Menu JTA Search

U.N. Conciliation Commission Releases Coprespondence Explaining Failure of Peace Talks

The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine today released an exchange of correcpondence between itself and the Arab states and between itself and Israel which led up to its decision to abandon for the time being attempts to bring about direct negotiations between the parties concerned in the Palestine issue.

The Commission’s failure led it to call off its meetings with representatives of both parties in Geneva yesterday and schedule a new set of talks in Jerusalem at the beginning of August. The exchange of notes is included as an annex to the commission’s progress report to U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie. On March 29, 1950, the Commission made specific proposals for the establishment of a new procedure combining direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab states in mixed committees with mediation by members of the three-nation commission.

The Arabs replied, stating that their representatives would sit in on mixed committee sessions if Israel agreed in advance to implement that part of the General Assembly resolution of December 11, 1948 dealing with the Palestine Arab refugees. Israel’s reply made no requests for concessions, and agreed in advance to negotiate a peace settlement directly with any Arab state that wished to.

At this point, the Commission decided on its own that the task of conciliation would not be furthered by communicating the Arab terms to the Jews. It addressed two more notes to both the Arab states and Israel, clarifying certain aspects of its proposal for a new precedure and setting forth in broad terms the principles which should govern direct negotiations. In particular, the commission pointed out that the principles laid down in the Assembly resolution “must be respected by all parties and one of them cannot be singled out for special recognition without impairing the equilibrium” of the resolution.

In subsequent replies the Arabs again indicated that their attitude had not changed. Transjordan, however, explained on June 26, 1950, that its refusal to begin direct negotiations was dictated by its solidarity with the other Arab states as well as by “want of evidence of goodwill on the part of Israel.” In the same letter, the Trans jordan representative added that if evidence of such goodwill were forthcoming “we would certainly be willing to reconsider the situation on the basis of safeguards for Arab rights, and bearing in mind the wishes of the Arab states.”

On the basis of these replies the Commission decided to call off the meetings here and wait a while before making a new attempt at settling the Palestine war.

NEXT STORY