UNITED NATIONS CONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR PALESTINE

COMMITTEE ON JERUSALEM

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE SIXTH MEETING

held in Jerusalem on 8 March at 10 a.m.

Present:

Mr. Halderman

(U.S.A.)

Chairman

Mr. Benoist

(France)

Mr. de la Tour Pin

(France)

Mr. Eralp

(Turkey)

Mr. Barnes

Secretary of the Committee

Mr. Neuville

French Consul-General in Jerusalem

Mr. Burdett

U.S. Consul-General in Jerusalem

The Committee’s sixth meeting was devoted to a consultation with the consuls-general of the United States and France in Jerusalem, concerning the possible division of the city into Arab and Jewish administrative areas and the geographical aspects of the Committee’s task.

Following a brief historical résumé by Mr. Neuville of the occupation of certain parts of Jerusalem by the Jews both prior to and following the termination of the Mandate, Mr. Burdett showed on the map the present location of the lines. According to conversations he had had with local commanders on both sides, it seemed that the maximum territorial demand of the Arabs was a return to the situation as it had existed before the fighting. The Jews, while desiring to hold their present gains, had at one point made the suggestion that they might be willing to relinquish the German and Greek colonies, Deir Abu Tor and the Jewish settlements of Talpiot and Ramat Rahel. They insisted, however, that they must retain a line of strong positions, including Katamon, for defence, and that they must have a “corridor” to Mt. Scopus. Another important area of dispute was the question of east-west and north-south communications. The Jewish road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and the sea was at present cut by the Arab-held salient at Latrun; the Jews insisted on the possession of that road. The Arabs, on the other hand, in order to maintain north-south communications, must have the Nablus-Hebron road through Jerusalem, which at present was cut by Israeli-held territory. There was at present complete disagreement regarding the possession of the Tel Aviv road; the question was a crucial one, the settlement of which would affect the Israeli attitude on many other important points at issue, such as the matter of demilitarisation of Jerusalem.

On the question of a possible international enclave within the city, Mr. Neuville was of the opinion that a zone was needed because there were certain sites — such as Mt. Scopus, the cemetery on the Mount of Olives, and Mt. Ophel — on which agreement between the two sides might never be reached. Mr. Burdett, however, warned the Committee that the settlement of boundaries was a simpler matter than the problem of persuading both sides to accept the principle of internationalisation; the two sides might well prefer to settle their boundaries between themselves and avoid the whole question of internationalisation. If acceptance of that principle could be achieved, then the entire city should in theory be under United Nations supervision, with direct administration of the two local opportunities by the Jews and Arabs respectively, and direct control by the United Nations of the Holy Places and other disputed sites. The Jewish community in that case could not be a part of the State of Israel, although the Government of Israel had never ceased to insist upon integration of that community with the rest of the Jewish State.

The question was raised whether a free and secret plebiscite would not result in acceptance of the principle of internationalisation by many Jews and Arabs who were at present reluctant to express their views. Mr. Neuville thought that opinion among the Palestine Arabs would be strongly in favour of international control; opinion among the Jews was divided and doubtful, many Jews who had originally favoured internationalisation having changed their views since the termination of the Mandate. He felt, however, that even a strong Jewish opposition would be more than compensated by the Arab majority.

In reply to a question regarding the implications of incorporation of the Jewish community in Jerusalem in the State of Israel, Mr. Burdett gave it as his opinion that such an affiliation would destroy the entire principle of internationalisation of the city.


Document symbol: A/AC.25/Com.Jer./SR.6
Download Document Files: AAC25ComJerSR6.pdf
Document Type: Summary record
Document Sources: United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP)
Subject: Jerusalem, Palestine question
Publication Date: 08/03/1949