Debate on Palestine Ends in U.N. Political Committee; Britain Revises Own Proposal
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Debate on Palestine Ends in U.N. Political Committee; Britain Revises Own Proposal

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The general debate on the Palestine question at the Political Committee of the U.N. General Assembly ended today following the introduction of several changes in the British resolution calling for the formation of a conciliation commission to arrive at a solution of the problem, and the submission of resolutions by the U.S.S.R. and Poland.

Before the debate closed, the 58-member Committee heard acting mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche present a seven-point program for U.N. action on Israel, including international recognition of the Jewish state and its admission to the U.N. The Committee will meet tomorrow to discuss procedure in handling the various resolutions and amendments on the problem offered by Britain, U.S., Australia, Colombia, Guatemala, Poland and the U.S.S.R.

British Secretary of State Hector MoNeil today offered changes to his own resolution of last week. He proposed that a conciliation commission, envisioned in the original resolution, be instructed to consider both the original U.N. partition decision and the Bernadotte plan when it seeks a solution of the issue. He disputed statements by Israeli representatives Aubrey Eban and Moshe Shertok on the right of the Jews to territory in Galilee and elsewhere. McNeil also backed the internationalization of all Jerusalem, not just the Old City.

Defining Britain’s objectives in offering a revised resolution, McNeil said: “Our object is to establish that the conciliation commission is authorized to represent in Palestine the authority and clearly expressed will of the Assembly to use its good offices with the parties, and on that basis to play an effective part in bringing about a final peace which we all so ardently desire to see between the Arabs and Jews.”

He criticized an Australian resolution to leave to negotiations the major points at issue between the belligerents. Asserting that dependence on the Arabs and Jews reaching an agreement through negotiations was “unrealistic,” the Briton insisted that such negotiations would never begin.


Before McNeil took the floor, the Soviet delegate introduced a resolution demanding the complete withdrawal of all foreign troops from Israel and the Arab part of Palestine soil hindered the normal development of Israel and the independent Arab state foreseen in the partition resolution of last November 29.

The Polish delegate, announcing that on the whole the Australian resolution was satisfactory to his government, offered a substitute resolution in order to incorporate several points which he found lacking in the Australian proposal. This proposal made it clear that only the partition resolution of last year shall serve as the basis for a final solution; that an independent Arab state be established and bound to Israel by economic ties as previously decided by the U.N. The Polish resolution also called for the internationalization of Jerusalem.


Dr. Bunche’s seven-point program for U.N. action on Palestine urged: 1. Affirmation of the existence of the state of Israel and the right of Israel to membership in the U.N.; 2. Issuance of a call to both the Jews and Arabs to resolve their differences by direct negotiation or through the U.N.; 3. Give the conciliation commission “clear guidance.”

4. Give the disputants the strongest international guarantees for their boundaries, which should be subject to modification only by mutual consent; 5. Instruct the commission to assist both parties in direct negotiations; 6. Affirm the right of Palestine refugees to return to their homes or be compensated for their losses; and, 7. Determine the future of Jerusalem by granting it special international status, with local autonomy for Jewish and Arab communities in the Holy City.

The acting U.N. mediator declared that he was firmly convinced that both parties are now closer to each other than when the late Count Folks Bernadotte began his task of mediation. Bunche said that the question of immigration to Israel is settled. He added that of the remaining unresolved problems, the most difficult is that of boundaries. Warning that the truce in Palestine would not hold out much longer, Bunche stated that the Arab response to the Security Council’s armistice order is “regrettably lacking.”


Commenting on the British resolution, an Israeli spokesman tonight declared that it is “an indirect attempt to secure the adoption of the Bernadotte plan for mutilating Israel.” The spokesman asserted that the British opposition to the Australian proposal for negotiations pointed up the fact that the British resolution would kill all hope of negotiations by vesting in the conciliation committee authority to press for the Bernadotte recommendations as a substitute for the partition decision of last November.

The United States amendments fail to block this attempt, the spokesman continued. Neither the British nor the U.S. amendments reflect the positive elements of U.S. policy as presented by American delegate Philip Jessup last week in a speech to the Political Committee, and which affirmed Israel’s existence and its right to membership in the U.N. as well as the binding force of last November’s partition decision, the Israeli declared. He also pointed out that the guarantee that no Israeli territory would be removed without the consent of the Jews was not to be found in the draft or the American amendments.

He underlined that the Australian and Polish drafts which summon the parties to negotiate are a call for an early peace, while the British-American resolution seeks a new solution. The spokesman pointed out that the British resolution places the Bernadotte plan and the partition decision on an equal plane, although the former never obtained the support of the majority of the General Assembly. He also said that the conciliation commission established under the Anglo-American draft would derive its authority from the Security Council.

Finally, the Israeli stated that the commission as set up would not be a conciliation body but an administrative group, inasmuch as it would have to insure access to Jerusalem and repatriation of Arab refugees before the termination of the war. The resolution, he declared, prejudges the issue and blocks the path of conciliation and negotiations.

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