U.N. Body to Consider Today Israel-backed Swedish Plan for Jerusalem’s Holy Places
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U.N. Body to Consider Today Israel-backed Swedish Plan for Jerusalem’s Holy Places

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Consideration of a Swedish proposal introduced in the United Nations Special Political Committee and calling for internationalization only of the Holy Places in Jerusalem will be resumed here tomorrow.

The Swedish plan, which has received the expressed support of the Netherlands and Britain, as well as of Israel, is a reversal of last year’s U.N. General Assembly rsolution which proposed full internationalization of Jerusalem and which has been pitterly opposed by both the Israelis and Arabs.

Israel Ambassador Abba S. Eban told the Committee that under the Swedish plan, Jerusalem would become the first place in the world where the United Nations would be continuously represented for the purpose of carrying out prescribed functions on shalf of the spiritual interest of the international community.”

Mr. Eban noted the extent of Israel’s cooperation with Roman Catholic Holy Year pilgrims in recent months and observed: “It may well be that full security for the Holy Places could be maintained and developed without the institution of any special regime.” Here Mr. Eban was in agreement with Ahmad Bey Touqan of Jordan, who contended that the Holy Places were safe, that free access was assured and that discrimination did not exist. Touqan Bey told the committee that Jordan opposed the internationalization of Jerusalem in any form.

Charles Malik, of Lebanon, denouncing the Swedish proposal, blamed the United States, Britain and France for the failure of last year’s General Assembly decision. He argued that they should have applied pressure upon both Israel and Jordan. “The only thing we can really do this year is to reaffirm very strongly the principle of internationalization,” declared Dr. Malik. “We must take more effective steps for its implementation and keep on doing so until Israel and Jordan accept it.”

The Swedish proposal would call upon Jordan and Israel to respect the rights, immunities and privileges of religious denominations and bodies as they existed on May 14, 1948; accept United Nations supervision over and freedom of access to the Holy Places, and reduce their armed forces within Jerusalem to normal peace-time strength. A United Nations commissioner, supported by a panel of impartial advisers, would be appointed for a three-year term.

(The New York Times, in an editorial expressing support for the Swedish proposal, declared: “A new effort will be made to arrive at a solution that will give complete protection to the Holy Places without cutting the heart out of the two conntries in which they are located. By revising its decision of last year and by providing for international protection of the sacred sites without establishing an international political enclave, the General Assembly can take a long stride toward restoring equilibrium in a highly explosive area of the Near East.”)

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