UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE
Memorandum received on 17 June 1949 from Mr. Isa Nakhleh,
Representative of the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine.
The representative of the Arab Higher Committee for Palestine presents his compliments to the Honourable Chairman and Members of the United Nations Conciliation Commission on Palestine and requests that he be allowed to respectfully submit the following remarks for the consideration of the Honourable Commission.
The representative of the Arab Higher Committee hopes that his purpose in submitting these remarks will not be misunderstood. They are submitted with the utmost respect, with all good will, and with the hope that the Honourable Commission will appreciate, and give due consideration, to the point of view of the Arabs of Palestine without the appreciation of which, all efforts of the Honourable Commission to establish peace in the Holy Land would be in vain.
We assume that in appointing this Honourable Commission, the General Assembly of the United Nations intended that this Honourable Commission will use its good offices as a Conciliation Commission for the purpose of establishing peace in the Holy Land.
The peace intended to be established is real not artificial, absolute and not relative, just and not unjust peace. Its aim is to bring justice and happiness to the people of Palestine who suffered so much and so long; and not to establish peace for the absolute benefit of one party to the utter destruction of the other, or to establish peace for the strategical or defence purposes or ulterior motives and plans of one or more powers foreign to Palestine and its people.
THE DUTIES OF THIS HONOURABLE COMMISSION.
It is hardly necessary to remind this Honourable Commission of its duties as laid down in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the 11th of December 1948, yet for the purpose of this Memorandum we venture to state that the most important duties of this Honourable Commission could be summarised as follows:
THE FIRST AND SECOND DUTIES: CONCILIATION AND MEDIATION.
Under the first and second duties, this Honourable Commission is entrusted with the task of using its good offices for the peaceful and just settlement of the Palestine dispute which has been entertained by the United Nations, its organs and Committees since the month of April 1947.
The real intention of the General Assembly in appointing this Honourable Commission could be ascertained and fully appreciated by reviewing the events after the 29th of November 1947. As a result of the Decision of the General Assembly to partition Palestine, disturbances and hostilities broke between Arabs and Jews all over Palestine. The Security Council became seized of the questions after receiving from the United Nations Palestine Commission its first special report on the problem of security in Palestine.
After very many sessions and lengthy discussions of the matter by the Security Council, it became evident that the Partition of Palestine could neither be implemented by consent of the parties, nor by force, as neither the General Assembly nor the Security Council has any authority to implement a political decision by force of arms. Consequently it became necessary for the General Assembly to consider further the Palestine Question, with the hope of finding a peaceful solution acceptable to both Jaws and Arabs. Thereupon the Security Council in its decision of the let of April 1948 called upon the Secretary General of the United Nations to convoke a Special Session of the General Assembly for the purpose of “Examining the questions of the future Government of Palestine”.
On the 12th of April 1948 the Security Council called upon “All persons and organizations in Palestine and especially upon the Arab Higher Committee and Jewish Agency to refrain, pending further consideration of the future Government of Palestine by the General Assembly, from any political activity which might prejudice the rights, claims or positions of either community”.
The Special Session of the General Assembly was convoked on or about the 19th of April 1948. Several proposals were submitted to the Political Committee for placing the whole of Palestine under Trusteeship or for making truce in Palestine. As no proposal was assured of the prospect of a two third majority it was finally resolved by the General Assembly, on the 14th of May 1948, to appoint a United Nations Mediator “To use his good offices with local and community authorities in Palestine to promote a peaceful adjustment of the future situation of Palestine”.
In the preamble of the decisions of the Security Council of the 4th and 16th November 1948 respectively the following two phrases occur: “The Truce shall remain in force… until a peaceful adjustment of the future situation of Palestine is reached”. “Taking note that the General Assembly is continuing its consideration of the future Government of Palestine in response to the Request of the Security Council of April the 1st 1948”.
During its Paris Session in September 1948, the General Assembly considered the recommendations of the late United Nations Mediator on Palestine and several other proposals submitted thereto. Again as not one proposal was assured of the prospect of a two third majority, it was resolved by the General Assembly on the 11th December 1948 to appoint this Honourable Commission with the efforts of the United Nations for bringing about “by peaceful means the adjustment or settlement of this international dispute or situation” within the meaning E of articles 1 and 14 of the United Nations Charter.
Pacific Settlement of Disputes is a cardinal principle in the United Nations Charter. It is a task entrusted to the General Assembly under chapter IV as well as to the Security Council under chapter VI of the Charter.
By appointing this Honourable Commission the General Assembly has delegated thereto its task of Conciliation and Mediation.
The object of any Conciliation or Mediation in International Practice, is to put an end to a dispute by finding the most opportune solution and, as laid down in article 1 of the Charter “in conformity with the principles of justice and International Law”.
In the light of the above facts and principles it is evident that the first task of this Honourable Commission is to determine the issues or “all the questions outstanding” between the parties to the Palestine dispute; and having determined the same to try to reconcile the opposing claims and find a satisfactory solution on each issue.
It is pertinent at this stage to examine briefly the issues or “The questions outstanding between the parties to the Palestine Dispute”.
The basic issues between the Arab States and the Arabs of Palestine on one side, and the Jews on the other, could be curtly put s follow:
These are the issues between the parties which the Honourable Commission should entertain. Yet in its two progress reports to the General Assembly the Honourable Commission has almost brushed them all aside and avoided the determination thereof by stating in para. 6 of its progress report (A/Adj. 25 PRI) of the 1st of March 1949 the following : “During this preliminary contact with the Governments concerned, the Commission had no intention of entering into detailed and thorough discussions on all the questions which will have to be solved before a stable space can be concluded”.
From its attitude in “the Exchange of Views” as termed by the Honourable Commission, at Lausanne, it is doubtful that the Honourable Commission has any intention of entering any discussion on all or any of the “questions which will have to be solved before a stable peace can be concluded”.
Six months have already passed since its appointment and the Honourable Commission is still following the Ostridge Policy by failing to take any cognizance of the fundamental issues that must be solved before a real and just peace could be concluded.
We most respectfully submit that this Honourable Commission has erred in the following:
DUTIES 3 AND 4: PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF THE HOLY PLACES.
Making arrangements for the protection and preservation of the Holy Places is a Paramount duty of this Honourable Commission. The Honourable Commission was charged with this duty after the whole world knew about the evil intentions of Jews towards these Holy Places and the outrageous crimes they committed against them. This Honourable Commission received several memoranda from representatives of Moslem and Christian Bodies who reported the violations and desecrations of these Holy Places.
In spite of the anxiety shown by Moslems and Christians all over the world, yet this Honourable Commission did not see fit to visit the Holy Places an over Palestine and inquire into these violations and desecrations.
Neither did the Honourable Commission submit anything in its progress report of the 1st of March 1949 about the protection of these Holy Places. With complete indifference to their desecrations and violations, the Honourable Commission, in paragraph 5, page 4 of the said report says “with reference to the Holy Places situated outside the Jerusalem area, the Commission has not considered it necessary to take any special measures for the time being, but it received the impression, during its tour of the various capitals which will be mentioned later, that the political authorities concerned would undoubtedly be ready to give the guarantees required by the resolution of the General Assembly”.
It is most respectfully submitted that this is a gross negligence of duty on a matter concerning hundreds of millions of Christians and Moslems in the world. It is this Honourable Commission’s sacred duty to institute an inquiry into the desecrations and violations of these Holy Places and take into consideration the reports submitted by representatives of Moslem, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Bodies and Clergy in Palestine in which it was definitely charged:
The latest authentic reports that have come to me to Lausanne from the Arab Higher Committee include the following new outrageous Jewish behaviour:
In the light of the above facts we respectfully urge the Honourable Commission to do the following:
THE 5th DUTY: FREE ACCESS TO JERUSALEM.
The Security Council maintained in several of its decisions that there should be a free access to Jerusalem by road, air and rail. The General Assembly in its decision of the 11th of December resolved that “the freest possible access to Jerusalem road rail and air should be accorded to all inhabitants of Palestine”, and instructed the Honourable Commission “to report immediately to the Security Council for appropriate action by that organ, any attempt by any party to impede such success”.
During Christian Easter Celebrations and Nabi Mossa Moslem Celebrations at Jerusalem in April this year, Jews with the intention of preventing Christians and Moslems from practising their faith, refused to open the Bethlehem-Jerusalem road or the Gaza-Beersheba-Jerusalem road and allow free access to Jerusalem, the centre of these Christian and Moslem Celebrations, thereby depriving the Christian and Moslem of Bethlehem, Hebron, Beersheba and Gaza Sub-Districts from taking part in these religious Ceremonies and Celebrations.
Yet this Honourable Commission while well aware of these facts neglected to report them immediately to the Security Council for no reason other than the fact that it is Jews who are in the wrong.
THE 6TH DUTY: REPATRIATION AND RESETTLEMENT OF REFUGEES.
In its second progress report of the 5th of April 1949 the Honourable Commission “had no difficulty in recognizing the truth of the Arab contention that for humanitarian and political reasons it is necessary to give absolute priority to the Refugees Question, over and above all other question sending between the parties”.
The Honourable Commission says “the visits paid by Members of the Commission to several Refugee camps gave them an opportunity to see for themselves the deplorable material and moral situation of the Refugees at present. Moreover, the desperate uncertainty of the future for these unfortunates when the funds at the disposal of Mr. Griffis’ Organization shall have been exhausted makes it imperative that measures be taken toward a prompt an permanent solution of the question”.
While admitting that it is the right of the Refugees to go home and that it is the Commission’s duty to help them to do so, the Honourable Commission in page 3 of that report produces arguments that not only undermines its said duty, but also the resolution of the General Assembly and its very argument regarding the urgency of the Refugee Problem. The Honourable Commission starts by pointing out some imaginary difficulties and some unforeseen possibilities, and finally sabotages in advance all its efforts by saying “moreover, the Commission is of the opinion that the Refugee Problem cannot be permanently solved unless other political questions, notably the question of boundaries, are also solved”. This untenable statement on page 3 of the report is contradictory to what the Honourable Commission had recognized at page 2 of the said report that “For humanitarian and political reasons it is necessary to give absolute priority to the Refugee Question, over and Atmall other questions between the parties”.
We most respectfully submit that as regards the Refugee Problem this Honourable Commission has erred in the following:
C O N C L U S I O N :
When all is done, it is worthy to note that the attitude adopted by this Honourable Commission towards all its afore mentioned duties, together with the attitude of the Jews and their aggressive intentions, are responsible for the deadlock in the Lausanne conversations which eventually might come to naught. The Jews and their unjustified admission to the United Nations have obstructed every chance of a pacific settlement of the Palestine Problem. Every day the Jews are giving grounds for censure by the Security Council, the General Assembly and world conscience and public opinion. Yet the Jews are being constantly shielded, presented as justified while in the wrong, as the innocent party while deep in their aggression. Surely there must be an end to this one-sided treatment of the Palestine Problem. The concepts of the Arabs of Palestine about justice, fair play, and ethics in International Affairs have been paralized by the events of the last year.
We earnestly hope that this Honourable Commission will reconsider its position in these negotiations, rid itself of the outside pressure of some Governments and view the real issues of the Palestine Problem with the fairness and sense of justice well known about the Distinguished Members of this Honourable Commission. Should and when this Honourable Commission feel that its efforts will not be crowned with success, we feel that it is the duty of this Honourable Commission to tell the General Assembly and world opinion about the wickedness, the fantastic demands, and aggressive intentions of Jews which are responsible for its failure in its task to bring justice and peace to Palestine.
Document Type: Memorandum
Document Sources: Arab Higher Committee, United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP)
Subject: Economic issues, Holy places, Jerusalem, Land, Negotiations and agreements, Palestine question, Refugees and displaced persons, Security issues, Social issues
Publication Date: 17/06/1949