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U.S. Reported Favoring Reactivation of U.N. Palestine Commission

December 4, 1959
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The United States delegation here still favors reactivation of the Palestine Conciliation Commission as an instrument for dealing with the Arab refugee problem, it appeared today. Israel is not in favor of such reactivation.

Indonesia and Pakistan, which have co-sponsored a draft resolution dealing with the Arab refugee problem, were seen here today as likely to revise their own draft so as to provide for reactivation of the PCC as desired by the U.S. delegation.

A move by Ahmad Shukairy, head of Saudi Arabia’s delegation here, to inject a discussion of Israel’s right to freedom of passage through the Gulf of Akaba was effectively sunk today in the General Assembly’s Legal Committee.

The Committee had before it an item proposing a study of “Juridical Regime of Historic Waters Including Historic Bays.” Mr. Shukairy utilized his right to debate that proposal and delivered a long speech claiming that the Gulf of Akaba was an Arab Sea. He denied Israel’s right to use the Gulf.

Today a resolution sponsored by five of the 82 members in the Committee suggested disposal of the item by referring it to the International Law Commission with a recommendation that the ILC handle the matter of historic waters “as it deems appropriate.” The delegations co-sponsoring the resolution are the representatives of Greece, Mexico, Chile, Japan and Liberia. Contrary to Mr. Shukairy’s suggestion for urgent action, this resolution would postpone a study for years.

Shabtai Rosenne, Israel’s delegate in the Committee, who informed the group yesterday that Israel considers the right to freedom of passage through the Gulf of Akaba as unchallengeable, took the floor again today to say that Israel does not think that “historic waters or historic bays” can be “subjected to a single legal regime.” The Legal Committee will continue debate of the five-nation resolution tomorrow and is expected to adopt it.

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