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obligations and responsibilities of the parties set forth in its resolutions of July 15 and August 19 were to be discharged fully and in good faith. These governments and authorities were expected to allow United Nations observers and other truce supervision personnel to have ready access to the areas of fighting. In addition the Government of Israel was again requested to submit to the Security Council at an early date an account of the progress it had made in the investigation of the assassination of Count Bernadotte.
On the same day the Council adopted a second resolution stating that the indispensable condition to a solution of the situation was an immediate and effective cease-fire. The Council stated that after the cease-fire the withdrawal of both parties from any positions not occupied at the time of the outbreak, and acceptance by both parties of a previous Mediator's order on the supply of convoys, might form a basis for further negotiations looking toward insurance that the truce would be fully observed in the Negeb.
Israeli forces continued their successful operations, and on October 21 Beersheba was captured. At the request of Egypt the Security Council was called into emergency session again to consider the situation.
President Truman's Statement of October 24, 1948
At this juncture the President of the United States issued a public statement with regard to Palestine. He said he stood squarely on the provisions covering Israel in the Democratic Party platform, concluding with the statement:". we approve the claims of Israel to the boundaries set forth in the United Nations' resolution of November 29, 1947, and consider that modifications thereof should be made only if fully acceptable to the State of Israel.” The President continued : “Proceedings are now taking place in the United Nations looking toward an amicable settlement of the conflicting positions of the parties in Palestine. In the interests of peace this work must go forward. A plan has been submitted which provides a basis for a renewed effort to bring about a peaceful adjustment of differences. It is hoped that by using this plan as a basis of negotiation, the conflicting claims of the parties can be settled.”
Meanwhile, faced with continuation of hostilities in the Negeb, the Security Council on November 4 adopted a resolution invoking its three previous resolutions of May 29, July 15, and August 19, and called upon the interested governments, without prejudice to their rights, claims, or position with regard to the future situation of Palestine, to withdraw those of their forces which had advanced beyond the positions held on October 14. The Acting Mediator was authorized to establish provisional lines beyond which no movement of troops should take place. The parties were required to establish through negotiation, either directly or through the United Nations, permanent truce lines and such neutral or demilitarized zones as might appear advantageous. Failing in such an agreement, the permanent lines and neutral zones should be established by the Acting Mediator. In addition, the resolution of November 4 established a subcommittee of the Council, consisting of the five permanent members, together with Belgium and Colombia, to advise the Acting Mediator and, in the event that the parties should not comply with the resolution, “to study as a matter of urgency” and to report to the Council on further measures it would be appropriate to take under chapter VII of the Charter.
Dr. Bunche, the Acting Mediator, established provisional truce lines in the Negeb. However, on November 16 the Security Council, reaffirming its previous and numerous truce resolutions, took note that the General Assembly was then once more considering the future government of Palestine and, without prejudice to the actions of the Acting Mediator under the resolution of November 4, decided that an armistice should be established in all sectors of Palestine. The resolution of November 16 called upon the parties directly involved in the conflict to seek agreement forthwith, either by direct negotiations or through the Acting Mediator, with a view to the immediate establishment of an armistice, including the delineation of permanent armistice demarcation lines and such withdrawal and reduction of their armed forces as might insure the maintenance of the armistice during the transition to permanent peace in Palestine.
Partial but not complete compliance with the two November resolutions of the Security Council was given. The Israeli Government announced that its "mobile forces' would be withdrawn to the line of October 14. However, it refused to evacuate Beersheba and maintained its siege of the Egyptian garrison at Faluja. For its part, the Egyptian Government announced it would comply with the November 16 resolution if the Jewish authorities would observe the November 4 resolution.
In December severe fighting again broke out in the Negeb, and Israeli forces crossed the frontier of Egypt. The Security Council on December 29 adopted a resolution calling upon the governments concerned to order an immediate cease-fire and to implement without further delay the resolution of November 4. Early in the new year Egypt and Israel gave compliance to this resolution by agreeing to a cease-fire and by undertaking armistice negotiations.
General Assembly Resolution of December 11
Meanwhile the First Committee of the General Assembly undertook its renewed consideration of the future government of Palestine. A British motion which would in effect have adopted the Bernadotte Plan did not meet with the acceptance of the Committee. The United Kingdom thereupon proposed an alternative resolution embodying amendments offered by the United States, which placed principal emphasis on pacific settlement by agreement between the parties and on the establishment of a Conciliation Commission to assist the parties in reaching agreement. At last, on December 11, the day before the close of the Assembly's meeting in Paris, a plenary session adopted a resolution on Palestine which established a Conciliation Commission (consisting of France, Turkey, and the United States) to assume the functions given to the Mediator by the Assembly's resolution of May 14 and to undertake, upon the request of the Security Council, any of the functions assigned to the Mediator or the Truce Commission by resolutions of that Council. The Conciliation Commission was instructed to take steps to assist the governments and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them. The resolution provided for special protection of the Holy Places and stated that the Jerusalem area should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control, the Conciliation Commission being instructed to present to the Fourth Regular Session of the Assembly specific details for a permanent international regime for the Jerusalem area. The Conciliation Commission was likewise instructed to seek arrangements to facilitate the economic development of Palestine and the repatriation, resettlement, and rehabilitation of refugees.
In December the Government of France appointed Claude Breart de Boissanger as its member of the Conciliation Commission. The President appointed Joseph B. Keenan as the American member,3 while the Government of Turkey appointed Huseyin Cahit Yakin as its representative on the Commission.
Thus the year 1948 was one of vicissitudes and grave conflict in Palestine. The solution of this problem which has baffled statecraft for a generation is yet to be found, but certain definite landmarks on the way
to that solution were established in 1948. The most outstanding of these landmarks is the existence of the state of Israel. The Jewish population of Palestine, with the assistance of their coreligionists throughout the world, proclaimed and protected the new state of
• Mr. Keenan resigned on Jan. 14, 1949, and was replaced by Mark Ethridge.
Israel. The state of Israel, as Count Bernadotte noted, exists, and as 1948 drew to a close it was obvious that the armed forces of Israel were capable of defending it.
The boundaries of the state of Israel remain subject to final determination. Other areas in Palestine awarded to the Arab population by the resolution of November 29, 1947, are presently under Israeli military occupation. These areas include the predominantly Arab city of Jaffa, the predominantly Arab region of western Galilee, and the major portion of Jerusalem with the land corridor to that Holy City, which the Assembly's resolution of 1947 had not allocated to the Jewish state. The United States Government took the position, as officially expressed by its Delegate to the General Assembly in a speech on November 20, that "reductions in such territory should be agreed by Israel. If Israel desires additions, it would be necessary for Israel to offer an appropriate exchange through negotiations."
Events of the tumultous year in Palestine, involving withdrawal from its mandate by the United Kingdom, the establishment of Israel, and sharp warfare between the Arab and Israeli armies, did not result in a decisive display of United Nations strength confronting a problem for which only the more measured pace of history would provide the answer. Nevertheless, the United Nations, although it did not resort to force to put down this incipient war in the Middle East, was in large measure successful in putting bounds and metes to the conflict. It gave effect to the principle that a threat to international peace and security anywhere is the concern of the international community everywhere, and although, according to the Charter interpretation sustained by the American Government, the General Assembly had no power to enforce its political recommendations through Security Council action, the Council itself had ample opportunity in dealing with Palestine to exercise its responsibilities for the maintenance of peace and security.
ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
As a result of the hostilities in Palestine preceding and following the termination of the British mandate on May 15, 1948, almost the whole of the Arab population fled from the area under Jewish occupation. The plight of these refugees became very acute by the middle of the summer of 1948. At the end of July the League of Arab States addressed an appeal to Count Bernadotte stating that the situation of misery and distress of the refugees merited the attention of the United Nations organization concerned with the assistance and welfare of refugees and requesting the Mediator to initiate such action as required to relieve the gravity of the situation. On August 16 the Mediator sent telegrams to 24 nations which had had important trade connec
tions with Palestine and the surrounding Arab countries, requesting certain specific items of supplies from them. He also sent telegrams to 29 other states with the request that they provide any available general food requirements or funds. While some states supplied the specified commodities in full, the response in general was inadequate. The Government of the United States had no funds available for direct governmental contribution, but under the initiative and coordinating guidance of the Department of State supplies to the value of nearly one and one-half million dollars were furnished through private contributions by the middle of November. In addition, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, which had already contributed $411,000 for a two months' emergency program, authorized a longer-range program calling for the expenditure of $6,000,000 in this area.
When the General Assembly met in Paris on September 21, it had become apparent that the situation of the refugees was one of emergency bordering on disaster. The Mediator devoted part III of his progress report of September 18 to the subject of assistance to refugees. He gave the figure of 360,000 as the number of refugees requiring assistance and indicated that the number was constantly increasing. He emphasized the desperate urgency of the problem and stated that the choice was between saving the lives of many thousands of people “now” or permitting them to die.
On October 18 the Acting Mediator issued a supplementary report which showed that the situation was continuing to deteriorate. This report contained the detailed estimate of the Director of Disaster Relief, who had been appointed by the Mediator, of the cost of the program of relief for a period of nine months beginning December 1. It fixed the maximum number of refugees requiring assistance at 500,000 and the estimated cost at $29,500,000.
It became apparent from these reports that the problem for the General Assembly was to determine what funds and supplies were required, how the needed funds should be obtained, and how they were to be distributed to the refugees.
The United States Delegation proceeded upon the premise that action by the United Nations to meet this emergency situation would make an important contribution to the settlement of the general Palestine problem. While recognizing the humanitarian aspects of the problem, the Delegation insisted from the beginning that the program should not be undertaken solely on a humanitarian basis. With this in view, the following paragraph, based on the Mediator's progress report, was included in the preamble to the resolution jointly sponsored by Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States: