Question of Palestine home
Department of Public Information (DPI)
31 December 1950
OFFICE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION
UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK
E. THE PALESTINE QUESTION
1. Complaints to the Security Council
of Armistice Violations
At its 514th, 517th, 518th, 522nd and 524th meetings on 20 and 30 October and on 6, 13 and 17 November, respectively, the Security Council considered the following items relating to Palestine:
1. Complaint by Egypt
(S/1790) dated 15 September 1950, that Israel had expelled "thousands of Palestinian Arabs into Egyptian territory in violation of the Egyptian-lsraeli Armistice Agreement".
Complaint by Israel
(S/1794) dated 16 September 1950, that Egypt had violated the Egyptian-lsraeli armistice agreement through the maintenance of blockade practices inconsistent with the letter and the spirit of that agreement; that Egypt and Jordan had failed to observe the procedures laid down in their respective agreements providing that claims or complaints presented by either party shall be referred immediately to the Mixed Armistice Commission through its Chairman; that Egypt and Jordan had violated their respective armistice agreements with Israel by officially and publicly threatening aggressive action contrary to those agreements, and that Jordan had violated the Israel-Jordan armistice agreement through non-implementation of provisions relating to Jerusalem.
3. Complaint by Jordan
(S/l824) dated 29 September 1950, that Israel had committed an act of aggression against Jordan by occupying Jordan territory situated near the confluence of the rivers Yatmuk and Jordan.
At the invitation of the Council the representatives of Israel and Jordan participated without vote in the Council's discussions. Maj.-General William E. Riley, Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine and Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commissions and Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, former Acting Mediator in Palestine, answered questions put to them by the representatives of Egypt, Israel and Jordan and by members of the Council.
a. THE EGYPTIAN COMPLAINT
Speaking at the Council's 514th meeting, the representative of Egypt quoted a letter (S/1789) from the Foreign Minister of Egypt to the Secretary-General which charged that beginning on 20 August 1950 Israeli authorities had by armed force expelled into Egyptian territory all the Bedouin living in the demilitarized zone of El Auja in Palestine. United Nations observers, the letter stated, had "found" that thirteen Arabs including women and children had died during the exodus and bodies of several more had been found crushed by armoured vehicles. By 3 September, the number of expelled Arabs had reached 4,071. These Arabs were genuine Palestinians, the representative of Egypt stated, and most of them had lived in the Beersheba area of Palestine during the period of the British Mandate. Driven from their homes for the first time when the Israeli's occupied that important area, they had gone to settle in El Auja areasince demilitarizedwhere they had been living for more than two years. Now they asked to return to that area under United Nations protection, failing which, the representative of Egypt said, they would try to reoccupy it by force, which would lead to disturbances.
The representative of Egypt maintained that this mass expulsion of Arabs from the Negeb by Israeli forces constituted a violation both of Egypt's international frontier and of the demilitarized zone of El Auja. Similar expulsions, he said, had taken place from Haifa, Acre, Galilee, Jerusalem, Ramleh, El Majdel and other districts under Israeli control after the signing of the still valid armistice agreement. The expelled Arabs had been made to sign certificates that they had elected to leave Israel of their own will and that they had voluntarily renounced their property and interests in Israel. The Egyptian Government, he said, asked that the United Nations put a stop to further expulsions which were taking place and arrange for aid and assistance to these new refugees in returning to their homes and in recovering their properties and receiving compensation for damages. Meanwhile, it was requested, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East should accept responsibility for these refugees.
Apart from these violations of rights allegedly committed by Israel the representative of Egypt cited the following as violations of the Egyptian-Israeli Armistice Agreement: (i) the advance on and occupation of Bir Qattar by Israel on 10 March 1949; (ii) occupation of Um Rash Rash on the Gulf of Akaba on the same day, in violation of the cease-fire ordered by the Security Council; (iii) the shelling of the village of Abasan el Saghir with about 50 mortar shells on 7 October 1949; (iv) the shelling of Beit Hanoun area seven days later: (v) the crossing, on 30 June 1950, of the armistice line east of Rafah and attack on its civilian population, which was, it was claimed, repelled by Egyptian forces.
In reply, the representative of Israel stated that the correct procedure for settling complaints such as those now brought before the Council was to bring them before the Mixed Armistice Commissions. Israel had brought 40 or 50 instances of Egyptian violations of armistice terms before the Commission and many of them had been settled through that machinery. Egypt, however, had violated that procedure by bringing these complaints directly to the Council despite the fact that out of the five armistice items to which he had referred, four had already been settled. Only onethat relating to Bir Qattarremained outstanding and was subject to appeal. This "unilateral diversion" of procedure, he maintained, was designed for propaganda purposes and threatened to dislocate and paralyse the functioning of the armistice system. Israel had therefore made this violation of the accepted procedures the subject of a specific complaint (S/1794) to the Security Council.
Dealing with the charges brought by Egypt regarding (i) violation of Egyptian territory; (ii) violation of the demilitarized zone of El Auja; (iii) the expulsion of Bedouin from El Auja and (iv) expulsion of civilian Arabs from Majdal, the representative of lsrael asserted that they were "utterly and completely false". He said that according to the armistice agreement signed in February 1949 after the cessation of fighting in the Negeb area, it was stipulated that whoever found himself in Egyptian territory when the armistice was assigned could cross into Israeli territory only with the permission of Israeli authorities, and
vice versa. For either party to oppose unauthorized infiltrations from the other side was thus in full accord with the agreement.
When fighting had ceased, the representative of Israel explained, there were some 5,000 Bedouin in the Northern Negeb whose status as residents had been fully and immediately recognized. In addition, the Government of Israel had issued permits, identification certificates and ration cards to 12,500 other Bedouin who had permanently settled in Israeli territory when the armistice was signed. The first of these groups was admitted in November 1948, and the second in April 1949. In the strict sense of the agreement, entry could have been refused to all persons who had come across the armistice frontier. But Israel had applied the provision only against two sections of the Azazmeh tribe which had fought fiercely against Israel during 1948, had fled to the Sinai peninsula in Egypt and were living there when the armistice agreement was signed. They numbered, it was stated, 200 families and not 4,000 persons as alleged by Egypt, and they had been expelled from Israeli territory as unauthorized infiltrators. Israel, it was contended, was fully entitled to oppose the infiltration of a hostile tribe which was in Egyptian territory when the armistice was signed. The officer presiding over the Mixed Armistice Commission, having heard both sides, had concluded on 26 September that these tribesmen had to be considered infiltrators, having no Israeli identification cards.
In regard to the Egyptian complaint alleging the forcible expulsion of Arab civilians from Majdal, the representative of Israel recalled that the population of Majdal, at the time of the cease-fire, was largely a refugee population. Many of these Arabs had their families in the Gaza area under Egyptian control. Between 14 June and 19 September, 1,159 Arabs had applied to Israeli authorities in Majdal for permission to cross with their dependents into Gaza. It was arranged for these applicants to sell their movable properties in the Mandate currency which was still valid in the Arab areas. The departing Arabs had taken the equivalent of $400,000 in foreign exchange and the signatures they had left behind, to which reference had been made by the representative of Egypt, referred mainly to these transactions. When the matter was discussed before the Egyptian-lsraeli Mixed Armistice Commission on 11 August 1950, Egypt had raised no objection to the movement except that it should not have been allowed without prior notice to the Egyptian authorities. All later movements were, therefore, duly notified to Egypt and were conducted with its co-operation and in the full light of publicity. Egypt had received United Nations relief allocations for the Arabs and had provided them with employment. It could not, therefore, it was argued, be held that these civilians had been forcibly expelled.
Replying to the representative of Israel, the representative of Egypt stressed the following points:
(a) The representative of Israel, had not submitted any proofs that the tribes expelled from El Aula were infiltrators. Israel had not brought the "infiltration" to the attention of the Mixed Armistice Commission and had therefore no right to send unidentified men into the territory of a foreign country.
(b) The acting chairman of the Egyptian-lsraeli Mixed Armistice Commission had reported, after questioning the representatives of several (and not only the Azazmeh) tribes, that they had testified to having been expelled by means of a "vast army operation" conducted by Israel with the help of a reconnaissance plane, armoured and command cars and machine guns. The army had, they testified, followed them up to the Egyptian frontier.
(c) As regards the expulsion of civilian Arabs from Majdal and other areas, Egypt had accepted them on humanitarian grounds as they would otherwise have been exposed to "torture and death". That however did not mean their voluntary movement. Furthermore, testimony of the expelled Arabs and reports of the Mixed Armistice Commission clearly showed that they had been forcibly expelled.
(d) As regards frontier violations, they had all been brought to the notice of the Mixed Armistice Commission, which had investigated them. For instance, the Commission's decision, later confirmed by its Special Committee, in the case of Bir Qattar was that "the advance of Israeli forces on 10 March 1949, to the Gulf of Akaba area and the occupation of Bir Qattar is a violation of Article IV, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Egyptian-lsraeli General Armistice Agreement". This decision, in accordance with the terms of the armistice agreement, was final, and the case was therefore not outstanding and subject to appeal as had been claimed by the representative of Israel.
(e) The Israeli contention that Egypt had no right to come to the Council with its present complaints was erroneous because the Council was the final authority in all matters relating to the armistice agreements and was competent to deal with all matters affecting world peace. Moreover, the complaints of Egypt ranged over a wider field than that strictly covered by the General Armistice Agreement.
The representative of Israel stated that nothing the representative of Egypt had said would induce him to modify his earlier conclusion. The effort made by the representative of Egypt to prove that any expulsion of legitimate residents took place was, he said, contradicted by the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission, who stated on 26 September, that only those Bedouin were enticed to be regarded as legitimate residents of Israel who possessed certificates to that effect.
Turning to the references made by the representative of Egypt to "reports of the United Nations observers", the representative of Israel stated that the substantive statements contained in these reports were not authoritative judgments that the alleged events had taken place. They were nothing but summaries of individual statements by one of the parties. The only descriptions of events which could be taken seriously were those made in the presence of all the parties in the Mixed Armistice Commissions themselves.
Despite a Security Council appeal, the representative of Israel observed, the Arab States notably Egypt had refused any contact with Israel, either directly or through the Palestine Conciliation Commission, with a view to achieving a final settlement This very refusal, he emphasized, was tantamount to a firm decision not to allow peace to be restored in the Near East.
b. THE COMPLAINT OF JORDAN
The representative of Jordan stated that on 28 August Israel had occupied Jordanian territory at the confluence of the Jordan and Yarmuk rivers "a definite act of aggression" which endangered the stability of the whole area. Israel, he said, had justified its action by stating that the territory in question was shown in the map attached to the armistice agreement between Jordan and Israel signed at Rhodes as being within Israeli jurisdiction. But, the representative of Jordan contended, an armistice agreement could not modify international frontiers. The inclusion of that piece of territory on the Israeli side of the armistice line could not be justified even by military considerations since at the time of the armistice no opposing forces had confronted each other in that area, and the demarcation lines should have followed the course of the Jordan River, or, taking the alternative more favourable to Israel, should have coincided with the international frontier between Palestine and Jordan. Moreover, it was argued, the agreement itself provided that no military or political advantage should be gained under the truce. Further, negotiators could commit their Governments only within the limits of their credentials, and the Jordanian negotiators never received authority to cede any part of Jordanian territory to Israel.
Another circumstance proving that the territory in question belonged, it was stated, to Jordan was the fact that Israeli occupation of that territory had taken place not within the fifteen weeks period provided for by the agreement but more than a year and a half after the armistice lines had been established. During all that time the area had remained under Jordanian sovereignty as in the past.
The Israeli justification for Israel's "aggression" related not to the text of the agreement or to its principle but only to the map attached. But, it was maintained, the map in question was a copy and not the original map of the armistice agreement. Describing the original map which had defined the armistice lines and which had been signed by the representatives of the parties at Shuneh, the representative of Jordan stated that it had been drawn on a scale of 1/100,000 and was composed of two portions, one of which was section A, covering northern Palestine and part of the adjacent States. That section, A, included the Jordanian area which was the scene of "aggression" on 28 August, an area which was not affected by armistice lines. The other section, B, covered southern Palestine. In accordance with the credentials of the Jordanian negotiators, each of the two sections bore their signatures. No other map, not bearing the signatures of two of the Jordanian negotiators, could, it was stated bind the Government of Jordan. Towards the end of the negotiations at Rhodes, it was proposed to draw up a new, smaller map for convenience. This was drawn on a scale of 1/250,000. But during the transcription to a smaller scale, the armistice demarcation lines were changed so as to include the recently invaded Jordanian area within the territory under Israeli authority. And this section did not bear the signatures of the Jordan delegates. The new map attached to the Rhodes agreement bore the signatures of two Israeli negotiators but of only one negotiator from Jordan, who had signed it as a mere copy on the assumption that the basis of reference would still be the original Shuneh map. The small map, it was contended, was inaccurate. If the original map was in the possession of the Chairman of the Armistice Commission, it should be produced. If it could not be produced, then Jordan was entitled to question why it had disappeared.
In reply, the representative of Israel stated that Jordan appeared to be accusing its own representative of having signed a map not reflecting the true intentions of his Government. Even if this were true the responsibility could not be Israel's. In any case, he argued, the most recently authenticated map bearing the signatures of both contracting parties was signed on 22 June 1949 and was deposited with the United Nations. This map bore the signature of General Glubb Pasha four times on each relevant section. That this small area was on the Israel side of the armistice line was proved by the original map, which bore one signature for Israel and one for Jordan, and also by the revised map, now the master map, certified on 22 June 1949, with the signatures of Colonel Moshe Dayan for Israel and General Glubb Pasha for Jordan. The representative of Jordan had sought to prove that one of these maps bore two signatures for Israel and only one for Jordan, and that the Jordan ratification was thus not complete. But the map in question bore only one signature of the Israeli delegate, that of Colonel Dayan first in Hebrew and then in Latin characters.
As regards the modification of international frontiers referred to by the representative of Jordan, the representative of Israel contended that armistice lines did not have any essential relation to previous international frontiers. He recalled that Palestine's international frontiers had been ignored at the time of Arab "interventionist" war against Israel. Those frontiers, he said, could not now be invoked by the very countries which had violated them. As a matter of fact, he stated, during the armistice negotiations Jordan had successfully urged that the old international frontier should not be used as a basis for the armistice agreement. Thus, Jordan had benefited by changes in respect of other territories a thousand times as great as the present disputed area which, he said, was insignificant. Israel, he concluded, took its stand on the text and the demarcation of the armistice documents.
However, the representative of Israel maintained, the qualified tribunal in this case was the Mixed Armistice Commission; and, faced by the constant refusal of Jordan to submit its case to this Commission, Israel itself had requested an emergency meeting of the Commission to discuss and vote on the question as to whether the disputed area lay on the lsrael side of the demarcation line or on the Jordan side. If the Jordan Government refused to discuss its complaint it would be reasonable for Israel to assume that the complaint was not seriously entertained by the Jordan Government itself.
The representative of Israel further stated that before a fruitful discussion could take place, certain questions of form must be settled. These were:
(i) Israel still awaited a reply to its letter of 18 September to the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission with reference to a published threat by Jordan Ministers to use armed force for the purpose of changing the armistice lines. This threat was the subject of specific complaint by Israel to the Security Council (S/1794). It was a violation of the agreement which stated not only that force must not be used but also that the parties must not threaten to use it.
(ii) The complaint by Jordan (S/1824) also persistently referred to an alleged forgery of armistice maps. If there was any implication that any map or document had been forged by the representatives of the Israeli Government or armed forces, it was a false and insulting suggestion and must be unconditionally withdrawn.
C. THE ISRAEL COMPLAINT
The representative of Israel then voiced the complaints of Israel regarding the blockade by Egypt of shipping destined for Israeli ports. This he said, involved not only an illegal attempt to undermine Israel's economy by force, but also periodic molestation of the ships and vessels of Member States lawfully traversing the Suez Canal. In this connexion, the representative of Israel recalled an earlier statement before the Council made by himself and a supporting statement by Dr. Ralph Bunche, who had said,
inter alia, that "there should be free movement of legitimate shipping, and no vestiges of the wartime blockade should be allowed to remain, as they are inconsistent with both the letter and the spirit of the armistice agreement."
/ This interpretation of Dr. Bunche was subsequently supported by most members of the Security Council and by the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission, the representative of Israel stated. The United Kingdom, Norway, Australia and the United States had officially protested to Egypt against interference with their shipping on the ground that certain goods were destined for Israel. The Egyptian action, the representative of Israel charged, was a violation of the Charter, a violation of the armistice agreement, a general breach of international law and a particular violation of the specific conventions relating to the Suez Canal.
A similar violation, he said, had been committed by Jordan, which had failed to implement Article Vlll of the Israel-Jordan armistice agreement relating to Jerusalem, thereby preventing access to Holy Places, impairing the water supply of the City of Jerusalem, preventing the normal functioning of the Hebrew University and the Hadassah Medical Centre and preventing normal traffic on vital roads. Jordan, the representative of Israel stated, remained unwilling to discuss in the Special Committee formed under the armistice agreement the requisite plans for the implementation of these provisions. Israel, he stated, did not despair of a solution, but the Security Council, if it was studying the working of the armistice system, should keep in mind these "fundamental, protracted and persistent violations".
Maj.-General Riley and Dr. Bunche then answered questions put to them by the President and the representatives of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the United Kingdom. The main points emerging from the testimony of General Riley were as follows:
1. That all questions which had been put before the Council could be handled by the Mixed Armistice Commission, "provided the parties themselves act in good faith and are willing to place the questions before the Commission and abide by its rulings'.
2. That in the case of Bir Qattar, the Commission's decision that Israel withdraw from that region had not been carried out but "he had not given up hope" that the Government of Israel might withdraw from the area.
3. That with the exception of the decision pronounced by the Mixed Armistice Commission in August 1949 in connexion with the Suez Canal blockade all other decisions of the Commission had been carried out by Egypt.
4. That he did not consider that the Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan applied to any other map than the one attached in Annex I to the agreement. His knowledge of the
map was confined to having seen it; he knew nothing about the negotiations that actually took place at Shuneh. The map that was signed at Rhodes was regarded as an inaccurate map by the Mixed Armistice Commission at its meeting of 7 May 1949, and in its place a map was drawn and signed by both parties. This was the map signed by General Glubb Pasha and Colonel Dayan. He assumed that the Shuneh map was the source for the delineation of the armistice lines reproduced on this new map.
5. The disputed ground between Jordan and Israel was originally to the east of the international boundary in Jordan territory. It had nor been proved that force was used in occupying the territory.
6. The armistice agreements did not take away the prerogative of States under the Charter to bring a case before the Security Council.
7. The opinion, of 26 September, of the Chairman of the Egyptian-lsraeli Mixed Armistice Commission that certain Bedouin expelled by Israel were infiltrators from Egypt, with no right of residence in Israel referred to the Bedouin expelled from the neighbourhood of El Auja.
The principal points from the testimony of Dr. Bunche were:
1. He had examined the map attached to the Israeli-Jordan Armistice Agreement carefully; it was entirely in order; there were no erasures on it. So far as he knew there was no basis for questioning its authenticity in any way.
2. There could be no question that the area complained of by Jordan was territory which was on the Jordan side of the Palestine-Jordan international boundary.
3. Signatures to the Armistice Agreement could only be interpreted as unqualified acceptance of the annexes including the map.
4. The validity of the armistice line was not affected if it did not coincide with the previous international boundary. The Agreement itself covered that contingency by stating that demarcation lines "are agreed upon by the parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either party relating thereto".
5. With reference to the blockade he had hoped that the Security Council resolution (S/1376) of 11 August 1949 would entail the lifting of all restrictions on the purchase of arms by the Governments of the Near East and the abolition of all vestiges of the wartime blockade That hope, unfortunately had not been realized.
In a further statement, the representative of Israel expressed the willingness of his Government to abide by the decision of the Mixed Armistice Commission of 26 September asking that Israeli forces should be withdrawn from Bir Qattar. He however, reiterated his earlier conclusions regarding the complaint of Jordan, the expulsion of Bedouin from El Auja and transfer of Arab civilians from Majdal to Gaza. As for Israel's complaint of non-implementation by Jordan of provisions relating to Jerusalem, the representative of Israel said that the Security Council could not reconcile itself to a situation in which the highest institutions of learning and health in that area, for which the United Nations was responsible, were not yet functioning. Israel had failed to secure settlement in the Mixed Armistice Commission and the Special Committee, and it was only after prolonged deadlock that it had brought the matter before the Council. This and the blockade of the Suez Canal were two major and continuing violations of the armistice system which claimed the Council's attention.
d. PROPOSAL BY FRANCE, THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE UNITED STATES
The Council next considered a joint draft resolution (S/1899) submitted by France, the United Kingdom and the United States which would have the Council recall its resolution of 11 August 1949, and, taking into consideration the views expressed by the representatives of Egypt, Israel and Jordan and the Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization on the complaints submitted to the Council, remind Egypt, Israel and Jordan that the provisions of the armistice agreements were binding and call on them to consent to the handling of their present complaints according to the procedures established in the agreements. In connexion with questions relating to Jerusalem, the proposal would have the Council express the hope that the Special Committee formed under the Armistice Agreement would carry out its functions expeditiously. The proposal would also authorize the Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization to recommend steps to Israel, Egypt and other Arab States to control by mutual agreement the movement of nomadic Arabs across international frontiers or armistice lines. The draft resolution also would note the statement of the representative of Israel regarding Bir Qattar; urge the States to take all steps to ensure settlement of the issues; and request the Chief of Staff to report in 90 days or before, if necessary, on the compliance with the resolution and on the status of the operations of the various Mixed Commissions, and to submit periodic reports of all decisions made by the Commissions and Special Committee.
Speaking in support of the draft resolution, the representative of the United States expressed his Government's satisfaction that Israel had agreed to abide by the decision of the Egyptian-lsrael Special Committee to withdraw its forces from Bir Qattar. However, all other complaints, should, in his opinion, be handled by the Mixed Armistice Commissions or by Special Committees. The United States believed that the Council should show continued interest in the solution of the complaints and should concern itself with the continued effective operation of those Commissions and Committees and with the general effective execution of the armistice agreements.
The representative of the United Kingdom also supported the draft resolution and referred to the complaint of Israel regarding blockade practices at the Suez Canal. Since 15 May 1948, he stated, the Egyptian Government had instituted searches of vessels of all nationalities passing through the Canal by virtue of the rights secured under the Suez Canal Convention. These searches were carried out to find out whether the vessels carried material destined for Israel. On 24 February 1949, an armistice was signed between Egypt and Israel. Since 29 June 1949, in view of the armistice, the definition of contraband by the Egyptian Government was limited, but many categories of goods, including petroleum, still remained subject to condemnation as contraband. Such goods had been seized, and vessels had been detained for varying lengths of time. Such restrictions were still in operation and had affected the shipping of oil to the Haifa refinery, which had become partially inactive as a result. The imposition of these restrictions also raised the legal question of the freedom of passage through the Suez Canal. Further, these restrictions contributed to the continuance of tension in the Middle East. He therefore considered that the question should be settled as soon as possible. He hoped that the Special Committee would take speedy steps to consider the appeal referred to it by the Mixed Armistice Commission. If a majority in the Special Committee recommended some course of action which was not accepted by the minority, then the Security Council should decide what should be done in order to uphold the majority decision.
The representative of Norway associated himself with the remarks of the representative of the United Kingdom.
The representative of France stated that his Government, as a signatory of the Constantinople Convention, was specially concerned over the question relating to the Suez Canal. It had, accordingly, made a strong protest in Cairo. In view of the Special Committee's current examination of specific aspects of the Israeli complaint, however, the Security Council might suspend consideration of this question. As for the substance of the question, his Government agreed with the legal, political and economic reasons given by the United Kingdom representative and recommended that the restrictions complained of be withdrawn forthwith.
A draft resolution by Israel (S/1900) was circulated in accordance with rule 38 of the provisional rules of the Security Council for the consideration of members which,
inter alia, would have the Council call upon Egypt to abandon blockade practices and to restore the free movement of shipping through the Suez Canal. It was not, however, pressed for discussion or voting in view of the joint draft resolution (S/1897) and the remarks of the representative of the United Kingdom.
e. EGYPTIAN AMENDMENTS
The representative of Egypt suggested some amendments to the joint draft resolution (S/1899) which, inter alia, would delete the name of Egypt from the third paragraph and introduce a new provision calling on Israel to allow the expelled Arabs to return to Israel-controlled territory, to assure their safety, to safeguard their rights and to give them compensation. The amendments would also call on Israel to stop the expulsion of Arabs.
On behalf of the sponsors, the representative of the United Kingdom presented a revised draft resolution (S/1899) which contained, in place of the new provision suggested by Egypt, a request to the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission to give urgent attention to the Egyptian complaint on the expulsion of Arabs. It further would call on both parties to give effect to any finding of that Commission regarding the repatriation of any such Arabs who, in the Commission's opinion were entitled to return. Another revision provided for calling on "the parties involved in the present complaints" to consent to the handling of the complaints according to established procedure, rather than mentioning by name Egypt, Israel and Jordan. It was also provided that the Council call on the Governments concerned to take, in the future, no action involving the transfer of persons across the international frontiers or the armistice lines without prior consultation through the Mixed Armistice Commission.
The representative of Israel commented that the new text implied that the logical conclusion for the Mixed Armistice Commission would be that certain Arabs had been improperly excluded and therefore should be allowed to return. Moreover, the parties were not to be called upon to obey any finding of the Commission but only that finding which involved the repatriation of any such Arabs. The new provision to call on the Governments to take no future action involving the transfer of persons without prior consultation through the Commission was criticized on the ground that it would encourage infiltrators to enter Israel territory in the sure knowledge that the Government did not possess an unreserved power to exclude them. The Israeli Government, he said, must be allowed the right to exclude those who sought to enter wrongfully or those who had succeeded in entering wrongfully.
The representative of the United States explained on behalf of the sponsors that the draft resolution in no sense prejudged the matter of expulsions. As for the last point raised by the representative of Israel, he stated that some orderly and managed regulation of the transfers seemed to the sponsors to be clearly appropriate. In the context of the international relationships concerned, it was desirable that the Mixed Armistice Commission should decide questions relating to the form, the timing and the procedures of consultation.
The revised draft resolution (S/1899) was then put to the vote and adopted at the 524th meeting on 17 November by 9 votes to none, with 2 abstentions (Egypt, USSR). The text of the resolution (S/1907) follows:
The Security Council,
its resolution of 11 August 1949 wherein it noted with satisfaction the several armistice agreements concluded by means of negotiations between the parties involved in the conflict in Palestine, expressed the hope that the governments and authorities concerned would at an early date achieve agreement on final settlement of all questions outstanding between them; noted that the various armistice agreements provided that the execution of the agreements would be supervised by Mixed Armistice Commissions whose chairman in each case would be the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization or his designated representative, and, bearing in mind that the several armistice agreements include firm pledges against any further act of hostility between the parties and also provide for their supervision by the parties themselves, relied upon the parties to ensure the continued application and observance of these agreements,
into consideration the views expressed and the data given by the representatives of Egypt, Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization on the complaints submitted to the Council: (S/ 1790, S/1794, S/1824),
Notes that with regard to the implementation of Article 8 of the Israeli-Jordan Armistice Agreement the Special Committee has been formed and has convened and hopes that it will proceed expeditiously to carry out the functions contemplated in paragraphs 2 and 3 of that Article,
the parties to the present complaints to consent to the handling of complaints according to the procedures established in the Armistice Agreements for the handling of complaints and the settlement of points at issue,
Requests the Israeli Egyptian Mixed Armistice Commission to give urgent attention to the Egyptian complaint of expulsion of thousands of Palestine Arabs, and
Calls upon both parties to give effect to any finding of the Israeli-Egyptian Mixed Armistice Commission regarding the repatriation of any such Arabs who in the Commission's opinion are entitled to return,
the Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization with regard to the movement of nomadic Arabs to recommend to Israel, Egypt and to such other Arab States as may be appropriate such steps as he may consider necessary to control the movement of such nomadic Arabs across international frontiers or armistice lines by mutual agreement, and
Calls upon the Governments concerned to take in the future no action involving the transfer of persons across international frontiers or armistice lines without prior consultation through the Mixed Armistice Commissions,
Takes note of the statement of the Government of Israel that Israeli armed forces will evacuate Bir Qattar pursuant to the 20 March 1950 decision of the Special Committee, provided for in Article 10, paragraph 4 of the Egyptian-lsraeli General Armistice Agreement and that the Israeli armed forces will withdraw to positions authorized by the Armistice Agreement
Egypt and Israel as Member Nations of the United Nations of their obligations under the Charter to settle their outstanding differences, and further reminds Egypt, Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan that the armistice agreements to which they are parties contemplate "the return of permanent peace in Palestine", and, therefore, urges them and the other States in the area to take all such steps as will lead to the settlement of the issues between them,
the Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization to report to the Security Council at the end of 90 days, or before, if he deems necessary, on the compliance given to this resolution and upon the status of the operations of the various Mixed Armistice Commissions and further requests that he submit periodically to the Security Council reports of all decisions made by the various Mixed Armistice Commissions and the Special Committee provided for in Article 10, paragraph 4, of the Egyptian-lsraeli General Armistice Agreement.
2. Report on the Mixed Armistice Commissions
The Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine, in conformity with the Council resolution of 11 August 1949, submitted on 12 February 1950 a summary report on the Mixed Armistice Commissions (S/1459). The report dealt with the work of the Mixed Armistice Commissions in connexion with the implementation of the General Armistice Agreements concluded between Israel and its four Arab neighbour States, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It stated that the Commissions, "the only forum on which Arabs and Israelis are presently cooperating in direct contact under United Nations auspices", had been able to settle and to alleviate innumerable human problems arising between the parties on a local level and had contributed to the growing human understanding between the two peoples. On 17 March 1950 the Chief of Staff communicated the text of a modus vivendi to the Egyptian-lsraeli General Armistice Agreement signed at El Auja on 22 February 1950 (S/1471).
3. United Nations Conciliation Commission
a. REPORT OF THE COMMISSION
On 2 September the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine presented to the Secretary-General for transmission to the Security Council and the Members of the United Nations a General Progress Report (A/1367 & Corr.l)
/ describing its activities since it assumed its functions in January 1949 after its establishment by the General Assembly in December 1948. On 23 October it submitted to the Secretary-General a supplementary report (A/1367/Add.1). These two reports were communicated by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly and to the Security Council (S/1814 & Add.1).
Following is a summary of the Commission's activities during 1950.
In February the Commission proposed the formation under its auspices of a Mixed Committee of Israeli and Egyptian Members to consider an Egyptian request to permit refugees in the Gaza area to cultivate their lands north and east of the Gaza strip and to permit refugees from Beersheba to return provisionally to that area. Replies from Israel regarding this proposal indicated that while the Israeli Government was prepared to discuss a final peace settlement, it felt that questions of a local and specific nature could best be discussed under the auspices of the Mixed Armistice Commission.
On 29 March the Commission proposed the establishment of Mixed Committees under the Chairmanship of a representative of the Commission and composed of Arab and Israeli members, which would enable the representatives of the parties to discuss directly proposals that the Commission might make. The Commission also stated that it would reserve the right to determine what questions would form the subject of its proposals.
The Arab reply to this proposal indicated that the Arab States were prepared to sit jointly with Israeli representatives if the latter were prepared to discuss the execution of the provisions of the Assembly's resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948 in so far as it related to the refugees. As regards other questions, the Arab States were in favour of maintaining the present procedure with one difference, that the Commission should undertake mediation as well as conciliation.
The Israeli reply indicated that Israel was prepared to negotiate a peace settlement directly with Arab States with the Commission acting only as a "harmonizing agent" between the parties.
On 11 May the Commission sent another letter to the parties detailing the principles which would guide it in the conduct of negotiations in the proposed mixed committees, as follows:
(i) The objective aimed at was to achieve a final settlement of the Palestine problem as called for in Assembly resolution 194 (III);
(ii) The problems raised by such settlement were interlinked
(iii) Some of them were of an urgent character and might, by agreement among the parties, be examined before the others
(iv) The principles of the Assembly resolution of 11 December, should be respected.
The replies to this letter from the parties concerned and to another note sent by the Commission to Arab States, further clarifying the proposals of 11 May, indicated that the difference in approach stated earlier had remained unresolved. The Commission therefore regretted that for the present there were no grounds on which it could pursue the efforts to set up mixed committees.
In its supplementary report (A/1367/Add.1) the Commission stated,
inter alia, that various factors had thus far contributed towards preventing the conclusion of a positive peace in Palestine. The establishment of a new State in territory which the Arabs considered their own had provoked deep reactions which profoundly affected the life of Arab peoples. These anxieties, coupled with the anxiety felt about their security by both Israel and the Arab States, had been an important factor preventing the achievement of any degree of normal or stable relations between the new State and its neighbours. The Commission concluded that harmony in the Middle East could result only from a compromise by which the new State of Israel on the one hand would do its best to counteract the dislocations caused by its establishment and the Arab countries would endeavour to adapt their policies to the new situation. The Commission believed that the General Assembly should urge the parties to engage in direct negotiations, under the auspices of the Commission, to arrive at a peaceful settlement.
In Chapter III of its report dealing with the refugee question, the Commission stated that, in accordance with Assembly resolution 194 (III)
/ of 11 December 1948, the Commission had undertaken negotiations with the interested Governments with a view to solving the refugee problem. The negotiations had concerned both the general aspects of the refugee question, including repatriation, resettlement, economic and social rehabilitation and compensation, and such specific matters as the reuniting of separate families, the protection of orange groves and the unfreezing of bank accounts belonging to refugees and blocked in Israel. The Arab delegations had consistently held the view that (a) the refugee problem should be accorded absolute priority over all other questions relating to the Palestine problem and (b) the solution of that problem depended on Israel's acceptance of the principle of the Assembly's resolution, which required the repatriation of Arab refugees and payment of compensation to those of them that did not wish to return. In their view Israel had not accepted that principle and was making its application difficult.
The Commission, while admitting the validity of the Arab contention that the refugee problem should be accorded priority and of the principle of repatriation, felt, nevertheless, that the refugees should first be informed of the conditions under which they would return. In its view, the refugee question could not be permanently solved without a solution being found for the political questions involved, notably those relating to boundaries.
During the negotiations the Commission received the impression that the Arab Governments were inclining more and more to the view that the problem could not be solved by the return of the refugees to their homes, and that consequently the resettlement of a considerable number of refugees in the Arab countries must also be contemplated.
The Israeli position, as revealed in an interview by members of the Commission with the Prime Minister of Israel, was that Assembly resolution 194 (III) made the return of refugees contingent on their willingness to "live at peace with their neighbours". This readiness to live at peace, according to the view of the Israeli Government could not be relied upon without peace being established between the Arab States and Israeli.
Though not excluding the possibility of repatriation on a limited scale, the Israeli Prime Minister envisaged the final solution of the problem as the resettlement of the majority of the Arab refugees in Arab areas. The ultimate acceptance of the principle of repatriation by Israel was not achieved, the Commission reported.
The Commission concluded that the Government of Israel, although confirming its decision in principle to pay compensation for land abandoned by Arabs who had left Israeli territory, persisted in its point of view that this question could be usefully considered only within the framework of a general peace settlement. The Commission, however, expressed confidence that further conversations would enable a formula.to be found by which the Israeli Government would be able to collaborate in preliminary work leading to the implementation of paragraph 11 of Assembly resolution 194 (III) relating to the payment of compensation.
In its supplementary report (A/1367/Add.1), the Commission set forth the following "broad lines" of assistance to refugees on the basis of which, it proposed, immediate negotiations should be undertaken between the appropriate United Nations bodies and the Governments concerned: return to Israel of as many refugees as would be consistent with their own best interests, immediate payment of compensation for property of non-returning refugees; adoption of measures by the Arab States for assuring the full reintegration of non-returning refugees; provision, by the Governments directly concerned, of facilities for resettlement with the technical and financial assistance of the United Nations.
b. CONSIDERATION BY THE ASSEMBLY AT ITS FIFTH SESSION
During the fifth session of the General Assembly, the report of the Commission was discussed by the
Ad Hoc Political Committee,the discussion being linked with that on the question of Palestine refugees (see below).
At the 34th meeting of the Committee on 6 November 1950, the Chairman of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine made a statement in connexion with the sections of the Commission's report (A/1367 & Corr.1 & Add.1) relating to the question of refugees. The Committee decided to discuss parts of the report dealing with refugees together with the two items on its agenda concerning refugees: (i) "Assistance to Palestine refugees" and (ii) "Repatriation of Palestine refugees and payment of compensation due to them". Its specific discussions on the report of the Commission, which took place at the 70th to 72nd meetings, 5-6 December 1950, following the discussions of the two items referred to above, were concerned to some extent with the question of refugees. Similarly certain other points connected with the Commission were raised in the discussions concerning the repatriation of the refugees and the payment of compensation to them.
4. Palestine Refugees
Apart from discussions on the question of an international regime for the Jerusalem area and protection of the Holy Places
/ the Assembly's discussions concerning Palestine at its fifth session were concerned primarily with questions relating to the Palestine refugees. It had on its agenda the following items:
(a) Assistance to Palestine refugees
(b) Repatriation of Palestine refugees and payment of compensation to them
(c) Report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine.
The discussions on the last two items are here treated together. These questions were considered by the
Ad Hoc Political Committee, which at its 31st meeting on 1 November 1950 invited the representative of Jordan to participate without vote in the discussion of questions relating to Palestine.
a. ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINE REFUGEES
Ad Hoc Political Committee considered this question at its 31st to 36th meetings, 1-7 November, and at the 57th meeting on
27 November 1950. The discussions at these meetings, however, included reference to the question of repatriation and payment of compensation to refugees.
(1) Report of the Director of UNRWAPRNE
At the 31st meeting of the Committee the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWAPRNE) presented the interim report of the Agency (A/1451) and made a statement which was circulated (A/AC.38/4).
The report, covering the period 1 May to 15 September 1950, stated that 800,000 Arab refugees under its care were in a "desperate situation". They were living in overcrowded tents, billets and improvised quarters, the condition of which was rapidly deteriorating. Their clothing was in tatters and they had exhausted their personal resources to supplement their minimum relief diet. The refugees, it was stated, were tired of their present condition and were anxious to return to their homes. They attributed their present condition to the interference of the "Western World" in their affairs and resented the fact that they had not received compensation for their losses. They also resented the withholding by Israeli banks of their money. They blamed the United Nations for their plight and had little gratitude for the efforts of the Agency to maintain them.
After two years of enforced idleness and trying conditions, the 800,000 refugees constituted a serious threat to the peace and stability of the Near East, the report stated. The report acknowledged the assistance to the refugees of UNICEF, which had contributed $3,000,000, WHO, which had provided $42,857 for the 1950 medical programme; and UNESCO, which had donated $50,000 towards the educational programme (74 schools run jointly by the Agency and UNESCO were teaching 45,740 pupils).
The report recalled that the assignment given to the Agency by the Assembly in December 1949 in resolution 302 (IV) had been to change the pattern of United Nations activities for Arab refugees from a direct relief programme to one of works employment, in order to eliminate free rations, offer the refugees a constructive outlet and strengthen the economies of the host countries. But, despite persistent application of this formula, progress had been slow. Only 17,500 refugees were working on works projects. The Agency had been unable to reach the high targets of employment previously contemplated due to the following reasons:
(a) The agency did not get started as early as bad been hoped
(b) The time taken to interest refugees and Governments in a works programme had been longer then anticipate
(c) There was no opportunity for any considerable work programme which could solve the unemployment problem for refugees in Gaza and Lebanon, where their number was more than 200,000, as there were no works projects available and none likely to develop in this area. The resources of Jordan, which had received more than half the refugees, were unequal to the task of starting works projects on any considerable scale
(d) Lack of contributions made it impossible to provide for more than a very modest programme.
The report recommended that direct relief be continued and that works programmes be stepped up and also be designed specifically for the improvement and future living conditions of the refugees.
In Israel, the Agency had provided relief to two types of refugees: Jews who had fled inside the borders of Israel, and Arabs displaced from one area to another. When the Agency first started its operations the Jewish refugees numbered 17,000 but 14,000 had been absorbed in the economic life of the new State. Arab refugees were first numbered at 31,000. A number of these had become self-supporting, and at the end of August only 24,000 were receiving relief.
The report stressed the need for giving international assistance to the Governments of the receiving countries and for the repatriation or re-establishment of the refugees, to be accomplished by negotiations with the Government concerned. In this connexion the report drew attention to the increasing importance of technical assistance by UNWRAPRNE and by the specialized agencies of the United Nations in "moving the programme from relief to works and then on to reintegration" of the refugees into the economy of the area concerned, either through repatriation or through resettlement. It therefore proposed that the United Nations authorize contributions to a fund that would be available for projects of refugee reintegration and surveys and technical assistance connected with such projects proposed by Near Eastern Governments.
The Agency considered that the reintegration of the large number of refugees would in the course of years involve a major economic enterprise. It therefore urged the United Nations to encourage and facilitate consultation among those engaged in international economic activities in the Near East, especially with reference to the task of refugee reintegration, and to facilitate the Agency's participation in feasible arrangements for economic co-operation among Near East Governments.
Estimates of $50,000,000 were submitted for the period 1 July 1951 to 30 June 1952, out of which, it was proposed, $20,000,000 should be earmarked for direct relief and $30,000,000 for the proposed re-integration fund. In conclusion, the report emphasized the magnitude of and the danger inherent in the Near East refugee problem and stated that the problem needed the fullest understanding and support of the nations of the world.
(2) Consideration by the Ad Hoc Political Committee
At the 35th meeting of the
Ad Hoc Political Committee on 7 November 1950, a joint draft resolution (A/AC.38/L.28 ) was presented by France, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. This draft resolution would have the Assembly note, inter alia, that contributions sufficient to carry out the programme authorized in Assembly resolution 302 (IV) had not been made, and urge Governments which had not yet done so to make every effort to give voluntary contributions. It would recognize that direct relief could not be terminated by 31 December 1950, as envisaged in resolution 302 (1V), and authorize the Agency to continue to furnish direct relief to refugees, estimating that approximately $20,000,000 would be needed for this programme for the period 1 July 1951 to 30 June 1952. It would state that the reintegration of the refugees into the economic life of the Near East, either by repatriation or resettlement, was essential, and instruct the Agency to establish a reintegration fund to which not less than $30,000,000 should be contributed during the period 1 July 1951 to 30 June 1952. The Secretary-General, it was proposed, should be authorized to advance funds not exceeding $5,000,000 from the Working Capital Fund to finance operations pursuant to the resolution.
The Secretary-General and the specialized agencies would be called upon to utilize to the fullest extent the Agency's facilities in co-ordinating the technical assistance programmes in the countries in which the Agency was operating. The draft resolution expressed appreciation of all the assistance rendered by the specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and private organizations as well as of the work of the Director and the staff' of the Agency and the Advisory Commission.
Paragraph 8 of the joint draft resolution dealing with the method of financing was left blank; the sponsors proposed that the Committee should seek advice from the Fifth Committee concerning it. The proposal to refer this question to the Fifth Committee was accepted.
In the Committee's general debate the representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen, while supporting the recommendation of the Director of the United Nations Relief Agency for continued direct aid to the refugees, held that such aid was merely a palliative measure and emphasized that the only permanent solution of the problem lay in the repatriation of the refugees to their homes and in the payment of the compensation due to them according to Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948.
They alleged that Israeli authorities were confiscating Arab possessions and were practising discrimination in a determined effort to annihilate the Arab population. There was an added danger, they said, that subversive doctrines would gain ground among the refugees and increase the threats to the peace of the Near East. Moreover, it was stated, Israel was continuing to expel Arabs from its territory. The number of those who had remained in their homes but had lost their livelihood because their lands were on the other side of the frontier was also very large nearly 150,000 which, if added to the number of refugees receiving relief, would swell the figure of those in extreme need, to nearly a million.
It was emphasized that one million refugees constituted above one seventh of the population of that area. As long as Israel refused to implement Assembly resolution 194 (III) the problem would remain. If, however, the refugees were repatriated, the number wishing to remain in the Arab countries would pose no problem for the United Nations, as it would be small.
These representatives agreed with the recommendation of the Relief and Works Agency that a reintegration fund of $30,000,000 should be constituted, but emphasized that the Agency's projects should not entail loss of the refugees' right of repatriation which had been conceded to them by the General Assembly. Furthermore, the reintegration fund should also be available for the rehabilitation of the refugees in their original homes and their trades and professions.
As for suggestions that the refugees should be settled in the Arab countries and be employed in economic development projects, it was argued that there were no work projects which could possibly absorb the large number of refugees in Gaza, Lebanon or Jordan. Moreover, repatriation to their homes was a fundamental human right which could not be "bartered away".
Commenting on the joint draft resolution the representative of the United States stated that reintegration would give an ever-increasing number of refugees the courage and material means of beginning a new life. He hoped that the states of the Near East, in particular, would weigh the advantages of such a proposal. Clearly, several years would be needed to carry out the reintegration of 150,000 families, but the sooner such a scheme was initiated the sooner it would be completed. Before the necessary funds were granted to the Agency, however, the representative of the United States observed, evidence would be needed of any projects which had been or were to be initiated by the Governments concerned. The United States Government, he said, was prepared to request Congress for a contribution, but at present his delegation was not in a position to make commitments. Any action that might be taken on the question would be influenced greatly by the actions of other Governments in support of the Agency's programme, as well as by the steps taken by the Near Eastern Governments in preparing plans for the reintegration of refugees.
The representative of Canada stated that the humanitarian aspects of the question could not be considered in isolation from its political aspects. While expressing his Government's deepest sympathies for the Arab refugees, he nevertheless felt that the first measures for a solution of the problem should be to determine the exact number of refugees who were not in favour of repatriation. These refugees should then receive compensation under the reintegration programme. He stressed that the resettlement of the refugees in the Arab countries would require technical and financial assistance on a large scale. Such expenditure by the United Nations would, in his opinion, be justified not only on humanitarian grounds but because of its contribution toward the economic development of the Near East
The representative of the United Kingdom regretted that the Agency's report had not given more prominence to possibilities of transferring the responsibility for the operation of the relief and works programme to the Governments of the Near East since that had been an important recommendation made by the Economic Survey Mission. Nevertheless he considered the reintegration programme to be essential.
The representative of Iraq stated that he had noted a tendency of certain representatives to disregard the legitimate right of the Arabs to return to their homes. Most speakers, he stated, allowed the inference that it was apparently the object of the United Nations to "chase the Arabs from their homes in Palestine". The continuation of relief, he stated, was not a solution. The remedy was to restore to the refugees their homes and their property. Those who had despoiled the Arabs should be compelled to comply with the Assembly decisions and restore the property they had looted. The United Nations could not acquiesce in or remain indifferent to such a violation of property rights. It was, he said, the Organization's duty to apply the principles which it was applying in Korea. He stated that the present relief measures were quite inadequate and amounted to $2 per month per head, which could not support any individual. He could not agree with the joint draft resolution, which, he stated, completely ignored resolution 194 (III) under which the Assembly had solemnly recognized the refugees' right to return to their homes or, if they did not choose to do so, to receive compensation for their property.
At the 36th meeting of the Committee, the representative of Pakistan proposed an amendment (A/AC.38/L.29) to the joint draft resolution to insert in the fourth paragraph the words "without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 11 of the General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948". This amendment was accepted by the sponsors of the joint draft resolution.
The representative of Israel maintained that the decision to launch a Palestine war in 1948 together with the persistent refusal of the Arab States to negotiate a peace settlement were jointly responsible for all the present tensions in the Near East. Israel, he said, was willing to enter into negotiations for a general peace settlement at any time, and in these negotiations the refugee problem would receive prior consideration. Israel was also willing to consult with the United Nations on the question of compensation. But, he said the question of repatriation should be considered from the viewpoint of the best interests of the refugees. Israel could accept some refugees, depending on among other things their willingness to live at peace with the inhabitants of the country. His country, however, had always felt that reintegration would serve the best interests of the refugees, who would be protected by Governments and people akin to them in tradition, culture, interests and religion. He therefore supported the proposal for the reintegration fund, to which his Government would contribute, as well as for the continuance of relief assistance for the present.
As regards the Pakistani amendment to the draft resolution, the representative of Israel stated that it was contrary to the conclusions stated in the reports of the Conciliation Commission and the Relief and Works Agency. These reports without repudiating earlier Assembly decisions on repatriation, urged the Committee to consider resettlement in large numbers in Arab countries. These recommendations, he considered, represented a change the emphasis based on changes which had occurred since 1948. With the Pakistani amendment the resolution would bind the United Nations to a formula not generally accepted as satisfactory.
(3) Recommendation by the Fifth Committee
At its 57th meeting on 27 November, the Committee considered a letter (A/AC.38/L.49) from the President of the General Assembly transmitting the advice of the Fifth Committee regarding the method of financing the proposed relief and reintegration programme. The Fifth Committee recommended that a paragraph 8 be included in the joint draft resolution which would provide for the appointment by the President of the Assembly of a Negotiating Committee of seven or more members to consult with Member and non-member States as to the amounts which Governments might be willing to contribute on a voluntary basis. It was also suggested that the Assembly should request that, as soon as the Negotiating Committee had ascertained the extent to which Member Stares were willing to make contributions, all delegations should be notified by the Secretary-General in order that they might consult their Governments. As soon as the Negotiating Committee had completed its work, it was suggested, the Secretary-General should at the Committee's request arrange, during the current session of the General Assembly, a meeting of Member and non-member States at which Members might commit themselves to their national contributions and the contributions of non-member States might be made known. As regards paragraph 9 of the draft resolution, the Fifth Committee noted that the maximum sum likely to be available from the Working Capital Fund during July and August 1951 was estimated at $2,500,000, and the Committee therefore hoped that the demands upon the Working Capital Fund might be limited to that amount.
The sponsors of the joint draft resolution accepted for inclusion in the joint draft resolution paragraph 8 as recommended by the Fifth Committee. The Committee then adopted the joint draft resolution by 43 votes to none, with 6 abstentions (A/AC.38/L.52).
(4) Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly
The General Assembly at its 315th plenary meeting on
2 December 1950 adopted the draft resolution recommended by the Ad Hoc Political Committee (A/1566) without debate, by 46 votes to none, with 6 abstentions.
The resolution (393 (V)) read as follows:
The General Assembly,
its resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949,
Having examined the report of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and the report of the Secretary-General concerning United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees,
1. Notes that contributions sufficient to carry out the programme authorized in paragraph 6 of resolution 302 (IV) have not been made, and urges governments which have not yet done so to make every effort to make voluntary contributions in response to paragraph 13 of that resolution;
Recognizes that direct relief cannot be terminated as provided in paragraph 6 of resolution 302 (IV);
the Agency to continue to furnish direct relief to refugees in need, and considers that, for the period I July 1951 to 30 June 1952, the equivalent of approximately $20,000,000 will be required for direct relief to refugees who are not yet reintegrated into the economy of the Near East;
that, without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (111) of
11 December 1948, the reintegration of the refugees into the economic life of the Near East, either by repatriation or resettlement, is essential in preparation for the time when international assistance is no longer available, and for the realization of conditions of peace and stability in the area;
Instructs the Agency to establish a reintegration fund which shall be utilized for projects requested by any government in the Near East and approved by the Agency for the permanent re-establishment of refugees and their removal from relief;
that, for the period I July 1951 to
30 June 1952, not less than the equivalent of $30,000,000 should be contributed to the Agency for the purposes set forth in paragraph 5 above;
the Agency, as circumstances permit, to transfer funds available for the current relief and works programmes, and for the relief programme provided in paragraph 3 above, to reintegration projects provided for in paragraph 5;
Requests the President of the General Assembly to appoint a Negotiating Committee composed of seven or more members for the purpose of consulting, as soon as possible during the current session of the General Assembly, with Member and non-member States as to the amounts which governments may be willing to contribute on a voluntary basis towards:
(i) The current programme for relief and works for the period ending 30 June 1951, bearing in mind the need for securing contributions from Member States which have not yet contributed;
(ii) The programme of relief and reintegration projects as provided for in paragraphs 3 and 4 above for the year ending 30 June 1952;
(b) Authorizes the Negotiating Committee to adopt procedures best suited to the accomplishment of its task, bearing in mind:
(i) The need for securing the maximum contribution in cash;
(ii) The desirability of ensuring that any contribution in kind is of a nature which meets the requirements of the contemplated programmes;
(iii) The importance of enabling the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to plan its programmes in advance and to carry them out with funds regularly contributed;
(iv) The degree of assistance which can continue to be rendered by specialized agencies, non-member States and other contributors;
(c) Requests that, as soon as the Negotiating Committee has ascertained the extent to which Member States are willing to make contributions, all delegations be notified accordingly by the Secretary-General in order that they may consult with their governments;
Decides that, as soon as the Negotiating Committee has completed its work, the Secretary-General shall at the Committee's request arrange, during the current session of the General Assembly, an appropriate meeting of Member and non-member States at which Members may commit themselves to their national contributions and the contributions of non-members may be made known;
the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, to advance funds, deemed to be available for this purpose and not exceeding $5,000,000, from the Working Capital Fund to finance operations pursuant to the present resolution, such sum to be repaid not later than 31 December 1951;
the Secretary-General and the specialized agencies to utilize to the fullest extent the Agency's facilities as a point of reference and co-ordination for technical assistance programmes in the countries in which the Agency is operating;
its appreciation to the United Nations International Children s Emergency Fund, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International Refugee Organization, the International Labour Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization for the assistance which they have rendered, and urges them to continue to furnish all possible assistance to the Agency;
the International Committee of the Red Cross, the League of Red Cross Societies and the American Friends Service Committee for their invaluable services and whole-hearted co-operation in the distribution of relief supplies until those functions were taken over by the Agency;
its thanks to the numerous religious, charitable and humanitarian organizations whose programmes have brought much needed supplementary assistance to the Palestine refugees, and urges them to continue and expand, to the extent possible, the work which they have undertaken on behalf of the refugees;
its appreciation and thanks to the Director and staff of the Agency and the members of the Advisory Committee for their effective and devoted work.
(5) Establishment of the Negotiating Committee
At the 318th plenary meeting of the Assembly on 4 December, the President announced that he had appointed, in compliance with resolution 393 (V), a Negotiating Committee consisting of Canada, Egypt, France, India, United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. On 14 December, the Chairman of the Negotiating Committee submitted a statement (A/1744) to the Assembly on the work and the plans of the Negotiating Committee.
The report stated that the response on the raising of funds for Palestine Relief and Public Works had been a "keen disappointment" to the Committee. It noted that many delegations were still without instructions from their Government. As to future plans of the Committee, it stated that it was intended to complete exploratory work by 15 January 1951 and to request the Secretary-General thereafter to arrange a meeting of Member and non-Member States at which Members might commit themselves to their national contributions and the contribution of non-Members might be made known.
b. REPATRIATION OF REFUGEES AND PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO THEM
This question, as well as the report of the Conciliation Commission (A/1367 & Corr.1 & Add.1),
/ was discussed by the Ad Hoc Political Committee at its 61st to 72nd meetings, 29 November to 6 December 1950; the Committee also discussed those aspects of the report of the Palestine Conciliation Commission (A/1367 & Corr.1 & Add.1) bearing on the question, and other aspects of the report.
(1) Consideration by the Ad Hoc Political Committee
(a) DRAFT RESOLUTIONS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE
The Committee had before it the following draft resolutions:
(a) Draft resolution by Egypt (A/AC.38/L.30/Rev.1), which would have the General Assembly request the Conciliation Commission to establish an agency for the repatriation of and payment of compensation to Palestine refugees. The agency was to make arrangements for the repatriation of refugees and remit to those entitled, sums due as compensation. It would, also, in collaboration with the competent authorities, take measures to safeguard the property of the refugees. The competent Governments and authorities would be invited to furnish binding guarantees that refugees returning to their homes would be treated without any discrimination in law or in fact. The Director of the agency was to be appointed by the General Assembly before the end of the fifth session, and the Secretary-General was to be authorized to make available to him funds and staff essential for the discharge of his responsibilities. A refusal by any Government or authority to comply with the terms of the resolution was to be taken as proof of the existence of a breach of the peace within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter and was to be subject to investigation by the competent organs of the United Nations with a view to adoption of appropriate measures in conformity with the Charter.
(b) Draft resolution by France, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States (A/AC.38/L.57), which, inter alia, urged the Governments concerned to engage without delay in direct discussions in order to arrive at a peaceful settlement of all questions outstanding between them. It was proposed that the Conciliation Commission be directed to establish an office under its direction to make arrangements for the assessment and payment of compensation pursuant to paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (III), to work out arrangements for the implementation of other objectives of that paragraph, and to continue to consult the parties regarding measures to protect the rights, property and interests of the refugees. The Governments concerned would also be called upon to ensure that refugees, whether repatriated or resettled, would be treated without any discrimination in law or in fact;
(c) Draft resolution by Israel (A/AC.38/L.60) which would urge the Governments concerned to engage without delay in direct discussions under the auspices of the Conciliation Commission, in order to arrive at a peaceful settlement of all questions outstanding between them. It would direct the Commission to render all possible assistance to the parties concerned in order to ensure the implementation of the resolution and to avail itself of the services of other United Nations owns and agencies, particularly the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. It would also recommend that the Governments concerned should give special and urgent attention to the refugee question, and call upon them to co-operate with the Conciliation Commission in the exercise of its functions and to assist in the attainment of a speedy and peaceful settlement of all questions outstanding between the parties;
(d) Joint draft resolution by Ethiopia and Pakistan which, among other things, would direct the Conciliation Commission to establish an office to (i) take effective measures pursuant to paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (III) to facilitate at the earliest practicable date the repatriation of all refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours; (ii) take effective measures for the assessment and payment of compensation in respect of properties of those refugees not wishing to return, as well as for the implementation of other objectives of paragraph 11; and (iii) take measures for the preservation of the properties, rights and interests of refugees pending the attainment of the foregoing objectives. The draft resolution would further call upon the Governments concerned to undertake measures to ensure that refugees, whether repatriated or resettled, would be treated without any discrimination, in law or in fact. The resolution would further urge the Governments concerned to collaborate with the proposed office in the implementation of paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (III) and of the new resolution, and instruct the Conciliation Commission to report periodically to the Secretary-General on the progress of the work of the office and of the implementation of the resolution.
(e) Draft resolution by the USSR (A/AC.38/L.66) which would state that the Conciliation Commission had proved incapable of discharging its duty of settling the disputes between the parties in Palestine and would resolve to terminate the Commission.
The following amendments were submitted to the draft resolution:
(a) By the USSR (A/AC.38/L.61), to delete the reference in the joint four-Power draft resolution to the Conciliation Commission and to delete paragraph 2 of this draft providing for the establishment of an office under its direction;
(b) By China (A/AC.38/L.64)), to replace paragraph 1 of the four-Power draft resolution by a provision urging the Governments and authorities to seek agreement "by negotiations conducted either with the Conciliation Commission or directly";
(c) By the Phillipines (A/AC.38/L.67), to amend the preamble and paragraph I of the four-Power draft resolution by including more specific references to the refugee question. This amendment was later withdrawn.
(b) TESTIMONY OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CONCILIATION COMMISSION
At the 72nd meeting of the Committee, the Acting Chairman of the Conciliation Committee answered questions put to him by the representatives of Iraq, Egypt and Israel, during the course of which he stated:
(i) That the Lausanne Protocol of 12 May 1949
/ (A/927) had not been implemented and that he doubted whether it could serve as a basis for negotiations at the present time. During the past year the Commission had declined to discuss the refugee problem out of its context because it had felt that it was not competent to do so. If the General Assembly gave the Commission authority, it might be able to give primary attention to the refugee problem while bearing in mind the possibilities of a general statement;
(ii) that Israel, while agreeing to discuss all outstanding questions in mixed committees set up for the discussion of specific questions, had maintained that the refugee question could be discussed only as a part of a general settlement;
(iii) that, with reference to blocked accounts of refugees in Israeli banks, the Israel Government had agreed to release a token payment of £100;
(iv) that there had been no satisfactory progress in reuniting families; it had been found that family groups were being further separated instead of being reunited;
(v) that the Government of Israel had not been prepared to accept the return of the refugees to cultivate their orange groves.
(c) DISCUSSIONS IN THE COMMITTEE
The discussions in the
Ad Hoc Political Committee centred mainly on the joint four-Power draft resolution. On behalf of the joint four-Power draft resolution, its sponsors stated as follows:
(i) The joint draft resolution considered the refugee problem in the general context of the Palestine question; the General Assembly's resolution of 11 December, it was stated, must to some extent, at least, be read as a whole and exclusive reference must not be made to its provisions concerning refugees, as was done in the Egyptian draft resolution, and provision was therefore made for direct negotiations between the parties.
(ii) The draft resolution, however, recognized the importance of the refugee problem and referred to it specifically.
(iii) It was not necessary, as proposed by Egypt, to set up a special body to deal with the repatriation of Palatine refugees and the payment of compensation to them. The Relief and Works Agency, if properly financed, could deal with the question of reintegration, which covered both repatriation and resettlement, and the committee of experts being established by the Palestine Conciliation Commission should be able to set up the machinery for the payment of compensation.
(iv) Although containing no magic formula, the draft resolution, if implemented, would contribute co better relations between Israel and the Arab States; it would improve the general situation in Palestine and thus lay the foundations for a final settlement in the interest of the refugees.
(v) The draft resolution did not seek to alter the principles contained in the General Assembly resolution 194 (III) or to contradict the right of the refugees to return to their homes in Palestine, or failing this, to receive compensation. It did however, recognize that the principles contained in the Assembly's resolution must be applied on a practicable basis.
In this connexion, the representative of the United Kingdom stated that he doubted whether it would be in the best interest of the refugees to return to Palestine since there was a grave danger that the legacy of distrust between the two parties would make the task of mutual adjustment of populations impossible. The Arabs of Palestine might also have great difficulty in adjusting themselves to the very highly organized economy of Israel, which ran counter to the Arab economic outlook. In these circumstances, he considered that the Arab refugees would have a happier and more stable future if the bulk of them were resettled in the Arab countries.
The representatives of Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan. Saudi Arabia and Yemen maintained that the General Assembly had already decided, by adopting resolution
194 (III) of 11 December 1948, how the refugee problem was to be solved. The main conditions of that settlement were laid down in paragraph 11 of that resolution as the right of repatriation and compensation. The late Count Bernadotte, when Mediator in Palestine, had also confirmed the absolute right of the refugees to repatriation. Moreover, the right of repatriation and compensation was based on acknowledged principles of international law.
The Assembly resolution 181 (II), which brought the State of Israel into being, also declared that the Arab population residing in the State would be entitled to choose Israeli nationality. Furthermore, the Arab's right to repatriation was also clear from Articles 13 and 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The claims by the Israeli Government that Arabs had fled from Israel on account of the Arab invasion of Palestine was false because over 250,000 Arabs had fled from their homes long before Arab forces had entered Palestine. Their flight, it was stated, had been due to the terroristic activities of Jewish organizations like the Irgun and the Stern Gang and not to the entry of the Arab forces, who had gone into Palestine to rescue their Arab kinsmen from Jewish atrocities.
The second claim of Israel was that the repatriation of refugees should be carried out as part of an over-all peace settlement. From this it appeared that Israel was using the refugees merely as a bargaining counter. Paragraph 5 and 6 of Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December which dealt with the settlement of the Palestine question as a whole and the establishment of peace, had no direct connexion with paragraph 11, which was concerned with the right of refugees to return home. If this interpretation was challenged, then the question of Jerusalem and Holy Places which was dealt with in paragraphs 7, 8, 9 and 10 of that resolution, should also be considered as part of a general settlement. Yet Israel had made no objection to that question being considered separately and had not claimed that the application of those paragraphs depended upon the establishment of peace. Moreover, when a question was covered by both general and specific provisions, the specific provisions always prevailed. Therefore, these representatives maintained, there was no justification for claiming that the return of the Arab refugees to their homes was contingent upon the establishment of peace between Israel and the Arab States.
The third objection put forward by Israel was, it was stated, that repatriation of a large number of Arab refugees would create a dangerous minority problem. But the Arabs, it was contended, had lived in Palestine for thirteen centuries and could not be regarded as a minority. Moreover, there were examples of people of different backgrounds, languages and religions living together in harmony as in the United States. As a matter of fact there was much more in common between the Palestinian Arabs and Jews than between Palestinian Jews and foreign Jews, who had nothing in common but their religion.
The representative of Egypt expressed satisfaction that the joint four-Power draft resolution covered in principle some of the points embodied in the Egyptian draft resolution. It provided, though in somewhat vague and ambiguous terms, for the repatriation of refugees and the payment of compensation to them. Nevertheless it contained two defects: the weakness of its wording and the implication that the repatriation of refugees would result in the complete settlement of the Palestine problem. As had been pointed out, there was, he said, no connexion between the two questions.
The representative of Israel in reply to the statements of these delegations stated that the version about the flight of the refugees from Palestine as having been solely due to the terroristic activities of Jewish organizations was absolutely distorted and "completely reversed to the logical order of cause and effect". Arab violence had broken out the day after the Assembly had adopted its resolution 181 (11) of 29 November 1947. It had been carefully planned in advance, as evidenced by the resolution adopted by the Political Committee of the Arab League in September 1947.
The mass flight of the Arabs had been ordered by Arab interests, who had told their kinsmen that they would be free to return when the country was cleared of Jews. The refugee problem was the result of armed rebellion against a United Nations decision and those responsible for it must bear the consequences.
Moreover, he stated, Palestine was not the only country in which such vast changes had occurred. After the First World War there had been a mass migration of people between various countries, such as Greece and Bulgaria, and Greece and Turkey. After the Second World War similar transfer of populations had occurred from countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia into Germany. When India and Pakistan had become independent, millions of men had moved from one country to the other. Migration had also taken place in China, where it had assumed still greater dimensions.
In none of those cases, in comparison with which the number of Palestine refugees became insignificant, had there ever been any attempt to restore the
status quo ante.
When the Arabs had rejected the international decision taken in November 1947 in resolution 181 (II) and had chosen arms as the means of settling the problem of Palestine, they implicitly and in advance undertook to abide by the outcome of the combat, thereby relinquishing their right to invoke the principle of international settlement.
The Committee had heard the Arab delegations say that they were prepared to apply the United Nations resolution. That statement, he said, had come three years too late. During those three years events of fundamental importance had happened to render certain provisions of the 1947 plan completely obsolete in respect both of territorial limits and of population.
As regards the proper solution for the refugee problem, the representative of Israel stated, any impartial observer would have already become convinced that the repatriation of a large number of refugees was impossible, for the population of Israel was constantly increasing because of the vast influx of the Jewish immigrants. It was futile, he said, to argue at the present stage the rights and wrongs of such immigration. The establishment of the State of Israel had only one purpose: to give a home to those Jews throughout the world who were in need of it. Jewish immigration was the movement of the people urged by misery and fear towards a country where they hoped to find freedom and the possibility of a normal life. Moreover, at the present time Jews were immigrating to Israel from the Arab countries. Thus the Arab countries were on the one hand protesting against the immigration of the Jews into Israel, while on the other they seemed very anxious to get rid of their own Jewish nationals as rapidly as possible.
The other factor which must be allowed for in considering the possibility of repatriation was security. The return of the Arabs to Israel would undoubtedly create an atmosphere of mutual suspicion which would conduce neither to the stability of the area nor to the contentment of its inhabitants. The assurances given in the past on the assumption of peaceful co-operation between the two States in Palestine no longer had any meaning in the present setting. It must not be forgotten that Israel had had to wage war to defend its very existence.. In a number of articles in the Arab press the repatriation of the refugees was being urged as a means of creating within Israel a fifth column which would facilitate a future war of reconquest. The Governments which refused to make peace with Israel and even refused to recognize it as a sovereign State were urging repatriation in a spirit which would, of itself, justify Israel in rejecting that solution. For all those reasons, he said, repatriation was impracticable, and politically it would be an act of criminal folly.
The Israeli delegation was of the opinion that the only solution of the refugee problem was that which the Committee had adopted (A/AC.38/L.52)
/ approving the establishment of a reintegration fund to assist the Governments of the Middle East in carrying out programmes for the permanent resettlement of the refugees. In a spirit of conciliation the Israel Government had in that respect agreed to waive its previous requirement that the refugee problem could only be considered as part of a general peace settlement. The Israeli delegation had indicated that its Government was prepared to make contributions to the reintegration fund in the form of instalments on account of the compensation which it had always admitted that it owed for the land and property abandoned by the Arab refugees.
The representative of Israel opposed some of the provisions of the joint four-Power draft resolution (A/AC.38/L.57). He considered the refugee problem had already been dealt with by the resolution establishing the reintegration fund, and the only outstanding problem was that of peace, with which the Conciliation Commission was dealing. He supported the Commission's recommendation (A/1367/Add.l) that the General Assembly should address an urgent appeal to the parties concerned to negotiate immediately a settlement of all the questions outstanding between them. He objected, however, to the implication in the preamble that both parties were equally to blame for the lack of a peaceful settlement. The General Assembly and the Security Council had unequivocally indicated who was responsible for that situation. He raised the question as to whether the omission in the second operative paragraph of a reference to the reintegration fund meant that two methods of compensation were envisaged. The Government of Israel could not consider paying the same compensation twice or undertaking uncoordinated financial commitments. It should therefore be made clear that, apart from the payment of compensation into the resettlement fund, all other questions without exception would be considered within negotiations for a final settlement during which Israel would present its claims for war damages. Moreover, the office it was proposed to set up could do no more than approach Governments with a view to arrangements for the assessment and payment of compensation. The Israeli delegation, the representative of Israel stated, reserved the right to submit amendments on all the points he had indicated.
The representatives of India, Burma and Ethiopia considered that the rehabilitation of the Arab refugees should be treated separately from questions of a general political settlement. The representative of India stated that the question of rehabilitation was only a long-term aspect of the question of assistance. The representative of Burma stated that the enjoyment of fundamental rights should not be made contingent on the solution of political problems and that repatriation should be treated as a separate and urgent item. The representatives of Ethiopia and Pakistan offered a compromise draft resolution.
The representative of Denmark, agreeing that the United Nations bore the main responsibility for the situation in which the refugees found themselves, considered that the question should be considered in accordance with the principles of international law and of human rights. It was for the individual refugees to decide whether they wished to remain in Arab countries or not. A first step in solving the problem, he suggested, might be to unfreeze the bank accounts of refugees immediately to enable them, if they so desired, to settle in the Arab countries. He supported the joint four-Power draft resolution.
The representative of Belgium considered that irrespective of legal considerations, the question could not be solved without co-operation between Israel and the Arab States, and therefore he favoured direct negotiations between the parties. He suggested that the authors of the various proposals might find an agreed formula.
The Committee discussed at some length as to whether paragraph 1 of the draft resolution providing for direct negotiations was extraneous to the subject under discussion.
The representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria, among others, held that the paragraph related not to the refugee question but to the agenda item dealing with the report of the Conciliation Commission and the general political question which the Committee had agreed to discuss separately.
The sponsors of the joint draft resolution, supported by representatives of Israel and Uruguay felt that the settlement of the refugee question was closely connected with the general political settlement and therefore could not be considered in isolation.
One of he principal questions raised in the Committee's discussion of the Conciliation Commissions report was that of Jewish immigration into Palestine. In the opinion of the Arab States, as expressed by the representatives of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, this, together with the refugee question, was the main obstacle to the settlement of outstanding issues between Israel and the Arab States, and one of the reasons why, in their opinion, the Conciliation Commission had in its two years of existence made little progress despite the greatest possible co-operation from the Arab States.
They felt that pressure from mass migration would, in the future, serve to "unleash an offensive of penetration or infiltration of Arab countries" and was a grave threat to the peace of the Middle East. In this connexion the representative of Egypt quoted a letter by the United Nations Mediator addressed to Jewish authorities on 6 July 1948, in which he had stated that unlimited immigration might cause a serious political and economic problem which the Israeli Government would be unable to control and that the question of immigration was of concern to the neighbouring Arab States as well as to the Stare of Israel. The Arab delegations, it was stated, considered it necessary to draw the attention of the United Nations to this continued mass migration which in their opinion was bound to have two results: to make the repatriation of Arab refugees more difficult and to compel Jews to seek expansion outside their present territory.
These delegations regretted that the Conciliation Commission seemed to some extent to concur in the Zionist views by advising the Arab States in its supplementary report (A/1367/Add.l), to consider the existence of Israel as a
fait accompli. Such conclusions, they held, tended to establish a dangerous policy of recognizing faits accomplis to the detriment of moral principles and of the United Nations prestige. They considered that it would be absurd to adopt guarantees concerning frontiers or armistice boundaries and to leave immigration and the return of refugees to the discretion of the Zionists. Peace would continue to be threatened, they stated, unless the policy of immigration which entailed expulsion of Arabs and their replacement by Jews was abandoned.
The representative of Jordan, who had been invited by the Committee to participate without vote in its discussions, stated that the Prime Minister of his country had informed the Commission that a final settlement was closely related to the co-ordination of the joint policy of the Arab States and was dependent on Israel's respect for the Lausanne Protocol
/ and its willingness to negotiate a territorial settlement on the basis of that document. His Government also felt that a final settlement could not be reached without a settlement of the refugee problem on the basis of the Assembly resolution of 11 December 1948.
The representative of Israel stated that the United Nations had no competence to consider the question of Jewish immigration as it involved the internal policies of the State of Israel. However, he stated, if the States neighbours of Israel viewed that immigration with anxiety because of its potential threat to their territorial integrity, there was all the more reason why they should negotiate a final settlement under the auspices of the United Nations.
The crux of the problem, the representative of Israel stated, was whether the Arabs wanted peace with Israel or not; if they did, they must accept the State of Israel as it was. If the Arabs were not ready to accept that fact it would be useless for the Committee to prolong the debate.
Introducing the USSR resolution, the representative of the Soviet Union stated that all the resolutions before the Committee had one feature in common; they all attributed a preponderant role to the Conciliation Commission. He did not think that the Commission had performed its duty. It had actually contributed to a worsening of the relations between the parties in Palestine. In 1949 the Commission, under the pretext of assisting the refugees and without awaiting replies from the Arab States and Israel, had established the Economic Survey Mission, although nothing in the Commission's terms of reference had authorized it to do so. This Mission had been used to gather political and strategic information for the United States. Very significantly, he added, the Mission's Chairman had been appointed by the United States and not by the United Nations. In 1949, the Commission had also appointed a Technical Committee without any authority. Thus the methods that the Commission had used were not those of a conciliation commission but of an independent agency intent on imposing its will upon the parties concerned. Similar lack of authority characterized the Commission's proposal in 1950 to establish mixed committees. The recent resumption of military activities in Palestine confirmed the failure of the Commission. He therefore, in his draft resolution (A/AC.38/L.66), proposed its dissolution.
For the same reasons he proposed the deletion of all references to the Commission in the draft resolutions before the Committee.
The representative of Czechoslovakia stated that the General Report of the Commission and its supplementary report together with the discussions in the Committee had revealed that the approach to the problem had been wrong. The Commission had failed to do its duty. The Lausanne Protocol had not been implemented and the refugee and other allied problems had not been solved. During the two years of its existence the Commission had cost $1,800,000, which could have been put to better use. He therefore supported the USSR draft resolution urging the dissolution of the Commission. The representative of Poland expressed a similar point of view.
The representatives of Bolivia, Chile, France, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States expressed opposition to the USSR draft resolution because (a) they felt that it was unfair to the Commission; (b) that the United Nations could not discharge its functions in Palestine except through an organ such as the Commission and (c) the Commission's recommendations were really concrete proposals which would help in the settlement of the question.
There was considerable discussion in the Committee concerning the Chinese amendment, which proposed that negotiations between the parties could be conducted either through the Commission or directly. Some representatives held that it weakened the joint draft resolution, in that its recommendations were less definite and immediate, others that it presented a more realistic view of the situation. The sponsors of the joint four-Power draft resolution, stating that the amendment proposed the continuation of a policy which had yielded no results in the past two years, said that they could not accept it; and they also considered that the Egyptian and Israeli draft resolutions, as well as the draft resolution of Ethiopia and Pakistan, represented extreme points of view which ran counter to the spirit of the four-Power draft resolution.
The representative of Israel held that, in order to be effective, any resolution to be adopted by the General Assembly must be plain and impose clearly defined obligations and that there should be direct negotiations between the parties. In this connexion, he spoke in favour of the relevant provision of the joint four-Power draft resolution as against the Chinese amendment, which, he stated, failed to call on the two parties to enter into negotiations without delay and, if adopted, would only prolong the existing situation.
The representatives of Egypt and Syria, however, considered that the Chinese amendment marked a distinct improvement in the four-Power draft resolution. The representative of Egypt requested that the four-Power draft resolution and the Chinese amendment to it be voted on first. The Chinese amendment was supported also by the representatives of Bolivia, Chile and India, while the representative of Iraq declared that the four-Power draft resolution would be useless and unrealistic unless the Chinese amendment were adopted.
In reply to a question by the representative of Israel as to how far the Commission's experience would lend support to the Chinese amendment the Acting Chairman of the Commission stated that negotiations between the parties could not take place until the atmosphere had improved. He thought that the Commission might be able to assist the parties in initiating direct negotiations by drawing up an agenda in consultation with them to serve as a basis for such direct negotiations.
At the 72nd meeting of the Committee the draft resolutions proposed by Egypt, Israel, and Ethiopia and Pakistan were withdrawn. The Chinese amendment to the four-Power draft resolution was adopted by 33 votes to 13, with 9 abstentions. The USSR amendment to the four-Power joint draft resolution was rejected by 45 votes to 5, with one abstention. The four-Power draft resolution as amended was adopted by 45 votes to 5, with 5 abstentions.
The Committee at the same meeting rejected the USSR draft resolution by 46 votes to 5, with one abstention.
(2) Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly
The report of the
Ad Hoc Political Committee (A/1646), containing the joint draft resolution adopted by the Committee on repatriation of refugees and on the report of the Conciliation Commission, was considered by the General Assembly at its 325th plenary meeting on 14 December when the USSR reintroduced its draft resolution (A/1659), which the Ad Hoc Political Committee had rejected. The USSR also introduced two amendments (A/1680), the first of which called for the substitution in paragraph I of the operative part of the draft resolution recommended by the Ad Hoc Political Committee, of the words "by direct negotiations" for the words" "by negotiations conducted either with the Conciliation Commission or directly", and the second proposed the deletion of paragraph 2 of the resolution.
At the request of the representative of the Soviet Union the USSR draft resolution was put to the vote first. It was rejected by 48 votes to 5, with 1 abstention.
The first USSR amendment was rejected by 46 votes to 6, with 2 abstentions.
The first part of the draft resolution recommended by the
Ad Hoc Political Committee was adopted by 48 votes to 5, with three abstentions; and paragraph 2 was adopted by 48 votes to none with 3 abstentions. The President declared that it was no longer necessary to put the second Soviet amendment to the vote. The draft resolution was then adopted, as a whole, by 48 votes to 5, with 4 abstentions.
The text of the resolution, 394 (V), adopted by the General Assembly follows:
The General Assembly,
its resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948,
Having examined with appreciation the general progress report dated
2 September 1950 and the supplementary report dated 23 October 1950, of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine,
Noting with concern:
(a) That agreement has not been reached between the parties on the final settlement of the questions outstanding between them,
(b) That the repatriation, resettlement, economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation have not been effected,
that, in the interests of the peace and stability of the Near East, the refugee question should be dealt with as a matter of urgency
the governments and authorities concerned to seek agreement by negotiations conducted either with the Conciliation Commission or directly, with a view to the final settlement of all questions outstanding between them;
the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine to establish an office which, under the direction of the Commission, shall:
(a) Make such arrangements as it may consider necessary for the assessment and payment of compensation in pursuance of paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III);
(b) Work out such arrangements as may be practicable for the implementation of the other objectives of paragraph 11 of the said resolution;
(c) Continue consultations with the parties concerned regarding measures for the protection of the rights, property and interests of the refugees;
3. Calls upon
the governments concerned to undertake measures to ensure that refugees, whether repatriated or resettled, will be treated without any discrimination either in law or in fact.
5. Question of an International Régime for Jerusalem and Protection of the Holy Places
a. ACTION BY THE TRUSTEESHIP COUNCIL
By resolution 303 (1V) of 9 December 1949 the General Assembly restated its previous intention (resolution 181 (II)) that Jerusalem should be placed under a permanent international régime, which should envisage appropriate guarantees for the protection of the Holy Places, both within and outside Jerusalem. It requested the Trusteeship Council to complete the preparation of the Statute of Jerusalem (T/118/Rev.2) omitting the now inapplicable provisions and to introduce into the Statute amendments for its greater democratization. It further requested the Council to approve the Statute and to proceed immediately with its implementation.
At its second special session held from 8 to 20 December 1949 the Council entrusted to its President the task of preparing a working paper on the Statute in accordance with the Assembly resolution.
(1) Report by the President of the Trusteeship Council
On 19 January 1950, at its sixth session, the Council heard the report (T/475) of its President, which contained his suggestions concerning the interpretation to be given to the General Assembly resolution in making the necessary changes in the draft Statute. The report included communications from the permanent representative of Egypt to the United Nations and from representatives of churches and other qualified organizations.
The proposals contained in the President's report were as follows:
(1) The territory of Jerusalem would be constituted as a
corpus separatum within the boundaries indicated in the Assembly's resolution of 9 November 1949 and would be placed under a permanent international régime ensuring the demilitarization and neutralization of this zone, free access to the Holy Places, full freedom of movement throughout the territory, and integrity of, and respect for, Holy Places and religious buildings and sites.
(2) The territory would be constituted as an economic free zone, i.e. goods consigned to or coming directly from Jerusalem would be exempt from duty.
(3) The territory of Jerusalem would be divided into three parts:
(a) An Israeli zone, (b) a Jordan zone and (c) an "international city" under the collective sovereignty of the United Nations and administered under the supervision of the Trusteeship Council, by a Governor of the Holy Places appointed by the Council.
The Israeli zone was to consist of the new city, together with the station and railway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The Jordan zone was to consist of the Arab quarters of the old city, together with the Haram-el-Sharif, Wadi-el-Joz and Babel-Zahira sections, the American colony and certain roads. The international city was to consist of land taken in almost equal parts from the occupation zones defined by the armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan including all the Holy Places covered by the Status Quo of 1757.
The report also defined the functions and powers of the Governor as regards the interests of the citizens of the international city, the protection of Holy Places, the administration of justice, and the direction of the external affairs of the city. It recommended that the statute should remain in force for an initial period of ten years unless the Council decided to review its provision at an earlier date.
(2) Discussions in the Council
In February the Council decided to issue a general invitation to all Governments, institutions and organizations concerned to express their views during the Council's consideration of the question. Accordingly it heard, among others, the representatives of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and all Palestine, the American Christian Palestine Committee, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. The Council also invited the representatives of the State of Israel and of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to make statements before it. The following points of view were expressed:
The representatives of Egypt, Iraq and Syria stated that the whole objective of the General Assembly had been that there should be one place in the world where all men might lead a spiritual life, free from all forms of politics. The plan of the Council's President, by dividing Jerusalem into three zones under three different authorities, defeated this objective. It was essential that Jerusalem should be preserved intact as "one whole". This division, it was stated, was, unacceptable not only to the Arabs, it was also opposed by the vast majority of religious organizations all over the world. The proposals before the Council would serve no one but the Zionists who would, through them, obtain control of a large section of Jerusalem. It was wrong to claim, these representatives asserted, that the three great monotheistic religions of the world were interested only in the Holy Places of Jerusalem. The whole of Jerusalem was a Holy City, and to vest sovereignty over it in any authority other than the United Nations would endanger and jeopardize the rights of believers in their "spiritual capital'.
It was stated further, that the partition plan submitted to the General Assembly in 1948 by the late Mediator for Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, had provided that Jerusalem should be included in the Arab State of Palestine, thus recognizing that under that State freedom of worship and access to Holy Places and their protection would be guaranteed. It was further recalled that Israel and Jordan had formally accepted the internationalization of Jerusalem by the Lausanne Protocol of 12 May 1949 and they could not, therefore, be opposed to such internationalization.
The Assembly resolutions, including that of 9 December 1949, provided, it was argued, that Jerusalem should be established as a
corpus separatum. The President's plan, however, contemplated not one separate and distinct corpus but three corpora, and in addition integrated Jerusalem with Tel Aviv. Therefore, the President of the Council had gone beyond the task assigned to him by the Council and, in an attempt to reconcile conflicting points of view, had presented a solution which was completely new. The Arab States would accept either a full internationalization or no internationalization at all. They therefore urged the Council to proceed immediately with the task of completing the 1948 Statute for Jerusalem.
The representative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem stated,
inter alia, that the following conditions should be guaranteed: (i) the Status Quo of 1757 would be kept inviolate; (ii) the character of the monastic foundations belonging to each Church would be preserved; (iii) the Holy Places and Shrines, as well as the property attached to them, would be exempt from all taxation.
In reply to a question from the representative of Egypt, the representative of the Patriarch of Jerusalem stated that the best decision on the question taken by the General Assembly was that of 1947, which laid down that the whole of Palestine should be divided into three parts, with Jerusalem as an international city.
The representative of the American Christian Palestine Committee stated thee the Assembly's decision regarding the internationalization of Jerusalem was impossible to implement, in view of the opposition of the inhabitants of that area to any such plan. A fact-finding mission appointed by his Committee had recommended that a United Nations Commission should be established which would have no territorial sovereignty but only the duty of protecting the Holy Places vis-a-vis the Governments concerned. He felt that was the only practicable solution of the problem.
The representative of the Armenian Church, while welcoming the internationalization of Jerusalem, outlined certain measures regarding the constitution of a legislature for the governance of the city and for the creation of a judicial organ charged with the special task of regulating differences between the religious groups and the civil authorities.
The representative of the Commission of Churches on International Affairs outlined the following basic conditions for an international régime for Jerusalem: (i) The preservation of human rights and fundamental freedoms particularly of religious liberty; (ii) recognition that the protection of and free access to Holy Places was an international responsibility, (iii) the return to owners of all church-owned and mission-owned property in Palestine which was occupied by either Arabs or Jews.
The representative of China stated that the Council had no right to alter or deviate from the recommendations made by the General Assembly. The proposals of the President, he maintained, were not in accord with the provisions of the Assembly's resolution of December 1949. Those proposals provided too liberal an interpretation of the Assembly's resolution. He therefore submitted a draft resolution (T/467) which called for the immediate completion of a Statute for the City of Jerusalem. The Council on 10 February adopted this resolution.
The representative of Jordan stated that his Government desired to reiterate the point of view it had previously expressed, and that it was not prepared to discuss any plan for the internationalization of Jerusalem.
The representative of Israel stated that, while opposed to the internationalization of the Jerusalem area proposed in the draft Statute, his Government remained willing to accept the principle of direct United Nations responsibility for the Holy Places, to participate in discussions on the form and content of a Statute for the Holy Places and to accept binding declarations or agreements ensuring religious freedom and full liberty for the pursuit of religious education and the protection of religious institutions.
(3) Draft Statute for Jerusalem
On 4 April 1950, the Council, after three readings, approved a draft Statute for Jerusalem and adopted a resolution (T/564) requesting the President to transmit its text to the Governments of the two States at present occupying the area and city of Jerusalem, to request from the two Governments their full co-operation, and to report on these matters to the Trusteeship Council in the course of its seventh regular session.
The Statute for Jerusalem, as adopted by the Council, consisted of 43 articles and constituted the city of Jerusalem as a
corpus separatum under the administration of the United Nations The territory defined under the Statute included the municipality of Jerusalem as delimited on 29 November 1947, together with the surrounding villages and towns, bounded on the east by Abu Dis; on the south by Bethlehem; on the west by Ein Karim and Motsa; and on the north by Shu'fat. Precise boundaries were to be delimited by a Commission nominated by the Trusteeship Council.
The territorial integrity of the City was to be assured by the United Nations, which was also to guarantee the observance, in the city, of fundamental human rights and freedoms according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Statute further defined citizenship of the City and the powers of the Governor. It provided for a unicameral legislative council of 25 elected members and not more than fifteen non-elected members and defined the judicial system of the City. It also provided for free entry, exit and temporary residence for pilgrims and visitors and for free elementary education. It laid down that economic provisions, which were to be adopted later, would be on an equal and non-discriminatory basis for all States. It also set forth certain transitory provisions relating, among other things, to first elections, appointment of a provisional president of the Legislature, the formulation of economic and financial principles for the City Government and the flying of the United Nations flag on official buildings unless the City Legislature decided otherwise.
At the Council's seventh session, in June 1950, the President reported that he had sent invitations to the two Governments to nominate representatives to meet him in order to discuss the question. He had, up to that time, received no reply from Jordan and had therefore been able to undertake negotiations only with Israel. The Government of the latter had communicated certain new proposals which the Council did not discuss. The President concluded that the implementation of the Statute would seem to be seriously compromised under present conditions. On 14 June 1950, the Council decided to submit to the General Assembly its special report (A/1286) containing copies of the Statute as adopted by the Council, the reports of the Council President and the Israeli reply.
b. CONSIDERATION BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS FIFTH SESSION
The special report of the Trusteeship Council (A/1286) containing the Statute for the City of Jerusalem adopted by the Council was considered by the
Ad Hoc Political Committee at its 73rd to 81st meetings, 7-14 December 1950.
(1) Resolutions Presented to the Ad Hoc Political Committee
The following draft resolutions were submitted:
(i) By Sweden (A/AC.38/L.63): In its section A, would invite the Governments of Israel and Jordan to give pledges to: observe the principles of article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to give free access to Holy Places, maintaining existing privileges in that respect; to abstain from measures of taxation detriment. to the Holy Places; to respect the property rights of religious bodies; to reduce armed forces in Jerusalem, and to co-operate with a Commissioner appointed by the United Nations. Section B, 17 articles would provide for the supervision by the United Nations of the protection of, and free access to, the Holy Places, to be exercised through a Commissioner to be appointed for three years by a Committee of the General Assembly, to which he would be responsible. The jurisdiction over and control of each part of the Jerusalem area was to be exercised by the States concerned, subject to specified powers granted to the Commissioner as regards the supervision of the protection of and free access m the Holy Places
(ii) By Belgium (A/AC.38/L.71): Operative paragraph I would instruct four persons, to be appointed by the Trusteeship Council, to study, in consultation with the Governments exercising de facto control over the Holy Places and with other States, authorities and religious bodies concerned, the conditions of a settlement capable of ensuring the effective protection, under United Nations supervision, of the Holy Places and of spiritual and religious interests in the Holy Land. Paragraph 2 would invite the four persons to report to the General Assembly at its sixth session. Paragraph 3 would request the States concerned to co-operate fully in giving effect to the resolution and the fourth would invite the Secretary-General to place staff and facilities at the disposal of the persons concerned.
(2) Amendments to the Draft Resolutions
An amendment (A/AC.38/L.73/Rev.2) to the Swedish draft resolution was submitted jointly by the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay The amendment proposed that the following changes be introduced in the operative part of the draft resolution: Section A after minor drafting modifications would become paragraph I of a new text. Section B would be replaced by three new paragraphs numbered 2, 3 and 4. Paragraph 2 would provide for a United Nations representative to represent the interests of the United Nations in the Holy City in accordance with paragraph 1, and to report to the General Assembly with such recommendations as he might consider appropriate with regard to the Jerusalem question. He was to be appointed on the nomination of the Secretary-General by a General Assembly Committee composed of the eleven States members of the Security Council. Paragraph 3 would call upon the Governments of the States in the Holy Land to co-operate fully with the United Nations representative. Paragraph 4 would request the Secretary-General to furnish the necessary staff and facilities to the United Nations representative. The amendment proposed to include in the preamble a provision that the action outlined in the operative part of the resolution was "pending further decisions by the United Nations with respect to the interests of the international community in the Jerusalem area." The representative of Sweden accepted these amendments as well as an oral suggestion by the representative of the Netherlands to the effect that the United Nations representative should report to the sixth session of the General Assembly.
Amendments to the Belgian draft resolution were submitted by China (A/AC.38/L.74) These would have substituted in paragraph 1 of the operative part for the words "instructs four persons to be appointed by the Trusteeship Council" the following: "Decides to establish a Commission of four persons to be appointed by the General Assembly," and would have made consequent changes in paragraphs 2 and 4. It was also proposed to insert after the word "report" in the second paragraph the words "with recommendations if possible." These amendments were not accepted by the representative of Belgium and were later withdrawn.
Lebanon submitted the following amendments (A/AC.38/L.76) to the Belgian draft resolution which, among other things, sought
(i) to insert in the preamble references to Assembly resolutions 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, 194 (III) of 11 December 1948 and
303 (1V) of 9 December 1949; (ii) to insert before paragraph I of the operative part of the resolution a new paragraph as follows: "1. Decides that new efforts should be made with a view to a satisfactory settlement of the question within the framework of principles previously adopted by the General Assembly", (iii) to replace the words "of the Holy Places" in operative paragraph I by the words "over the Jerusalem area." The first of these amendments was accepted by the representative of Belgium and the remainder were withdrawn.
(3) Discussion in the Ad Hoc Political Committee
At the beginning of the debate the representative of the Dominican Republic made a statement (A/AC.38/L.69) in his capacity as President of the Trusteeship Council. He outlined the various stages in the Council's work on the question, the consideration and rejection of his predecessor's (Roger Garreau, of France) suggestions, the consultations with the various States interested in the question and the completion of the necessary revision of the draft statute drawn up in April 1948. He stressed the differences of opinion regarding the interpretation of resolution 303 (1V) of the Assembly calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem as a
corpsus separatum, and stated that the Council had been unable to comply with the Assembly's instruction that it should proceed immediately with the implementation of the Statute.
Introducing his draft resolution, the representative of Sweden recalled that the Assembly at its fourth session had adopted resolution 303 (IV) establishing the Jerusalem area as a
corpus separatum and had instructed the Trusteeship Council to implement that decision. His country had voted against that resolution and had sponsored another proposal for functional rather than territorial internationalization of the Holy Places He maintained that the Swedish point of view had been justified by subsequent events proving the insurmountable difficulties of implementing the Assembly's decision. Nothing short of force, he considered, would be sufficient to internationalize Jerusalem and even if that force was provided by the concerted action of Members it would arouse such resistance that peace in the Middle East would be seriously jeopardized.
He indicated that together with the representative of the Netherlands he had privately approached the two parties, Israel and Jordan. Both had submitted amendments and suggestions but had also given proof of a co-operative spirit. He had received the impression that there was no real obstacle to the implementation of the Swedish proposal although one of the parties appeared to make its acceptance dependent on the fulfilment of certain conditions which, in the view of the Swedish delegation, could be dealt with
in the final peace settlement. He asked the Committee to give serious consideration to his proposal as it seemed to have a fair chance of implementation if it gained the support of a large majority.
The representative of Jordan stressed the historical and religious importance of Jerusalem for the entire Arab world, both Moslem and Christian. His Government, he stated, considered that any attempt to internationalize Jerusalem would be an adverse reflection on its administration of that area and on Jordan's past conduct, which had been that of fairness and tolerance for all religions. His country pledged itself to continue the same tolerant policy but it was not prepared to compromise its sovereignty in any part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Drawing attention to a special aspect of the present plan for the internationalization of Jerusalem, he stated that under it the southern part of Palestine, now united with Jordan, would be completely separated from the northern part. Acceptance of the proposal by Jordan would amount to a surrender of that area, since its armed forces would have no access to it except by air. Moreover, it was stated, the Arab inhabitants of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and of the whole area, would lose their Arab nationality while their connexions with the whole Arab world and in particular with Jordan, of which they formed an integral part would be severed. Jerusalem had been an Arab city for fourteen centuries; it was an integral part of the Arab world.
As regards the Swedish draft resolution he stated that the obligations it sought to impose were already being scrupulously observed by his Government and so were most of the other acceptable provisions. However, the draft resolution tended in certain respects to infringe the sovereignty of Jordan and he was therefore unable to accept it as it stood.
With reference to the Belgian draft resolution, he wished to make it absolutely clear that any attempt to induce his Government to change its attitude towards the internationalization of Jerusalem was doomed to failure. His Government would continue to oppose internationalization for the reasons he had stated. He later stated that the joint amendment to the Swedish proposal represented, in his view, a new method of guaranteeing the interests of the world community in Jerusalem and was acceptable to his Government.
The representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Syria maintained that the Swedish draft resolution despite its sincerity would not solve the problems of Jerusalem. It failed, they said, to resolve the basic issue, which was how international control could harmonize the two opposing nationalisms which dominated the city. No permanent stability could be achieved until the international community assumed responsibility for control of the Jerusalem area forthwith to prevent the clash of the two authorities currently occupying it.
The Swedish draft resolution was, moreover, they held, inconsistent with the resolution adopted by the General Assembly. It also disregarded the fact that it was not merely the buildings and shrines of Jerusalem which were the concern of the international community but the land as well. Free and safe access to Jerusalem was not guaranteed by the Swedish proposal and could not be guaranteed unless an equitable solution was found for the Palestine problem as a whole. Further, it was contended the Swedish proposal would undermine the authority of the United Nations, since it would be based on expediency and not on principle. These delegations felt that if certain Powers used their friendly influence with the Governments of Israel and Jordan, the decisions already adopted by the General Assembly in previous resolutions and reaffirmed in 1949 could be applied successfully. Broadly speaking these representatives preferred the Belgian draft resolution which, they said, could serve as a basis for work since it was founded on the provisions of the resolution 303 (1V) and did not disregard previous General Assembly decisions.
They held that protection of the buildings in the Holy City offered by Israel and Jordan was not enough. Spiritual freedom for religious bodies must also be maintained, and pilgrims must be allowed freedom of movement. These objectives could not be achieved if the city were divided and placed under two administrations. Administrative unity was indispensable to the peace and security of the city and to the fulfilment of its religious functions. As a symbol of religious inspiration throughout the world, the City should become a centre where cultural traditions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism could flourish in peace under the international authority of the United Nations.
It was stated that the Committee should adhere to the principles of resolution 303 (IV) and invite the Trusteeship Council to proceed with the implementation of the Statute.
It was not true to say, these delegations argued, that the United Nations lacked the means of implementing its decisions. The United States, for example, had circulated a document at the second special session of the General Assembly in 1948, suggesting that Palestine be placed under United Nations Trusteeship and stating that the United States was prepared to provide forces for the implementation of that decision. Such action could be taken by the United Nations in Jerusalem.
The representative of Israel stated that the two populations of Jerusalem, however divided in other respects, were united in wishing to preserve their own ways of life and were firmly opposed to territorial internationalization such as envisaged in Assembly resolution 303 (IV). The Swedish draft resolution, by emphasizing religious interests, represented a fair and practical expression of United Nations responsibility in Jerusalem. His Government was, accordingly, prepared eo cooperate with a United Nations Commissioner.
Referring to the suggestion that certain Governments should use their influence with Israel and Jordan in order to make them accept internationalization, the representative of Israel said that such pressure would amount to an attempt to disfranchise, denationalize and isolate the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The unanimous opinion of the people of Jerusalem together with the economic and administrative unworkability of the scheme made internationalization impossible. History, he stated, had shown the difficulties implicit in attempts at internationalization, as in Danzig and Memel, Jerusalem and Trieste. It might have been possible to set up a separate régime in Jerusalem in 1948 before the people of Jerusalem, the majority of whom, he claimed, were Jews, had established contact with another State. The Arabs had revolted against internationalization at that time and the opportunity had been lost.
As for the Belgian draft resolution, the representative of Israel felt that the Committee proposed in it would probably meet the same fate as the attempts at negotiation reported by the President of the Trusteeship Council. That draft resolution was merely a way of postponing a decision.
The representatives of Australia, Denmark, Guatemala, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Turkey, the Union of South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay and Yugoslavia, among others, supported the Swedish draft resolution and the joint amendments thereto. These representatives expressed the view that an international régime for Jerusalem would be unacceptable to the inhabitants and would thus be undemocratic. The real objective of the United Nations in Jerusalem was to secure the safety of and freedom of access to all Holy Places, their adequate administration, and freedom of residence in the city for study or religious contemplation. The Swedish draft resolution, it was stated, would achieve all these objectives.
Israel and Jordan, although they had been adversaries in war, were now united in their resistance to the internationalization plan. Although, it was conceded, those Governments should not be allowed what amounted to a power of veto over United Nations decisions, it was clear that there was no practicable way to implement a Statute which was opposed by them. The United Nations should, therefore, refrain from taking decisions to which these Governments would be opposed. Any other action would, in the opinion of these representatives, involve the international community in responsibilities not corresponding to its interest in Jerusalem.
Expressing opposition to the Belgian draft resolution, these representatives held that it actually called for a new committee to do what had already been done by the Mediator, the Conciliation Commission and the Trusteeship Council. There was no reason to believe that the new group would succeed where others had failed. Those who supported the Belgian proposal were, it was maintained, apparently convinced that it was a continuation of resolution 303 (1V). But the Belgian proposal implied negotiations with a view to reaching agreements and hence there was a possibility of departure from the provisions of resolution 303 (1V).
The Swedish draft resolution, they held, did nor completely disregard the General Assembly's earlier resolutions, but provided for the application of the principles previously established as far as they were feasible. Moreover, it was a flexible proposal offering a provisional solution pending a final settlement. If the formula proved satisfactory it could be retained; if not, it would be possible to amend it in the light of experience. Furthermore, the amended Swedish draft resolution had the approval of Israel and Jordan.
The representative of Belgium stated that the Swedish proposal represented a functional solution which depended very largely on the good will of the States occupying Jerusalem and gave very limited powers to the United Nations Commissioner, who could exercise his functions only if peace prevailed in that area. In the absence of provisions for territorial status, which were contained in other proposals, and of an atmosphere of peace and understanding, it would be difficult for an official who had only moral authority and very limited resources to function efficiently in the City of Jerusalem or the Holy Places. A functional solution even more than a territorial one required a legal state of peace rather than a precarious armistice.
The Swedish proposal, he maintained, was weak in providing for a temporary solution which could be acceptable only if there were general guarantees that a limited objective could be attained. A different solution should therefore be sought. The Trusteeship Council had failed, but the failure did nor apply to the principle involved but rather to the method employed. The Trusteeship Council's work had been fruitless because the efforts necessary for implementation had not been made. The Belgian delegation was therefore of the opinion that the principle of a
corpus separatum should not be altered but that a new approach should be used.
Referring to the statement made by supporters of the Swedish draft resolution regarding concern for the wishes of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the representative of Belgium pointed out that the problem had been anticipated at the time of the decision in favour of internationalization and that the distinction in international public law between domicile and residence could be invoked in that case. Moreover the international character of the population itself was a factor in favour of internationalization.
The Belgian draft resolution was supported by the representatives of Brazil, Chile, China, El Salvador, France, Greece and the Philippines, among others. These representatives held that to give up the idea of internationalization in view of changed circumstances would be to accept a policy of
fait accompli. The draft resolution submitted by Sweden was tantamount to a retreat from the principle of internationalization and constituted a series of concessions to the points of view of Israel and Jordan. Just as it had maintained its position in regard to the independence and territorial integrity of Greece and to the question of Korea, the General Assembly should now firmly adhere to its position on Jerusalem.
The representative of the Soviet Union stated that a just solution must take into account the interests of the Jewish and Arab inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem. The resolutions adopted in 1947 and in 1949 had provided for the creation of a permanent international regime. It now appeared that the solution was satisfactory neither to the Arab nor to the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem. His Government therefore could not continue to support those resolutions of the General Assembly. Considering that both the draft resolutions before the Committee were unsatisfactory, the USSR delegation would abstain from voting on either of them.
At its 81st meeting on 13 December 1950, the Committee, on the motion of the representative of Chile, decided by 30 votes to 18, with 10 abstentions, to vote first on the Belgian draft resolution which was adopted by a roll-call vote of 30 to 18, with 11 abstentions.
On the motion of the representative of Lebanon, the Committee decided, by 25 votes to 18, with 12 abstentions, not to vote on the Swedish draft resolution. The text of the resolution recommended by the
Ad Hoc Political Committee follows:
The General Assembly,
that the world community has unique spiritual and religious interests in the Holy Land,
its resolutions 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, 194 (III) of 11 December 1948 and 303 (1V) of 9 December 1949,
the special report of the Trusteeship Council on the question of an international regime for the Jerusalem area and the protection of the Holy Places,
that, for lack of the necessary co-operation by the States concerned, the Trusteeship Council has been unable to give effect to the Statute which it had prepared, that a reconsideration of the question of the international protection of the Holy Places and of spiritual and religious interests in the Holy Land is therefore essential; and that new efforts must be made to settle the question in accordance with the principles already adopted by the General Assembly,
Instructs four persons, to be appointed by the Trusteeship Council, to study, in consultation with the Governments at present in de facto control of the Holy Places and with the other States, authorities and religious bodies concerned, the conditions of a settlement capable of ensuring the effective protection, under the supervision of the United Nations, of the Holy Places and of spiritual and religious interests in the Holy Land;
Invites them to report to the General Assembly at its sixth session;
Requests the States concerned to co-operate fully in giving effect to the present resolution;
Invites the Secretary-General to place at the disposal of these persons the staff and facilities necessary for the fulfilment of their task.
The report of the
Ad Hoc Political Committee (A/1724) containing the resolution recommended by it was voted upon by the General Assembly at its 326th plenary meeting on 15 December 1950, without a debate. The result of the vote was 30 in favour of the draft resolution, 18 against, and 9 abstentions. The draft resolution was not adopted, having failed to obtain the required two-thirds majority.
/ For previous consideration of the Palestine question, see Y.U.N., 1947-48, pp. 227-81, 403-51; 1948-49, pp. 166-212.
/ Security Council's 433rd meeting on 4 Aug. 1949.
/ See also p. 328.
/ For previous activities of the Commission see Y.U.N., 1948-49, pp.203-7; see also reports of the Commission A/819, A/838, A/927, A/1252, A/1255, A/1288.
/ For text, see Y.U.N., 1948-49, pp. 174-76.
/ For convenience, the Committee's discussion is dealt with under this heading; see pp. 328-34.
/ See pp. 335-41.
/ This resolution, which established the Conciliation Commission, stated m par. 11 that refugees wishing to return to their homes should be permitted to do so as soon as possible and that compensation by the Governments or authorities responsible should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for damage and loss of property The Conciliation Commission was instructed to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic ant social rehabilitation of refugees an] the payment of compensation to them.
/ See also pp. 321-23.
/ This Protocol declared: "The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, anxious to achieve as quickly as possible the objectives of the General Assembly resolution of 11 December 1948, regarding refugees, the respect for their rights and the preservation of their property, as well as territorial and other questions, has proposed to the delegations of the Arab States and to the delegation of Israel that the working document attached hereto be taken as a basis for discussions with the Commission.
"The interested delegations have accepted this proposal with, the understanding that the exchanges of views which will be carried on by the Commission with the two parties will bear upon the territorial adjust. menu necessary to the above-indicated objectives."
To this document was annexed a map on which were indicated the boundaries defined in the General Assembly resolution of 29 Nov. 1947. This map was taken as the basis of discussions with the Commission.
/ See p. 326.
/ See p. 329.
/ The Status Quo of 1757 was a Firman (edict) issued by the Sultan of Turkey conferring on certain religious bodies the right to manage the different Holy Places In Jerusalem.