Sweden Circuiates Proposal on Jerusalem; Wants U.N. High Commissioner for Holy Places

Sweden today circulated the draft of its resolution for the establishment of an international regime for the Holy Places of Jerusalem, thus presenting its views officially on the eve of the expected discussion of the status of Jerusalem at the U.N. Special Political Committee. It is understood that Israel and Jordan are inclined to accept the Swedish proposal.

The Swedish draft is known to be supported by Canada and The Netherlands,although the latter has withdrawn from sponsorship of this document, appearently under Vatican pressure. The Swedish resolution proposes to establish a High Commissioner for the protection of and free access to the Holy Places. The Commissioner would be appointed for three years by the U.N. Security Council, but his annual report would be made to the General Assembly. His headquarters would be in the Government House in Jerusalem.

Under the resolution, the Commissioner, assisted by a deputy Commissioner appointed in the same way, would make arrangements with the governments concerned for implementation of the provisions of the resolution. The resolution contains a provision for the gradual reduction of Israel and Jordan armed forces “in conformity with Article VII of the general armistice agreement,” and this reduction is to reach normal peacetime requirements not later than three months after the coming into effect of a peace settlement between the two states. Any disputes under this provision would be referred to the Security Council.

The resolution also empowers the Commissioner to request either government to “modify, defer or suspend” any laws or regulations which in his opinion impair protection of and free access to the Holy Places. There would be a panel of advisers consisting of representatives nominated by the religious denominations and governments concerned.

The resolution provides for an arbitration tribunal, whose members would be appointed by Jordan, Israel and the U.N., to settle disputes, and its decisions would be binding. “Nothing herein shall apply to purely Moslem Holy Places within the territory of Jordan or to purely Jewish Holy Places within territory controlled by Israel,” the resolution concludes.

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