Israel Asks U.N. to Reject Jerusalem Internationalization; Proposes Holy Places Pact
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Israel Asks U.N. to Reject Jerusalem Internationalization; Proposes Holy Places Pact

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The delegation of Israel today called upon the U.N. General Assembly to reject as “unjust and unrealistic” the Palestine Conciliation Commission’s plan to internationalize the Jerusalem area. At the same time Israel offered to enter into international agreements with the United Nations to ensure the safety and immunity of the Holy Places in Jerusalem and to guarantee religious rights, with U.N. representation for that purpose.

The delegation submitted a 35-page section-by-section analysis of the Commission’s draft instrument to the Ad Hoc Political Committee, which is scheduled to begin discussions on the future of Jerusalem shortly. The Commission’s view that the plan does not affect the existing governmental authority of Israel over the Jewish area of Jerusalem is rejected, the memorandum asserted, adding that under the plan the Israel Government would not retain in Jewish Jerusalem “a fraction of the normal functions and authority which any ordinary government exercises in any area under it jurisdiction.” The memorandum contends that the plan would:

1. Violate the fundamental freedoms of the people by separating them from their chosen government, subordinating them to unelected organs and breaking the organic connection between Israel and the new city of Jerusalem.

2. Disrupt the administrative authority of the Israel Government through the powers allotted to the U.N. Commissioner and the General Council, paralyzing measures for administration and development to the point of impotency.

3. Destroy the dignity and authority of Israel’s courts which would lose wide areas of jurisdiction and become entangled in endless conflicts with United Nations sponsored courts in an “anarchy of litigation”–with the Israel Government to become “the policeman of the very courts established to destroy its own jurisdiction.”

4. Subject every Israel law and act to the comprehensive veto of the United Nations Commissioner and the General Council.

5. Reduce the Jews of Jerusalem, a majority of the population, to a minority of five among 14 in the General Council, thus losing control of vital matters which they already exclusively govern.

6. Deprive Israel of governmental authority while leaving Israel to assume all governmental burdens and economic and budgetary costs and responsibilities.

7. Restrict Jewish immigration into Jerusalem–“an invidious” proposal which “has provoked the profound indignation of Israel and the Jewish people.”

8. Limit the number of central Israel institutions in the city and thus “impose an economic decline by decree and relegate Jerusalem to the status of a languishing borough.”

9. Manufacture a conflict of duty in which a citizen of Israel in Jerusalem might be faced with obligations not approved by his own government.

10. Expose the Jews of Jerusalem to attack from Arab forces situated in unrestricted numbers on three sides of the city–the effect of the demilitarization proposal.

11. Cancel the Israel-Jordan armistice agreement, achieved by former acting mediator Ralph Bunche, thus denying Israel’s freedom to maintain its international agreement or to change them by mutual consent.

The Israel delegation expressed the hope that the General Assembly “will turn away completely from the vista of entangled responsibilities, discontent and constitutional conflict” opened up by the U.N. Conciliation Commission internationalization plan and “embark upon a more simple and effective effort to harmonize the recognized interests of the United Nations with the legitimate realities of Jerusalem today.”


Stating that this was the first time in history that a government in control of part of Jerusalem had offered to bind itself by international agreements accepting the principle of international supervision of Holy Places, the delegation put forward the following main principles for a solution, so far as the Jewish area is concerned:

1. The United Nations would limit its commitment to the safeguarding of Holy Places and the obtaining of guarantees for religious rights.

2. The General Assembly would initiate such formal agreements as may be necessary between the United Nations and the state of Israel for the implementation of such safeguards.

3. Under such an agreement, should the United Nations wish to be represented in the area, then it should be by a representative whose functions should be exclusively defined in terms of 1, and not by a commission with any executive authority.

4. Any such agreement should be so drafted as not to conflict with existing government or municipal jurisdiction or with valid security agreements effective in Jewish Jerusalem.

The Israel delegation contended that the idea of a separate political existence for Jerusalem, isolated from the life and sentiment of its environment, as envisaged in the Conciliation Commission’s plan, had been clearly invalidated by experience. It pointed out that on the one hand, the General Assembly is faced by a plan enjoying neither the prospect of consent nor the possibility of implementation, while, on the other hand, there is the opportunity of a harmonious and agreed solution. “conducive to the dignity of the United Nations and the peace of Jerusalem.”

Nearly all the Holy Places are outside the Jewish area and this fact makes the proposed instrument especially untenable so far as it affects the Jewish area, the statement said, adding: “If there is any area in which religious interests predominate so irresistibly over modern political and secular realities as to justify an attempt at direct United Nations control, that area would be the Old City alone, for the Old City is primarily a concentration of Holy Places and religious institutions and not an area of developed modern life,” the memorandum said.


Reviewing Jerusalem’s history since the General Assembly partition resolution, the memorandum asserted that there is no legal basis for United Nations sovereignty in Jerusalem today because, prevented by Arab insurrection both in the field of battle and at Lake Success, the United Nations was never able to assume the authority envisaged in the Nov. 29, 1947, resolution. It failed to adopt and carry out the trusteeship statute for international rule, The Mandate expired on May 14, 1948, without succession by the United Nations to legal or effective control.

As a result, the United Nations does not now possess any legal authority over Jerusalem, the delegation pointed out. Thus the plan contains “the evident absurdity whereby a new political organ springs into existence and delegates powers to those already fully exercising them, the document asserts.

The Israel delegation also took the view that since it is a government that is the responsible authority in Jewish Jerusalem today, any provision for direct United Nations activity in that area should now be expressed in an agreement with that government and not in a unilateral declaration.

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