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U.N. Group Begins Work on Terms of Reference for Partition Implementation Commission

November 12, 1947
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Formulation of the terms of reference of the implementation commission which the United Nations would send to Palestine to supervise partition was begun today by the four-nation working group, following the agreement reached yesterday on the composition of the body and its relationship to the Mandatory and the U.N. Security Council.

The American delegation submitted a “working paper” as a basis for the terms of reference. The American document embodied the UNSCOP recommendations as well as the points agreed on yesterday. The Soviet delegation will study the “working paper” and comment on it within twenty-four hours.

With discussion in the various working groups proceeding harmoniously the American delegation today predicted that within several days the full sub-committee on partition will be ready to report to the Ad Hoc Committee which met this morning–briefly and informally, since a quorum was lacking. Chairman Ksawery Pruszynski of the partition sub-committee reported that his group was nearing completion of a report on boundaries and an economic union. Chairman Sir Abdullah Zafrullah Khan of the sub-committee coordinating Arab proposals stated that the report of his group was complete but that the members of his sub-committee have instructed him to submit the report simultaneously with that of the partition group.


Sir Alexander Cadogan, chief of the British delegation to the United Nations, told the group that he regretted that a British reply to the Amerian-Soviet compromise proposal on implementation was not ready. He said that a reply had been expected from London today, but had not arrived. Cadogan assured the other delegates that the British statement would be ready within a few days.

He expressed the hope that the working group, in elaborating on the implementation proposals, would not reach any recommendations which would require Britain “to adopt an attitude inconsistent with that already defined.” Cadogan agreed readily to a suggestion by Canadian delegate Lester Pearson that a British representative join the working group in order to lend clarification to any disputed points.

Meanwhile, the partition unit this afternoon started discussion of proposals submitted by the working group on boundaries. The discussion did not touch on the question of the Negev and the inclusion of the Jewish part of Jerusalem into the Jewish state. However, the recommendations presented would, if approved, transfer to the Jewish state a total of 600,000 dunams (150,000 acres) of land from the Arab ## and 150,000 dunams of Jewish land to the Arab state.

The gain of 450,000 dunams for the Jewish state would include about 200,000 dunams of wasteland. If the city of Jaffa is also transferred to the Arab state then the Arab population in the Jewish state would be reduced by 80,000. The recommendations agreed upon so far by the working group provide:

1. In the northern area of Palestine the Jews are to get an additional 47,000 dunams in the Suhl section where only 600 Arabs reside. This modification was recommended by the working group in order to enable the Jewish state to establish reservoirs for irrigation purposes.

2. The Jewish state is to get an additional 48,000 dunams, including 35,000 in the Gilboa Mountain range and 13,000 between the mountains and the Jordan River. No Arabs reside on this land, which is completely uncultivated. It was included in the Jewish state for reasons of defense, since it commands the Valley of Jezreel.

3. One of the UNSCOP-recommended boundary points is to be moved further west with Jews and Arabs in this area exchanging similar amounts of land. This was asked by the Jewish Agency for strategic reasons. A similar change was recommended for one of the southern boundary, moving it northward for irrigation reasons.

4. The Jewish area in the Haifa Bay district is to be extended to include an additional 43 dunams.

5. The Jews are likely to get a greater area along the Dead Sea, involving some 225,000 dunams of unpopulated land which is important for the Palestine Potash Company.

6. An exchange of land between Jews and Arabs in the areas north and south of the Negev is also suggested. The Jews would get 110,000 dunams in exchange for 135,000.


The working group also adopted a Jewish suggestion that some 21,000 dunams assigned by UNSCOP to the Jewish state be turned over to the Arabs in order to shorten the frontier at that point. There are about 6,000 Arabs and no Jews in the area in question.

As for the Jaffa question, the group recommends that the city be designated an Arab enclave within the Jewish state area. However, the Jews are demanding that the Lydda airport and Sarafand, at present the site of the largest military camp in the country, be turned over to them.

Negotiations continue on the final disposition of Jerusalem. Also, no recommendations have been made for changing the boundaries in the Negev areas which UNSCOP laid out, but the four-nation body has already ruled out a Jewish demand for the inclusion of land in the Kalkilla area which the Jewish Agency asked for security and irrigation purposes.

Regarding Galilee, the Agency originally demanded the inclusion of all of Western Galilee, which is about 1,400,000 dumans. Later, the Agency reduced its claim to 480,000 dunams, arguing that nine Jewish settlements are situated in this area and asserting that it is needed for strategic reasons. However, no final decision has been reached.

Czechoslovak delegate Karel Lisicky participating in the discussion on bound## at the partition sub-committee, opposed certain suggested revisions desired by the Jewish Agency and recommended by the working group. He argued that the revisions were likely to create even greater antagonism among the Arabs and make the situation are difficult with regard to implementation.

Replying to Lisicky, Moshe Shertok pointed out that the Jewish requests were ?ased primarily on two grounds: defense and development of the land based on irrigation schemes. He said that the Jewish Agency is prepared to guarantee that Arab ?ands included in the Jewish state, but belonging to villages in the Arab state, are ?red no higher than areas in the Arab state.

A sharp exchange developed between Lisicky and Shertok when the Czech delegate ##ccused the Agency political chief of using inaccurate figures to bolster his arguments in favor of certain boundary revisions. Shertok took exception to Lisicky’s remarks, asserting that the statistics which he quoted concerning Arab populations were taken from official records of the Palestine Government. The figures for Jewish populations, he added, were based on Agency compilations.The partition sub-committee continued its discussion late into the evening.

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