U.N. Assembly Hears Israel on Jerusalem; Internationalization of Entire City Rejected
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U.N. Assembly Hears Israel on Jerusalem; Internationalization of Entire City Rejected

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Aubrey S. Eban, Israel’s permanent delegate to the United Nations, in his first speech to the General Assembly this session, today revealed that his government will propose that the Assembly limit the United Nations commitment in relation to Jerusalem to safeguarding the Holy Places and initiating such formal agreements with the state of Israel as may be necessary for the implementation of these safeguards. “My government aspires to full international recognition for the political status of the Government of Israel in Jerusalem,” he added.

Explaining Israel’s reasons for its position he declared: “A solution along these lines would have the following advantages over that proposed by the U.N. Conciliation Commission: it would rest on consent and therefore present no problem of implementation or enforcement; it would terminate the period of doubt and potential conflict that has already lasted too long: it would be financially and administratively feasible; and it would simultaneously give complete satisfaction to the interests of the great world religions and of the people of Jerusalem. In these conditions, an era of peace and development would descend upon the Holy City while the United Nations would stand forth as the ultimate and accepted guarantor of its religious immunity.”

Mr. Eban also criticized the progress report submitted by the U.N. Palestine Conciliation Commission. He quoted from the Commission’s early statements to the effect that it would attempt to achieve a result in conformity with its instructions from the Assembly and one which would at the same time be acceptable to both parties. But, he stressed, the Commission has since come up with a plan for the internationalization of Jerusalem which has never been discussed with the Government of Israel. “Nor was it at any time the subject of negotiation with representatives of the population of Jerusalem,” he continued.


Also criticizing the Commission’s proposal for the demilitarization of Jerusalem, he charged that it has failed to take two facts into account. Firstly, he insisted, the removal of both Jewish and Arab armed forces from the city would once again leave the city to the mercy of Arab forces which surround it on three sides and which once before almost caused the downfall of Jewish Jerusalem. Secondly, he stated, such a proposal would violate the armistice agreement which “exclusively governs the security situation in the whole Jerusalem area, including the disposition and reduced size of armed forces.”

Recalling a public announcement by President Weizmann made earlier this year which offered to insure full security for all religious institutions and to grant supervision of the Holy Places to the U.N., Mr. Eban pointed out that Israel had expected in return that the international community would recognize the responsibility of Israel in the administration of Jewish Jerusalem.

Discussing the refugee problem, Israel’s representative noted that not a single one of the Arab states themselves had undertaken any responsibility for a solution. He declared that Israel had decided to contribute to the U.N. relief fund for the refugees, to reunite Arab families separated by war, and to undertake a measure of repatriation as part of a regional program of resettlement. He said these offers came from Israel before any Arab state had taken on any commensurate responsibility. He also announced that Israel is preparing to cooperate closely with the U.N. survey group in its attempt to work out a short and a long range solution for the Arabs.

The representative of Israel began his address by paying high tribute to the United Nations for many achievements, one of which, he pointed out, was its endorsement of the armistice agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors. He also declared: “I pledge my government to continue with zeal and perseverance its efforts” to reach a final settlement in Palestine.


Dr. Charles Malik of Lebanon drew a grim picture before the Assembly of the prospect of war again in Palestine. He said that there can be no guarantee that Jerusalem would not “be perhaps altogether destroyed, if the Palestine Conciliation Commission plan for internationalization of Jerusalem is not carried through by the Assembly.”

Any plan which concerns itself only with the internationalization of specific sites within Jerusalem “is not consistent with the intention of this Assembly in previous resolutions or with the wishes and interests of the three world religions,” Dr. Malik told the Assembly. “There can be no safety or security for the Holy Places within Jerusalem,” he added, “unless the whole city is removed from the sovereignty of either party now occupying it.”

The Lebanese delegate expressed the view that this session of the General Assembly might after the last occasion “to remove Jerusalem permanently from the danger of further damage or destruction, and to satisfy the deepest desires of the Christian world, as expressed repeatedly in recent months by His Holiness, the Pope.”

British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, who spoke at the Assembly late today, following Mr. Eban, omitted all reference to the Palestine situation.

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