Israel Submits New Plan for Control of Jerusalem Holy Places to U.N. Body
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Israel Submits New Plan for Control of Jerusalem Holy Places to U.N. Body

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In a new plan for solving the Jerusalem deadlock, the Government of Israel today proposed that the United Nations adopt and implement a Statute empowering a United Nations authority to take effective control of Jerusalem’s Holy Places and all other related matters of universal religious concern.

In a formal memorandum submitted by Autbrey S. Eban, permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations, to Roger Garreau, president of the Trusteeship Council, the Israel Government rejected the Statute drawn up by the Trusteeship Council in Geneva on the grounds that “the consent of the people of Jerusalem is indispensable to the effective functioning of the city’s institutions” and that “religious peace cannot be secured by political suppression.” The main lines of the plan proposed by the Israel Government follow:

1. A Statute should be adopted whereby the rights of the United Nations in respect of the Holy Places in Jerusalem would be derived directly from the General Assembly and accepted by all parties concerned. The authority of the United Nations in the Holy Places would thus take statutory form and not depend upon a contractual agreement, as in the Israel plan submitted to the Fourth Session.

2. There should be appointed a United Nations representative, or such other organ as may be found appropriate, for the discharge on behalf of the United Nations of the functions prescribed regarding the Holy Places in Jerusalem. This representative or organ should constitute an independent authority deriving its powers solely and exclusively from the General Assembly itself and exercising those functions in the international right without dependence on any individual government or accreditation thereto.

3. The United Nations representative thus appointed–or the United Nations organ thus set up–should carry out the following main functions in respect of the Holy Places in Jerusalem: supervision of their protection; adjudication of disputes between communities as to their rights in the Holy Places; the maintenance of existing rights in connection with the Holy Places; the initiation of their repairs; assurance of their exemption from taxation; questions relating to the maintenance of free access subject to the requirements of public order; facilitation of pilgrimage movement; issuing of reports to the appropriate United Nations organs on all the abov matters.

4. Apart from their statutory sphere of authority concerning the Holy Places in Jerusalem, the United Nations representative or organ could negotiate agreements with both governments concerned, in conformity with the resolutions of the General Assembly, for the protection of Holy Places located outside the City of Jerusalem. The United Nations representative or organ could also negotiate, if required, on behalf of any Church organization submitting views or claims with respect to religious buildings, institutions or property.

Under the new Israel plan, the two governments in Jerusalem would give voluntary undertakings pledging themselves to observe human rights and fundamental freedoms; respect the immunity and sanctity of the Holy Places, guarantee free access; facilitate movements of pilgrimages, observe and maintain all the existing rights of Churches and religious foundations, levy no tax in respect of any Holy Place exempt on May 14, 1948, and cooperate fully with the United Nations authority. These pledges would supplement the functions given to the United Nations authority under the new Statute.

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