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U.N. Commission Defends Its Proposals on Control of Jerusalem; Clarifies Its Views

In an unusual move, the U.N. Conciliation Commission for Palestine today released a statement defending its plan to establish a U.N. control organ for Jerusalem and seeking to allay fears, frequently expressed by Israel, that the plan would separate the city from the political life and authority of the “adjoining states.”

The statement, forecast last week by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, admittedly resulted from the pressure of growing dissatisfaction with the Commission’s blueprint of Jerusalem’s future and was seen as a last-minute effort to mollify the critics before debate on the measure is launched shortly in the General Assembly’s Special Political Committee.

The Commission’s proposals, the statement says, have “given rise to a considerable number of critical comments and observations apparently based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the spirit and letter of the plan. The Commission, therefore, believes it desirable at this time to point out some of these misconceptions” and to outline the character of the proposals made.

Taking special pains to point out that the plan does not impose any overall political regime or denies the right of self-government, the statement declares that the purpose of the plan is “to bridge the gap between what in fact will be two separate jurisdictions in an otherwise geographically unified area.”

INHABITANTS OF JEWISH PART OF JERUSALEM TO RETAIN THEIR ISRAEL RIGHTS

But the plan, says the Commission statement, “leaves to the governments of the adjoining states virtually all normal powers of government within the Arab and Jewish parts of Jerusalem.” According to the plan, it is stated, the inhabitants of the area retain their present nationality and continue to enjoy all the rights and duties entailed in such nationality–their right to vote and hold public office and their duty to conform to national laws and to submit to the jurisdiction of national courts.

The proposals for the establishment of a general council in the plan “do not provide for a legislative body or for a U.N. substitute for the municipal government of the area, ” the statement asserts, but contemplate “only the establishment of an organ of coordination for matters of common interest to the two parts of the city which would in practice have only advisory and consultative functions with the Arab and Jewish authorities.”

The proposed International Tribunal would have a similar status, the statement adds, and it is emphasized that these organs are the only machinery for international control suggested in the Commission’s plans.

The statement also declares that replies to a Commission questionnaire by Israel and Arab delegations during the deliberations at Lausanne last summer were “largely the basis for the plan as finally submitted.”

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