Political Committee Starts Voting on Palestine; Defeats Pro-israeli Amendment
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Political Committee Starts Voting on Palestine; Defeats Pro-israeli Amendment

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After three weeks of debate, the U.N. Political committee tonight began its marathon vote on the 102 paragraphs and amendments of the British resolution on Palestine, After on hour, only four paragraphs, largely preamble in nature, had been voted, The committee then adjourned until tomorrow morning.

Prior to its adjournment, the committee voted on a test amendment proposed by Australia and favored by Israel. This amendment endorsed the original U.N. partition resolution, recognized the living reality of a Jewish state, and requested the Security Council to give favorable consideration to Israel’s application for membership in the United Nations.

The representative of Australia asked that the vote on this amendment be taken by a roll call, whereupon U.S. delegate Dean Rusk announced that his delegation would abstain on this vote. The Australian delegate then withdrew the section asking for admission of Israel to the United Nations. The amendment was nevertheless defeated by a vote of 24-13, with 12 abstentions. The United States and France were among the nations abstaining.

A Syrian amendment urging that the entire Palestine issue be turned over to the International Court of Justice was defeated by 21 to 12. No points of substance in the British resolution have been voted upon as yet.

The decision on voting on the British proposal was made today after the defeat, by the narrow margin of 16-15, of an Australian proposal to create a drafting sub-committee to coordinate the various resolutions on Palestine before the Political Committee. The Australian defeat, which greatly strengthened the hand of the Angle-American bloc, came after a split in the East European bloc, the Soviet Union, the Ukraine and Yugoslavia abstaining, and Byelorussia, Poland and Czechoslovakia voting for the Australian move.


Early today, the American delegation, in the person of Dean Rusk, announced that it was withdrawing all its amendments to the British resolution because it was now satisfied with the present British draft. Rusk also asked speedy Assembly action on the British resolution. Rusk was followed by British Harold Beeley who denied that his government wished to give equal weight to the Bernadotte report and the partition decision in considering a final settlement. He insisted that the Assembly must decide the relative weighting in the conciliation commission’s terms of reference.

During an early discussion on boundaries, Israeli representative Aubrey S. Eban said that Israel claims full sovereignty over all the territory assigned it in last year’s partition decision, while it considers that the territory outside of Israel which the Jews now hold as a result of Arab aggression should be the subject of negotiations. Eban called for the defeat of the British resolution, even in its revised form. Israel, he declared, favors the Australian and Polish plans. He termed a misinterpretation the assertion in the British resolution that there are common territorial elements in the partition decision and the Bernadotte plan.

At another point in the debate, after various Arab states attacked Israel’s filling of an application for membership in the U.N., Eban pointed out that the issue of the application should not be confused with the general debate on a final Palestine solution. He insisted that the Assembly was committed by its resolution of Nov. 29, 1947 to sympathetic consideration of Israel’s membership application.

Eban stated that the country had fulfilled all the U.N. Charter requirements for membership. He pointed out that accusations of non-compliance came from Syria and Iran, insisting that the accusation was disqualified by the nature of the accuser. Finally, he pointed to the fact that Israel alone had given a positive response to the Security Council armistice resolution of November 16.


Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok presented his government’s viewpoint on the British proposal for internationalizing the city of Jerusalem, protection of the Holy Places, the fate of the area of Palestine assigned to the Arabs under the partition decision of Nov. 29, 1947 and the Arab refugee problem.

Speaking at the afternoon session, Shertok insisted that Israel could see no justification for departing from the Assembly’s original partition decision, thus giving the Arab part of the country to Transjordan. There is no justification, he added, for making territorial awards to aggressors, and the insertion of this provision in an Assembly resolution would prejudice the issue.

Turning to the question of Jerusalem, Shertok said that the Israeli Government understands the desire for internationalization of the city, but, he said, a year has passed and the experiences of that period cannot be ignored. It is safe to assume, the Israeli Minister declared, that a similar crisis will develop with the U.N. failing to assert its authority over the city.

Recalling that the well-being of a large number of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is at stake, he said reliance cannot be placed on abstract principles. A military force is indispensable for the safety of the Jews of Jerusalem, he emphasized, asking in what manner the United Nations is equipped to ensure the lives of the inhabitants of the city.

Continuing his arguments against the internationalization of Jerusalem, the Israeli Foreign Minister pointed out that the Jews of Jerusalem are an organic, inseparable part of the Jewish community of Israel. The solution of the Palestine question should, therefore, provide for maintenance of this organic link and for a territorial continuity between the Jewish part of Jerusalem and the rest of Israel.

This did not preclude the principle of international custody of the Holy Places, he claimed. Israel not only accepts but ardently desires to see this principle implemented, Shertok declared, suggesting that the old city of Jerusalem be controlled by such an international regime, which might possibly also include some shrines outside the old city walls.

He expressed anxiety over the fact that the British resolution would give the projected conciliation commission administrative functions over Jerusalem and the Holy places. The whole success of the conciliation commission depended on its being a truly conciliatory body, he stressed.

Israel’s prospects of early admission to the U.N. receded considerably today. The outright supporters of Israeli admission were thinned affectively with Canada’s decision to wait for the vote of the General Assembly on the resolution of the U.N. Political and Security committee before voting on the admission of the new states.

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