UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS OF THE HOST COUNTRIES ON THE WORKING
PAPER PREPARED BY THE LAND EXPERT OF THE CONCILIATION COMMISSION
(A/AC.25/W.84) AND DATED 28 APRIL 1964
1. Letter dated 11 April 1966 from the representatives of Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the United Arab Republic addressed to the Chairman of the Commission
2. Observations and comments of the host countries on the Working Paper prepared by the Land Expert of the Conciliation Commission (A/AC.25/W.84) and dated 28 April 1964
3. Letter dated 16 May 1966 from the Chairman of the Commission addressed to the representatives of Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the United Arab Republic
LETTER DATED 11 APRIL 1966 FROM THE REPRESENTATIVES OF JORDAN, LEBANON,
THE SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC AND THE UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC ADDRESSED TO THE
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION
We have the honour to enclose the observations and comments of the host Governments of the Arab States on the working paper document A/AC.25/W.84 dated 28 April 1964, prepared by Mr. Frank Jarvis, Technical Representative of the Palestine Conciliation Commission.
These observations, based on the technical considerations, would draw attention to the fact that the work needs more adequate examination.
It is hardly necessary to reiterate that these observations do not in any way affect the right of the Palestine Arab Refugees to either repatriation or compensation to those who do not wish to return, as prescribed in paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948.
We request that the United Nations translation of this document be circulated as an official document of the United Nations.
(Signed) Muhammad El-Farra
(Signed) Souheil Chammas
(Signed) George Tomeh
of Syrian Arab Republic
(Signed) Mohamed El-Kony
of United Arab Republic
Observations and Comments of the Host Countries
on the Working Paper prepared by the Land Expert of
the Conciliation Commission (A/AC.25/W.84) dated
28 April 1964
The progress report deals with two subjects, namely, what is termed as the identification of Arab property and the valuation of this property as it stood on 29 November 1947.
I. As regards the identification of property, the report explicitly indicates that the documents relied upon to identify Arab holdings do not constitute absolute proof as to the accuracy of results.
The report stated that the sources relied upon were the records of private property kept by registration and settlement authorities, and the Tax Distribution Lists outside urban areas, and Field Valuation Sheets for lands and buildings in urban areas. The data contained in the above sources do not, however, fully and truly represent the situation with regard to Arab property for various reasons including the following:
II. As regards the rules and criteria applied in the report for the valuation of Arab lands and property, the report obviously relied upon the values of lands and property mentioned in tax lists, and also had recourse to the estimates of values applied in the settlement of title operations, as well as to the amount of the consideration in transactions taking place before registration authorities and dating back to up to two years from 29 November 1947. The following comments should be made in this respect:
III. In the light of the above, the report of the Land Expert of the United Nations Conciliation Commission, issued as document A/AC.25/W.84 on 28 April 1964, is found to be unacceptable for its inconsonance with reality and its unfairness to Arab rights.
IV. The total area of Palestine, according to official data, is 26,320,230 dunums. The greater part of this area belongs to the Arabs who lived there for thousands of years as uncontested owners.
Jewish ownership at the beginning of the British Mandate represented only 2 per cent of the above total area. As a result of laws imposed by the Mandatory Government without the consent of the rightful indigenous population, Jewish ownership rose by the end of the Mandate to 1,491,699 dunums, a figure still representing less than 6 per cent of the total area of the whole of Palestine.
V. The formulation of such estimates contradicts both the letter and the spirit of operative paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (III) and subsequent relevant resolutions, notably resolution 394 (V) of 14 December 1950. The Conciliation Commission is not entitled, under United Nations resolutions, to consider compensation without repatriation.
LETTER DATED 16 MAY 1966 FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION TO THE
REPRESENTATIVES OF JORDAN, LEBANON, THE SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC AND THE
UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC
I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the joint letter dated 11 April 1966 by which the representatives of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the United Arab Republic transmitted observations on the Working Paper prepared by the Commission's Land Expert and published in 1964 (A/AC.25/W.84).
In response to what it feels is the spirit of this letter, the Commission would welcome joint consideration, by its Technical Representative and by the delegations or land experts of the host Governments, of the technical aspects of these observations, leaving aside the broader issues which they raise, in order to clarify any technical problems which may arise from misunderstanding or misapprehension.
The Commission has also requested me to inform you that the letter of the host Governments and the observations attached thereto, in accordance with the joint request, will be published, together with the present letter, as a general distribution document in the same series as the Working Paper to which they pertain.
In so doing, of course, the Commission reserves its right, as a matter of record, to comment fully on the observations in the light of its mandate from the General Assembly, should that prove necessary at any stage.
For the present, the Commission wishes to state that it remains fully conscious of the provisions of the General Assembly resolutions which comprise its terms of reference. It also finds it appropriate to recall the position it has stated in various places, and particularly in its seventeenth progress report (A/4225, paragraph 22) in the following form: “The Commission has taken into account the fact that the General Assembly has always been concerned with the property rights of Arab refugees within the terms of paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948. It is obvious that in carrying out this work the Commission is not attempting to lay down a basis for an over-all settlement of the refugee problem. The work of identification and valuation is technical in nature and constitutes a prerequisite for any settlement with regard to the rights of individuals to their immovable property.”
(Signed ) Claude EPERVRIER
United Nations Conciliation
Commission for Palestine
Document Type: Comments, Dossier, Letter, Note, Observations, Working paper
Document Sources: United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP)
Country: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Republic (See also - Egypt - Syria)
Subject: Absentee property, Land, Refugees and displaced persons
Publication Date: 16/05/1966