U.N. Security Council Orders Arabs and Israel to Negotiate an Armistice in Palestine
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U.N. Security Council Orders Arabs and Israel to Negotiate an Armistice in Palestine

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The United Nations Security Council, after a lengthy debate, today adopted a joint Canadian-French-Belgian resolution ordering immediate negotiations between Jews and Arabs in Palestine for the establishment of an armistice to replace the present truce. The voting was conducted paragraph by paragraph and the vote on the crucial section was eight in favor, Syria against and the U.S.S.R. and the Ukraine abstaining.

Last minute attempts by Syria to delay the balloting for 24 hours and by the U.S.S.R. to replace the resolution with the substance of acting mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche’s proposals for direct negotiations were defeated. Also turned down was a Syrian proposal for extension of the sanctions resolution to Galileo. This amendment received the support of Syria, China and Belgium.

Dr. Bunche, who spoke briefly before the vote, mentioned the necessity of replacing the truce with something more permanent, and said that the joint resolution incorporated his main thoughts. He thought the resolution could be strengthened by naming a specific date for the armistice to go into effect, but that even without it the resolution should lead to peace providing there is “the indispensable minimum of good faith and reason on both aides.”


Prior to the vote, Israeli representative Aubrey Eban voiced objections to a number of points contained in the resolution including the fact that if attempts are made to carry out the terms of the Council’s sanctions resolution as well as this one, the benefits of the Canadian plan will be nullified. He pointed out that in effect the Canadian proposal was merely an extension of the truce which both the mediator and the sponsors of the resolution agreed had outlived its usefulness.

In a request for clarification, he asked whether laying down demarcation lines meant merely separating Arab and Jewish armies according to normal war procedures or the creation of the large vacuum proposed in the truce resolution. He also pointed out that the Canadian armistice resolution made no mention of demilitarized zones.

He asked for further clarification of the section which calls for withdrawal and reduction of forces by both parties. Stating that Israeli forces cannot be expected to withdraw from Israel, he pointed out that this phrase of the resolution could be interpreted as the withdrawal of outside Arab forces and the reduction of Israeli forces. Finally, he asserted that any such arrangement was by its nature temporary and must provide for a transition to peace. He therefore suggested that the ultimate object of peace should be mentioned in the resolution.

Egypt, Syria and Lebanon voiced their opposition in the Council chamber. The Lebanese delegate, whose position summed up that of the other Arabs, said that they would not sit down to negotiate with the Israelis because this would endow the Jews with a sovereignty which they do not possess. He accused the Jews of continually violating the truce, while the only Arab who broke the truce were “resistance elements which are bound to spring up in every country under occupation.” These elements, he insisted, had not been aided by the regular Arab armies.

In a short reply to the Lebanese, Eban admitted that in the course of fighting the Jews had crossed the Lebanese frontier. However, he pointed out, this is not part of Israel’s policy and therefore Israeli commanders have refused to occupy villages further inland which requested Israeli occupation.

The representatives of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon made much the same points in the Political Committee today as they had in the Security Council. That body adjourned in the midst of a speech by one of the Arab spokesmen and will meet again tomorrow.

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