episode or a more a mere incident but, as the representative of Jordan correctly pointed out, a premeditated major operation by the Israel armed forces which could have been carried out only on the direct orders of the Israel Government. As a matter of fact, even the Israel authorities can hardly deny of fact, this since they have admitted that the raid on Jordanian territory was planned as-in their words-a deterrent action against Jordan.

11. However, the question arises who authorized Tel Aviv to resort to armed force against the Arab countries. By what right was this done? It is surely common knowledge, and we have often heard this form the lips of the Israel representatives themselves during the discussion of charges against Israel, that the United Nations Charter prohibits States Members of the United Nations-including Israel, of course-from using force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any state.

12. Consequently, by making a direct military attack against Jordanian inhabited localities, Israel has flagrantly violated these supremely important provisions of the United Nations Charter. This alone is enough to justify more than mere condemnation. Israel’s new aggression against Jordan glaringly contravenes not only that State’s obligations under the Charter but also many resolutions of the Security Council, which has repeatedly pointed out in specific terms that the use of so-called military reprisals is completely incompatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, with the provisions of contemporary international law, and with elementary standards by which all States must by governed in conducting their foreign policy.

13. It should be remembered that on three separate occasions in the recent past-in January 1956, in April 1962 and in April 1964-the Security Council has roundly condemned the so-called reprisals to which Israel had resorted against Arab States.

14. Allow me to draw your attention to the fact that in its resolution 188 (1964) of 9 April 1964, the Security Council:

Condemns reprisals as incompatible with the purpose and principles of the United Nations”.

15. In the light of those resolutions of the Council this new aggression committed by Israel against Jordan, which we are bound to call an act of lawlessness and brigandage, is an open and brazen challenge to the Security Council.

16. Recently, as we know, one Arab country after another has been subjected to provocation and aggression by Tel Aviv. In the summer of this year, the Security Council considered the question of the aggressive actions of Israel against the Syrian Arab Republic. Barely two months later- in October of this year- the Security Council was again compelled to deal with the provocative maneuvers of the Israel extremists, by which they attempted to camouflage Israel’s continuing military preparations against the Arab States. Yesterday it was Syria. Now, an aggressive intervention has been directed against another Arab State, Jordan. Such a situation cannot be tolerated.

17. In recent years, we have heard more than enough official assurances by the representatives of Tel Aviv that they Israel Government harbors no aggressive designs against its neighboring Arab States and that it desires to do all it can to maintain peace in the Near and Middle East.

18. However, in view of the plain facts, we cannot but note that the policy pursued by the ruling circles of Tel Aviv is contrary to the official statements of the Israel Government about its desire for peace. The aggressive military operation undertaken by Israel against Jordan 13 November was so blatant that even the representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom were compelled to deplore and denounce the action of the Tel Aviv authorities; they were obliged to recognize that it was a flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations and that it flouted the Armistice Agreement and numerous resolutions of the Security Council. It is regrettable that such words of censure concerning Israel’s aggressive action should be uttered so belatedly. They smack of hindsight. They were uttered only after the premeditated crime had been committed, when human life had been lost and peaceful villages destroyed.

19. We hope that the verbal condemnation of Israel’s action which was this time been heard from the representatives of Washington and London will not remain empty words but will be followed by effective measures in the Security Council that will enable it to condemn aggression in no uncertain terms and to take steps to prevent a repetition of such acts by Israel. Deeds by the United States and the United Kingdom during the further discussion of this item will constitute tangible proof of the sincerity of the statements which the Western Powers have made here in the Council.

20. As for the United States representative’s attempts in his statement today to make it appear that the Council was prevented form doing its duty by the Soviet Union’s vote on 3 November 1966 against the one-sided Draft resolution [S7575/Rev.1] during the Council’s recent discussion of Israel’s specious compliant against Syria, it should now be even more obvious to everyone, and especially to you, Mr. President, that the Soviet Union’s position was well founded and fully justified. As we can see today, in considering Israel’s act of aggression against Jordan, the whole subsequent course of events fully confirms the appraisal of the situation in the Middle East which was given by the Soviet delegation at various meetings of the Security Council and which, may I reiterate, is briefly this: that the reasons for the constant tension in the region are to be found in the general extremist policy pursued by Israel and those who support it against the Arab States and in the desire of the imperialist Powers to restrain by force the growth of the national liberation movement of peoples.

21. We should also like to point out that this further aggressive action by Israel is taking place against the background of a general activation of the forces of imperialism in the Middle East.

22. The Soviet Union has repeatedly drawn Israel’s attention to the dangerous exacerbation of the situation in the region resulting from the policy of the imperialist Powers and of the Israel extremists acting in concert with them in the struggle they were waging against the independent Arab States. The Soviet Union has very much at heart the interests of peace and security in the Middle East, which lies in the immediate vicinity of its own frontiers. We hold that aggressive action against the Arab States must be ended at once.

23. In conclusion, allow me once again to state that the Security Council, which, under the Charter of the United Nations, bears primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace, must, in the present situation, severely condemn Israel as an aggressor which has violated the Armistice Agreement, numerous resolutions of the Security Council, and the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter; the Council must take effective measures to ensure the cessation once and for all of Tel Aviv’s aggressive actions against the Arab States.

24. The PRESIDENT: The next speaker on my list is the representative of Israel, on whom I now call.

25. Mr. COMAY (Israel): My delegation would wish to reserve the right to comment at a later stage on some of the statements that have been made by members of the Council. At this point I shall confine myself to two or three very brief observations. The first is of a purely factual nature whatever view Council members may have of the defensive action taken by my Government, the size and nature of the forces involved should not be given inflated dimensions.

26. First, they were not of brigade strength but, as I sated this morning, a relatively small mobile force of tanks and personnel carriers. Secondly, no Israel plane directed any fire or took any action against any ground target. Israel planes were engaged solely in a brief encounter with Jordan planes. Thirdly, there Was no supporting artillery. These facts do not affect the reasons given by my Government for its action, but are stated merely in order to keep the record straight.

27. My Second observation is this: other Governments and nations that are friendly to Israel, and whose friendship we cherish, may or may not agree to take, but I am confident that they understand that the people of Israel are subjected to hostility, threat and physical danger and that the Government of Israel carries a heavy and serious responsibility of for the national security, under the abnormal conditions forced upon us by the hostility of our neighbors. We cannot accept the statement that Israel’s reputation is involved in this matter. Furthermore, it is a baseless and indeed a meaningless charge that we act in the interests of alleged imperialist Powers against what is called the national liberation movement in the area.

28. We fought in that area hard and bitterly and at great sacrifice for our own national independence. And whatever we do, whatever our Government decides to do, it is done in order to defend and protect our national independence and our national security-on the sole responsibility of our Government and not on behalf of anybody else or on behalf of any other considerations but our own.

29. Mr. EL-FARRA (Jordan): This morning we all heard the statement of Mr. Comay on the complaint now before the Council. Mr. Comay, in an attempt to divert the attention of the Council from the clear complaint presented by Jordan, from the real and only issue before the Council, referred to many irrelevant questions which are not before the Council today. He referred to the area of Israel, to the area of the Arab homeland. He referred to the threats to Israel. He to the demarcation line. He referred to any statement about occupation and liberation. He referred to Syria. He referred to wars of liberation. He referred to he complaint he had presented against Syria last month. He referred to so-called mining incidents inside Israel-occupied territory. He referred to Gaza and Sinai and wars, and what not. But he said very little about the real question now before the Security Council.

30. I refuse to answer any of the allegations and fabrications of Mr. Comay. The Council is used to hearing them. The stories were repeated last month; they were repeated yesterday in the Special Political Committee; and now they are repeated again here. Now a single one of these issues is before the Council. The Council, realizing the explosive situation in our area, will, I am sure, confine its deliberations to the real issue. We refuse to accept Mr. Comay’s invitation to enter with him into a dialogue that would divert the Attention of the Council from the real issue before the Council, from the real act of aggression before the Council, from the real act of war before the Council, from the real act of lawlessness before the Council.

31. What is before the Council is a clear-cut case of aggression. And no matter how we look at it, the following facts are clear: first, Israeli armed forces crossed he armistice demarcation line, using offensive-not defensive-weapons on a large scale, a scale far beyond a limited, local action or defensive action; secondly, the regular Israel Army, supported by a squadron of Mirage jets, brigades, heavy artillery, tanks and armoured vehicles, invaded Jordan territory, murdered innocent men, women and children, destroyed villages, animals, and the house of worship in the village of As Samu thirdly, the whole objective of the invading force was to destroy Arab villages and hamlets south of Hebron-whereas the Jordan Government has not committed any act of any kind, at any time, either this week, last week, the week before, this month, last month, the month before, or even during this entire year, which would warrant any action of this scale or of this nature; fourthly, that the Israel authorities admitted and even boasted of committing this crime and assumed full responsibility for it. As I said this morning, the Israeli military spokesman stated: “The attack was committed in retaliation and as a punitive measure”; fifthly, that this wicked, inhuman act of savagery was premeditated, well-planned, and timed to coincide with the visit of a Head of State; sixthly, that Israel has said time and again, before this Council, that it had no complaint against Jordan. I need not cite Mr. Eshkol’s statement, published in today’s New York Times, on this very issue.

32. Thus, no matter how we look at the question, there is one single issue before this Council. There is no other issue before this Council, and any attempt to divert the attention of the Council elsewhere has no place in our deliberations. I hope I had made this very clear. There is no link whatsoever between the invasion and any other incident; and since there is no link-and this is recognized even by the Israeli spokesman-then there is no place for Israel’s contention, and it has no place here.

33. Mr. Comay asked the members of the Security Council this morning what their own Governments would have done under similar circumstances. I am sure that no responsible Member would follow Israel’s example and take the law into its own hands. This I am sure of.

34. I said before, and I repeat, that Jordan is not responsible for any incidents within Israel. Mr. Galili, the Minister for Information of the Israel authorities, said on 12 November, one day before the invasion, before the attack against Jordan: “The Army and the Border Police were doing there utmost to trap the infiltrators before they carried out their mission, but unfortunately this was often impossible.” “This was often impossible”, he said. Now, if it is impossible for Israel to seal its side of the armastice demarcation line, despite its overwhelming army and military equipment, how can it be expected of my Government, with its limited army and resources, to seal a demarcation line extending 650 kilometers? I do not need to dwell on this question. I have spoken on it before, this morning, and I simply wanted to clarify certain points and beg the Council to confine its discussion to the only issue, the one specific issue before the Council.

35. The PRESIDENT: There are no more speakers on my list for this afternoon. I have consulted with members of the Council and it is the unanimous desire that there be an adjournment to permit members to consult with each other in order to expedite our consideration of this urgent matter. As I hear no objection, the Council stands adjourned until 11 a.m. tomorrow.

The meeting rose at 5.5O p.m.


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

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