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Distr.
GENERAL

S/2388
8 November 1951

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH





LETTER DATED 3 NOVEMBER 1951 FROM THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE TRUCE
SUPERVISION ORGANISATION TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL TRANSMITTING
A REPORT ON THE DECISIONS MADE DURING THE PERIOD 17 FEBRUARY
1951 TO 31 OCTOBER 1951 BY THE MIXED ARMISTICE COMMISSIONS

3 November 1951
Sir,

I have the honour to communicate to you for transmission to the President of the Security Council the attached report on the decisions made during the period 17 February 1951 to 31 October 1951 by the Mixed Armistice Commissions.


I have the honour to be, Sir,
Yours respectfully,

W. E. Riley
Lieut. General, USMC (Retd.)
Chief of Staff


His Excellency Trygve Lie,
Secretary-General,
United Nations,
New York, N.Y



REPORT ON THE DECISIONS

MADE BY THE MIXED ARMISTICE COMMISSIONS

DURING THE PERIOD 17 FEBRUARY 1951 TO 31 OCTOBER 1951


In compliance with the request contained in the last paragraph of the Security Council resolution of 17 November 1950 (document S/1907), I have the honour to submit the following report on the decisions made during the period 17 February 1951 to 31 October 1951 by the Egyptian-Israeli, Jordan-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commissions. With regard to the Syrian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission, the Security Council has been informed of developments by my reports on compliance given to the Council resolution of 18 May 1951 (document S/2157). The last of these reports was distributed on 17 August 1951 (document S/2300). A further report will be transmitted to the Security Council within a few days.

I. EGYPTIAN-ISRAELI MIXED ARMISTICE COMMISSION

As stated in my previous report (S/2049), the following questions were pending before the Mixed Armistice Commission by the middle of February 1951: 2. The first efforts of the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission to assist the Parties in reaching mutually acceptable solutions of the above questions have been described in S/2049; those efforts were continued without success and, in the absence of unanimity, the following decisions were taken on 30 May 1951 by a majority vote of the members of the Mixed Armistice Commission (Egyptian delegation and Chairman in favour; Israeli delegation against): 3. The Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission further rejected by the same majority vote (Egyptian delegation and Chairman) the following resolution proposed by the Israeli delegation:” 4. On 4 June, Israel appealed against the above three decisions to the Special Committee provided for under article X, paragraph 4, of the Egyptian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement. The appeals have been placed on the draft agenda of the Special Committee. It has not been possible so far to arrange for a meeting of the Special Committee on a date which would suit both Parties.

5. At its meeting of 30 May 1951, the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice. Commission also considered the question, raised by Egypt, of the interpretation of article VII, paragraph 1, of the Egyptian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement. The Egyptian Government has contended that “the parting of the area covered by the Armistice Agreement into two zones, the Western zone and the Eastern zone, does not stand any more; that it appears clearly from article VII, paragraph 1, that the main reason of this separation was the non-conclusion, at the time, of a General Armistice Agreement between Israel and Transjordan and the uncertain situation which resulted; that the Armistice Agreement between Israel and Transjorden having been concluded since April 1949, the differentiation between Eastern and Western front should have disappeared and all the provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Armistice Agreement of 24 February 1949 should have received, at the time, their full application both and indistinctly in the Western and the Eastern front; and that a right interpretation of the text of article VII, paragraph 1, of the Egyptian-Israeli Armistice Agreement leads inevitably to such a conclusion that cannot suffer any changes by the insertion of a provision in the Transjorden-Israeli Armistice Agreement which remains for Egypt res inter alios acta.”

5. The Mixed Armistice Commission, by a majority vote (Israeli delegation and Chairman) disagreed with the Egyptian interpretation of article VII, paragraph 1, and held that there must of necessity be a dividing line to delineate the territory to be governed by the respective armistice agreements.

6. The Egyptian delegation has appealed to the Special Committee against the Mixed Armistice Commission’s interpretation of article VII, paragraph 1.

The appeal has been placed on the draft agenda of the Special Committee.

7. Most of the complaints received by the Mixed Armistice Commission have referred to incidents along the demarcation line between Israeli-controlled territory in the Gaza strip under Egyptian control. One hundred and sixty-six complaints, of which 72 per cent came from the Israeli delegation, have been received during the last eight and a half months.

8. During March and April 1951, the Israeli complaints generally concerned the crossing of the armistice demarcation line by Arabs from the Gaza strip, in which great numbers of Palestine Arabs have taken refuge. It was alleged that Arab groups had crossed the line to cut and steal wheat from Israeli-controlled territory. The Egyptians, on the other hand, complained that the Israelis had killed six Arabs and wounded five. The United Nations Chairman appealed to the Israeli delegation to intervene with the Israeli army authorities with a view to preventing the opening of fire on Arab civilians who crossed the armistice demarcation line. He also requested the Egyptian delegation to see that such illegal crossings of the demarcation line were stopped immediately. For a time, [missed]ectivea measures were taken to prevent the crossing of the demarcation line, [missed word]which the Egyptian authorities instituted regular mounted police patrol.

[missed words] the last four months, the situation has taken a more serious turn. There has been an increase in the number of complaints alleging armed robbery and attacks on Israeli settlements and Israel; patrols by Arab bands from the Gaza strip. There has also been complaints alleging the mining of roads in Israeli-controlled territory. The Egyptians, on the other hand, have complained of retaliatory raids by Israelis and of boat and plane violations of waters and territory under Egyptian control.

10. Incidents in the Gaza strip area, in so far as they could not be disposed of by a sub-committee of the Mixed Armistice Commission, have been considered by the Mixed Armistice Commission itself. At a meeting held on 23 September 1951, it examined an Egyptian complaint alleging that on 19 September Israelis had shelled the Beit Hanum area in the Gaza strip and that they had blown up a number of houses, killing and injuring some Arabs. The Commission adopted the following resolution by unanimous vote:

11. At the same meeting, the Mixed Armistice Commission also considered an Israeli complaint. It adopted the following resolution by a majority vote (the Israeli delegation and the Chairman in favour; the Egyptian delegation against):

“The Mixed Armistice Commission decides that during the night of 5-6 September 1951, Arabs from the Gaza strip crossed the demarcation line and laid two mines inside Israeli territory with the result that one tractor and one army car were blown up and one officer and two civilians were wounded.

12. The Egyptian delegation has appealed to the Special Committee against this decision. The appeal has been placed on the draft agenda of the Special Committee.

13. At a meeting held on 3 October, the Mixed Armistice Commission considered further complaints concerning the crossing of the armistice demarcation line and other actions in the Gaza strip area. With regard to an Israeli complaint according to which five or six Arabs from the Gaza strip had, during the night of 7-8 March 1951, attacked three times the guards of a road-building company near Magen settlement, the Commission took the following decision by a majority vote (the Egyptian delegation voting against):

14. At the same meeting of the Mixed Armistice Commission, two other majority votes were taken also condemning actions of Arabs from the Gaza strip, if such actions had happened as alleged by the Israeli delegation (laying of a land mine in Israeli-controlled territory in June; exchange of fire during which an Israeli was wounded in July). In these two cases, as in the case referred to in the preceding paragraph, the Israeli allegations had not been proven by investigations carried out by United Nations Observers. Neither had the allegations been disproved.

15. The Egyptian delegation has appealed to the Special Committee against the above three decisions. It has also appealed against the following decision taken by a majority vote at the same meeting of the Mixed Armistice Commission:

16. The Mixed Armistice Commission also considered at its meeting of 3 October an Egyptian complaint alleging that on 5 April five Israeli soldiers had crossed the armistice demarcation line in a command car and stolen a number of sheep and goats. The Mixed Armistice Commission decided by a majority vote, the Egyptian delegation voting against, that such action was not a violation of article II, paragraph 2, of the General Armistice Agreement. The Egyptian delegation has appealed to the Special Committee against this decision.

17. With regard to another Egyptian complaint alleging that on 28 June three Israeli army vehicles had crossed the Egyptian international border and advanced to a point five kilometres west of the border, the Commission decided by a majority vote, the Israeli delegation voting against, that the Israeli action was a violation of article I, paragraph 2, and article II, paragraph 2 of the General Armistice Agreement.

18. Complaints have been received by the Mixed Armistice Commission in connection with the following incidents which occurred on 16 and 19 October respectively:

II. HASHEMITE JORDAN KINGDOM-ISRAEL

MIXED ARMISTICE COMMISSION


19. The report on operations of the Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission for the period 17 November 1950 to 17 February 1951 (S/2049, part II, paragraph 6) referred to a series of incidents along the armistice demarcation lines and to the manner in which they were resolved. During the period 17 February-31 October 1951, there was comparative quiet on the demarcation lines between Israel and the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom, with the exception of incidents in the vicinity of Idna in the Hebron area (see paragraphs 21 and 23 below) and in the Triangle area in Western Jordan.

20. The arrangements made early this year at the meeting of the Deputy Chiefs of Staff of the two States, with a view to preventing further incidents, have to a large extent been implemented with satisfactory results. Minor incidents have been dealt with on the spot with the minimum of delay. The task of marking the armistice demarcation lines on the ground, which was suspended a year ago, has been resumed and completed in the more critical areas. The crossing of the demarcation lines by civilians has, however, continued. The Hashemite Jordan Kingdom authorities have made arrangements far the trial, in their own courts, of their citizens accused of infiltrating into Israeli-controlled territory. They have also, by the press and wireless, warned their citizens of the dangers of crossing the demarcation lines. The United Nations Observers, for their part, have insisted that many incidents could be prevented if the Arabs living close to the demarcation lines had a clear knowledge of the location of the lines, which implied that they should be marked clearly on the ground.

21. The Hashemite Jordan Kingdom-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission met in emergency session on 8 and 15 March 1951, to consider Hashemite Jordan Kingdom complaints regarding the shelling of the village of Idna in the Hebron area on 7 March 1951. The Commission adopted the following resolution:

22. At a meeting of the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission on 19 April 1951, delegates reviewed existing arrangements aimed at preventing incidents along the armistice demarcation lines and decided on the following: Both delegations undertook to fulfil these conditions until 30 June 1951, when a further review would be made. It has been alleged by the Israeli authorities that the other side did not show the necessary co-operation, especially in the Hebron area. However, the agreement is still partly observed and it is hoped that it will shortly be renewed.

23. The Hashemite Jordan Kingdom-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission met on 26 April 1951 to consider a Hashemite Jordan Kingdom complaint alleging that on 11 April 1951 Israelis had again shelled the village of Idna with mortars. The United Nations Chairman summed up the evidence presented in the following terms:

After some discussion, the Mixed Armistice Commission decided that: 24. The marking on the ground of the demarcation line has since been completed in the Idna area and incidents have become very rare.

25. On 3 July 1951, the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission decided that the buildings occupied by either Israelis or Arabs in the no-man’s-land area separating the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom-controlled and Israel-controlled parts of Jerusalem would continue to be occupied without prejudice to a future settlement. It was further agreed that no more buildings would be occupied by citizens of either State. Complaints referring to illegal occupation of buildings in no-man’s-land have frequently figured on the agenda of the Mixed Armistice Commission meetings. It is expected that this agreement will result in a marked decrease of incidents and complaints regarding the no-man’s-land area.

26. During the period under review, the process of eliminating from the Commission’s agenda long-standing complaints, which with the passage of time had lost their original purpose, was also continued satisfactorily.

27. Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom-Israel General Armistice Agreement established a Special Committee composed of two representatives of each Party for the purpose of formulating agreed plans and arrangements designed to enlarge the scope of this Agreement and to effect improvements in its application. Paragraph 2 of this article states:

28. The Parties to the General Armistice Agreement envisaged direct negotiations by political representatives appointed as members of this committee without the presence of a United Nations representative. This committee to date has not reached agreement on items that might be discussed before this body.

29. As a result, the Chief of Staff, on behalf of the United Nations, continues to administer the Agreement of 7 July 1948 entered into by the military commanders of both Parties, regarding the preservation of buildings and equipment of Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University and the Augusta Victoria Hospital until the parties to the agreement take action in the Special Committee. Under the terms of the 7 July 1948 Agreement, the United Nations continues to arrange for supplies of food and water for the Israel police detachment and a limited number of artisans who are retained as guards and maintenance crew in and about the hospital and university buildings.

30. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency continues to operate the Augusta Victoria Hospital for the care of about 400 Arab refugees. Although the Israel representatives have in the past two years entered complaints against this activity as a violation of the 7 July 1948 Agreement, they have not pressed the complaint due in part to the Chief of Staff’s request not to force its closing.


III. LEBANESE-ISRAELI MIXED ARMISTICE COMMISSION

31. As stated in my previous report (S/2049, Part III, paragraph 1), the marking on the ground of the armistice demarcation line was completed on 27 January 1951. The final report of the Lebanese-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission on the staking of the demarcation line is nearing completion. The line is now marked on the ground by piles of white-washed stone, with iron posts and notice boards at intervals, Incidents arising out of uncertainty as to the exact location of the line have shown a marked decrease.

32 Before the harvest a sub-committee of the Lebanese-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission toured the border areas warning inhabitants on both sides against the use of firearms during harvest time. No case of indiscriminate shooting occurred.

33. During the period under review the Israeli authorities returned to Lebanon through the Mixed Armistice Commission, a number of Lebanese fishermen who had entered Israel waters. The Israel authorities also allowed some Palestine families (most of them Armenian) which were in Lebanon to enter Israel. A number of persons who had crossed the demarcation line were returned to their respective countries.

34. Cases of theft and smuggling across the demarcation line have been on the decrease as a result of mixed investigation by the police of both parties in the border areas.

35. The Lebanese delegation has made a number of complaints against Israel aircraft crossing into Lebanese territory. The senior Israel delegate has explained at meetings of the Mixed Armistice Commission that orders against flying over Lebanese territory had been reissued to the Israel Air Force. He stressed that these instances of over-flying the border were purely accidental and should in no wax be construed as being deliberate unfriendly acs against Lebanon.


W.E. Riley
Lieut. General, USMC (Retd.)
Chief of staff

3 November 1951

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