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U.S. Proposes Direct Israeli-arab Negotiations; Urges Creation of U.N. Conciliation Body

The United States today presented to the U.N. Political Committee number of amendments aimed at coordinating the British-supported Bernadotte proposals for Palestine with the original U.N. General Assembly partition resolution of last Nov. 29, favored by the American Government.

The U.S. amendments, as presented by Dr. Phillip C. Jessup, called for the appointment of a three-nation conciliation commission to replace the U.N. Palestine mediator and to take over his duties after the implementation of the Nov. 16 resolution adopted by the Security Council ordering an armistice between the Jews and Arabs.

The amendments stress the importance of direct Israeli-Arab negotiations and definitely remove the boundary principles recommended by the late U.N. Palestine mediator Count Folke Bernadotte–which would deprive Israel of the Negev–as the sole term of reference for the three-nation conciliation commission.

The internationalization of Jerusalem is strongly urged in the U.S. amendments. They empower the conciliation commission to appoint a U.N. commissioner for Jerusalem and also urge the commission to submit to the next session of the General Assembly definite proposals for a permanent regime of the Jerusalem area.

With regard to the Palestine refugees, the American amendments establish two categories–those wishing to return to their former homes and those unwilling to do so . The latter, according to the U.S. amendments, are to receive adequate compensation to be fixed by a claims commission. The U.N. conciliation body should “facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the Arab refugees and the payment of compensation,” the amendment stated.

CONCILIATION COMMISSION WOULD DISCUSS ARAB-ISRAEL FRONTIERS

Under the terms of the American recommendations, the U.N. conciliation body is to consult the governments involved on the question of Israel’s frontiers. The American proposal points out that there are important elements to both the partition decision and the Bernadotte recommendations and that the frontier modifications suggested in the Bernadotte report should be considered by the commission “so for as they may contribute to the peaceful adjustment of difficulties between the parties.” At the same time, the American amendments emphasize that these considerations are, however, to be taken by the commission into account “without excluding any territorial settlement mutually acceptable” to the disputants.

The American amendments specify that the three-nation commission which would assume the functions of the U.N. mediator should carry out the functions and directives given to the mediator by the General Assembly and such additional directives as may be given either by the Assembly or the Security Council. At the request of the Security Council, the tri-nation body would carry out functions presently assigned to the mediator or to the truce commission, which would terminate simultaneously with the mediator’s office.

The U.S. amendments created a general feeling of confusion at the Palais de Chaillot. They were interpreted as indicating that the American delegation to the U.N. is still riding two horses–trying to appear as not deviating too far from President Truman’s directive, while at the same time trying to conform the American policy on Palestine with that of the British.

ISRAELI CIRCLES COOL TO U.S. AMENDMENTS; PREFER AUSTRALIAN RESOLUTION

The initial reaction in Israeli circles here was that a resolution proposed earlier today by the today by the Australian delegation is preferable to the U.S. amendments. The Israelis emphasize that while the Australian resolution clearly speaks of the fact that the Jewish state is entitled to membership in the United Nations, the U.S. amendments omit any reference to this subject.

Israeli opinion here also noted the fact that the Australian version is closer to the concepts of true conciliation than the American recommendations which, they said, prejudge the issue by giving equal weight to the partition decision of the General Assembly and the Bernadotte proposals.

The Australian resolution urged adherence to the U.N General Assembly’s Nov.29, 1947, partition decision under which the Negev was given to the Jews. The resolution also requested the Security Council to give “sympathetic consideration” Israel’s membership application in the United Nation and that the U.N. should assist “the interested parties” to enter immediately into urgent negotiations for a permanent settlement of the Palestine question.

The Australian resolution also recommended that: 1. A five-member conciliation commission be appointed by the United Nations to draw up the final boundaries of Israel. In case of failure, the commission should report to the General Assembly for a final decision by that body. 2. All governments and parties concerned as well as the U.N. Trusteeship Council should be consulted on the question of protection for the Holy Places in Jerusalem in conformity with the principles of the U.N. partition plan which provides for the internationalization of Jerusalem.

EGYPT THREATENS TO QUIT U.N. IF ISRAEL IS ADMITTED TO MEMBERSHIP

Aubrey S. Eben, Israeli spokesman at the U.N., told the Political Committee that it was impossible to support the U.N. partition resolution and also the Bernadotte report, which seeks to detach two-thirds of Israeli territory, assigned under the Nov. 29 resolution, he added, “whether Israel likes it or not.”

On the other hand, he wont on, the U.S. statement holds that no changes in the territory of the November resolution can be made without the consent of Israel. Ehan said that although British Minister of Stats Hector McNeil had described the Negev as a useless desert, the Jews do not see that this is sufficient reason to detach it from Israel. Not only the agricultural value of the Negev, under irrigation, attracts the Jews, but also its value in terms of minerals and access to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, he stated. Eben charged further that McNeil misrepresented the nature of the Israeli claim to Western Galilee.

Earlier, the Egyptian delegate, at a meeting of the U.N. ad Hoc Political Committees, which was considering applications for membership to the United Nations, threatened that his country would walk out of the U.N. if Israel were admitted to membership.

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