Blue-Print for Peace, statement to the Ad Hoc Political Committee of the United Nations by Ambassador Eban
(December 1, 1952)
Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations outlined in a comprehensive address before the Ad Hoc Political Committee of the General Assembly a plan of progress towards peace between Israel and the Arab States. Text.
The problem before this Committee has now been considered by the General Assembly of the United Nations in eight consecutive sessions. Public controversy between Israel and the Arab States is fast becoming a tradition of international life. By now we have developed fixed patterns of argument, familiar slogans and well-tried formulas. Each year as the season of this debate approaches, conciliatory processes have been suspended so that private statesmanship may yield to public denunciation.
Looking back over the voluminous records in recent months, we have noticed how much they have been concerned with the past, how little with the future. Their central theme has been not the contemporary life and future destiny of the Middle East, but the wording of documents, their interpretation and the degree of binding force to be attributed to them. There is now a whole exegetical literature revolving around every paragraph and every phrase.
This year once again the theme of Arab speeches has been: "Who is to blame for these difficulties," not "How can these problems be constructively and justly solved?" A preoccupation with grievances rather than with solutions is characteristic of many discussions now taking place in the United Nations, especially on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean affairs. The political and psychological implications of this attitude are interesting, but they do not help us to come face to face with the factors which govern the life of our region and determine the future of its peoples. For meanwhile, during these years in which the content and tone of this debate have remained singularly unchanged, the people of the Middle East have lived the life of a region alive with movement and innovation; a region in which countries and peoples, regimes and political systems, economic processes, social structures and international relationships have undergone swift transformations from year to year.
Having followed the speeches of distinguished Arab representatives with deep care and attention, I believe that it would be accurate to define their essential purport as follows: The only just and reasonable way, they say, in which the Arab States and Israel can adjust their relationships for 1953 and thereafter is to revive and "implement" the recommendations which the Arab Governments themselves vehemently rejected and destroyed by armed violence in 1947 and by obstruction and boycott since 1948. In other words the only recommendations which can produce agreement in the future are precisely those which have been the subject of all the disagreements of the past.
I respectfully submit to this Committee that if this is all that we have to say about the Near East in its hour of opportunity and destiny; if we refuse to seek new solutions of old deadlocks, then we shall be living far below the level of our responsibilities and opportunities.
But I am confident that the General Assembly is not satisfied to perpetuate failure. In recent months the air of the Near East has been astir with a spirit of change. We have a feeling that the United Nations, too, in its relationship to this problem is ready for innovation and renewal, for the pursuit of direct and simple courses related to the challenge of tomorrow, and not to the unsuccessful remedies of yesterday. I do not doubt that the international community strongly desires to see Israel and the Arab States engaged earnestly and together in an attempt to solve their differences by the exercise of their own judgement and responsibility through the normal processes of international intercourse. And this desire to see the kindred peoples of our region in free and fraternal discussion has been widely expressed around this table ever since the representative of Mexico opened our discussions on such a high note of elevation. If there was ever a time when it could be assumed that an Arab-Israel settlement might be evolved, either in general principle or in detail, by external parties or international organs without the direct interplay and confrontation of Arab and Israel minds, then that belief cannot be seriously held today. Nobody can help Israel and the Arab States solve problems which they will not discuss freely and directly between themselves.
My Government and delegation have given much thought and enquiry to the prospect and implications of a freely negotiated peace, and I should like to associate the members of the United Nations in the results of our thinking.
The State of Israel has faced many heavy and intense pre-occupations in the first five years of its national independence. A host of varied concerns have competed for priority of its effort and concentration. First, there was the struggle for physical survival. Then came the quest for international recognition. These accomplishments which together established our statehood were succeeded by an epic process of rescue, in which we gathered the tormented remnants of our people into the shelter and freedom of our State, thus inheriting awesome burdens as well as high exaltation. As a result of this swift growth of population, we were soon plunged into an intensive struggle for economic productivity. And all the time we were building the structure of our democracy, developing its constitutional forms and mapping out the great journey which faced us in the domain of cultural and scientific endeavour. Although these concerns have all pressed upon us simultaneously and together, we have never lost sight of our chief remaining unfulfilled objective -the attainment of peace in our region.
Today Israel is prepared to make the attainment of peace in its region a primary theme of its national policy, and to bring all its resources of thought and effort to bear upon that task. There are special reasons which lead us to believe that an active quest for peace now holds more promise than ever before. In speeches and in the draft resolutions we have seen evidence that the United Nations now regards peace as the responsibility of Israel and, of Arab States, to be pursued by them in perfect freedom, limited only by their obligations under the Charter. There are also signs that Arab statesmanship in its best expressions is awakening to a new constructive impulse. This is therefore a moment to embark upon the earnest contemplation of a peace settlement based on neighbourly relations between Israel and the Arab States.
Every circumstance of history and geography, of regional advantage and universal interest speaks on behalf of the peaceful and neighbourly relations which we aspire to establish. While we shall make every effort for peace compatible with our fundamental national rights, we assert without hesitation that peace with Israel is also a debt which the Arab countries also owe to history and to the world.
We are discussing this morning an area which extends over an expanse of a million and a half square miles. In the whole of this vast region, teeming with natural and mineral resources, full of latent and potential Wealth, eight separate Arab sovereignties have arisen where not a single independent Arab State existed three decades ago. Any constructive imagination would be awed and elevated by the sight of the national opportunity which the Arab people have inherited in so short a time. In a world where few peoples ever attain their total ambition it must be admitted that none has ever been blessed with such political good fortune, or secured a greater measure of its national aspiration so rapidly. The blood and sacrifice of victorious coalitions in two world wars contributed much to this Arab liberation. International opinion through the United Nations has helped to free many of these countries from foreign occupation, while only recently the United Nations established a new and eighth sphere of Arab sovereignty, in an area twenty times the size of Israel, through the establishment of the United Kingdom of Libya - a decision to which Israel gave full and important support. From the Arab people, thus endowed with every prospect of greatness and of broad opportunity, the United Nations, I suggest, has the right to expect a modification of an unyielding and vengeful attitude towards a small neighbouring state. Indeed, it was this huge expanse of Arab sovereignty which stood before the eyes of the United Nations when the question of Israel's right to statehood first came before it. The nations of the world could not fail to perceive a simple truth. They said: "If it is right for the Arab peoples to possess their vast continent, it cannot be wrong for the Jewish people to enjoy the tranquil and secure possession of its cherished home." No balanced conscience could withhold from Israel, in its smaller domain, the rights and opportunities with which the Arab people were so abundantly endowed.
Thus the starting point of our discussion must be that national freedom and full sovereign rights are the inheritance of all peoples in our area, not the monopoly of one. Each people has a right to its own area, whether large or small, in this vast globe, in which its life and spirit can develop under its own control in perfect freedom. To a solution of the problems which prejudice the security and prosperity of the region, all its sovereign governments must contribute in proportion to the objective limits of their capacity. The State of Israel, living on the narrowest margins of territorial and economic resources, can make its contribution only in the closest and most direct unity with the efforts of Arab governments.
Mr. Chairman, I have not alluded to the broad scope of Arab freedom in order to suggest that it should be begrudged, or regarded as beyond the bounds of merit. We hope that the Arab people will consolidate its political freedom and move on towards social and economic advances commensurate with its success in the attainment of institutional liberty. It is important, however, to correct the atmosphere of these debates. The Arab people should not appear here as a party wronged or aggrieved, injured by a malevolent history, deprived of something which others possess in larger freedom, and therefore entitled to heap bitter denunciation upon Israel and upon the United Nations. It is that denunciation which I should like to avoid as we go forward to examine the prospects of peace.
The problem before us is that Israel and four contiguous countries: Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, have entered into armistice treaties. These treaties, secured by direct and unfettered negotiations, have for four years given us a minimal stability, which, however, falls short of the positive relations which should govern the intercourse of sovereign States, Members of the United Nations. The task then is to develop the present provisional armistice relationship, resting upon signature and consent, into a new relationship, also to be achieved by signature and consent, conforming with tile best examples of regional co-operation in the present world and age.
With each or any of the four governments bound to us by armistice treaties the Government of Israel is prepared to negotiate a final settlement for tile establishment of peaceful relations. We would neither impose nor accept any preconditions for such negotiation, in which each party should be free to make its proposals. The parties can by mutual consent use available United Nations machinery or other good offices, to help them in their negotiations if they desire.
I should now like to present rather fully the views of my Government on three major questions which arise in connection with a negotiated peace settlement.
First: Who shall define and shape the peace settlement? Is this the task of the Arab States and Israel themselves, or does it fall within the competence of other States, individually or collectively? Linked to this question of objective is the question of method. Can the settlement arise from any procedure other than from direct negotiations between the States concerned through their accredited representatives?
Second: What are to be the contents and attributes of the peace settlement? More specifically, are the parties entitled to reach any agreements to which their own consent shall lead them? Must they not be able to let their minds move freely over the entire range of alternative solutions and programs? To this question the attitude of the United Nations is closely related. Does past experience and present evaluation persuade the United Nations that it has revealed a successful and final formula for agreement in the form of its past resolutions; or should all parties admit that the truth may still have to be found, the formula for agreement still to be discovered?
Third: Does the Government of Israel have a clear view even ill general outline of the nature of the peace settlement which it seeks in advocating direct and unfettered negotiations? Does it have reason to think that the problems at issue are capable of being swiftly and justly resolved without sacrifice of honour or of legitimate interest by either side and with full alleviation of human suffering? In discussing this question I shall expound in comprehensive form the views to which my Government has come on the main elements which should guide us in the quest for peace, prosperity and regional co-operation in the Near East.
At first sight, it should be unnecessary to offer proof that a peace settlement between Israel and the Arab States is the primary responsibility of their governments. Indeed, the right of states to conclude agreements with each other is the corollary of their sovereignty. If we deny a state that right, or qualify its free exercise of it, we encroach upon the very essence of its statehood. Along with the acquisition of the right, there goes the acceptance of responsibility. For it is our conviction that all members of the United Nations have not merely a right, but a moral responsibility and duty to establish normal and peaceful relations with all other states. If it is not in their power to achieve agreements, it is surely their minimal duty to attempt to achieve that.
Let me illustrate this point by reference to the general practice of the United Nations in emphasising the responsibility and freedom of sovereign governments in concluding their own agreements.
The United Nations, as the Committee will recall, has had an influence of varying degrees in the processes leading up to the independence of Indonesia, Israel and Libya. But once the sovereignty of those states was universally recognised, in two cases by their admission to membership in the United Nations, in the third case by a vote of the General Assembly recognising Libya's sovereignty, their right to conclude any international agreements they chose became absolute. I recall an incident at our last session when the General Assembly, taking note of the independence of the United Kingdom of Libya, correctly rejected a recommendation, ostensibly quite an innocuous one, that that country, once it became independent, should seek economic assistance from the Economic and Social Council. It was correctly ruled that from the moment of sovereignty this had become a matter for the decision of the Libyan Government alone.
Again there had been an Egyptian item requesting the General Assembly to become interested in a boundary adjustment between Egypt and Libya. The General Assembly refused to become involved. It held this to be a matter for the states concerned, notwithstanding its own direct part in the establishment of one of those states. Here we saw an accurate application of one of the most fundamental aspects of international relations.
There could be no dispute of the State of Israel's right to sign a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the Government of the United States, a financial treaty with the United Kingdom, a compensation treaty with the Federated Republic of Germany, commercial treaties with Argentine and Mexico, and a great range of treaties with many other states; and in each case the content of the agreement was a matter of exclusive concern for the signatory governments to such a degree that no other state or international organ could have or claim a right to limit or qualify the shape of the agreement. Similarly, there should be no attempt to influence or qualify the right and obligation of Israel and any Arab state to achieve their own agreements on any conditions upon which they agreed. However, if the United Nations believes that international peace and security would be advanced by such agreements, then it should encourage and recommend the process of direct negotiation which alone could lead to such agreement.
I have stated these elementary principles with some care, because the fundamental change which took place with Israel's sovereignty in the responsibility of the United Nations on the one hand, and that of Near Eastern governments on the other, in all matters affecting their relationship, is perhaps not fully reflected in all our past discussions and resolutions. What is called the "Palestine" problem bears no resemblance now to the nature of that problem when it first came before the United Nations. At that time the issue was the attempt of the General Assembly, at the invitation of the mandatory power, to recommend a form of government for a territory in which the United Nations had greater responsibilities than it has in relation to sovereign states. The problem now is of a different character. It is the normal problem of relations between sovereign states, and has thus become assimilated in its nature to the normal and general pattern of international relationships and practices and procedures.
Thus, when we say that Israel and the Arab states are alone responsible for reaching agreement on their relations, we are doing nothing more, but also nothing less, than affirming their statehood both in the context of their rights and in the context of their duties.
But here are also many compelling reasons relating to this particular moment which should lead us to advocate a direct and unfettered peace negotiation. The experience of five years must surely be registered in the continuing process of our work. These years have conclusively proved that the availability of mediating and conciliating agencies cannot itself have any substantial effect on inter-state relations unless the parties meet in free negotiation. The Palestine Conciliation Commission has expressed this conclusion more than once. Its report to the General Assembly dated 23 October 195-0 states:
"The Conciliation Commission considers that the present situation requires that the parties undertake the discussion of all questions outstanding between them. The Commission believes that the General Assembly should urge the parties to engage without delay in direct discussions under the auspices of the United Nations and with its assistance in order to arrive at a peaceful settlement. The Commission considers that within the framework of these negotiations the refugee question should be given priority of consideration. The Commission does not doubt that the parties will be able to arrive, through procedures, consistent with established international practice, and the obligations of members of the United Nations, at peaceful relations which should prevail among them. "
It will be seen from this authoritative utterance that the General Assembly was authoritatively advised over two years ago to take the very step which the joint draft resolution before us now advocates. It will also be noticed that the Commission stated two years ago what the representative of Norway re-affirmed last week: that a consideration of the refugee question must be a part of the general negotiation and not a condition precedent to it.
Thus we have the authority of the Conciliation Commission itself for the very doctrine that international organs of conciliation cannot fulfil a responsibility which rests upon the governments concerned.
When we assert that only the governments concerned, by direct and unfettered negotiations, can settle their outstanding questions, we do more even than affirm the statehood of the parties, the experience of five intensive years, and the conclusions of expert authority. We also record an inescapable legal and political fact: All the relations now existing between the parties affecting their provisional frontiers and their security relationships are embodied in four armistice agreements which derive their validity from the consent of the parties and which prevail until they are revised over any other proposals not embodied in those agreements under the terms of the armistice treaties. Nothing in them can be changed in any degree except by a further act of agreement between the parties, who may, at their mutual discretion, amend those treaties, or develop them into peace treaties. This provisional relationship resting upon consent can never be changed except by a new settlement arising from a further process of consent. This means that no measures affecting such fundamental matters as frontier demarcations, passage and communication from one state to another, whether of civilians or goods, by land or sea or air, can have any status in law unless or until the armistice agreements are amended or replaced.
It is significant that the governments of the Near East have been under exhortation by the General Assembly and the Security Council since 1948 to extend the scope of the armistice agreements "and to seek agreement by negotiations with a view to the final settlement of all questions outstanding between them." There is no doubt in our minds that the conclusion of armistice agreements which could be altered only by mutual consent finally ruled out any possibility that peace ever could be negotiated except by a further act of mutual consent.
The call for a direct settlement by free and unconditional negotiation would be fully in accord with the purposes of the United Nations and with the entire development of international relations in our time. It was never the purpose of the United Nations to replace or supersede direct diplomacy. It was never envisaged that member states would consider themselves entitled to refuse contact or negotiation with other states, and yet complain to an international organ because no agreement had been reached. In this question, and indeed, in many others, the United Nations is being weakened by the premature and comprehensive submission of items, before any honest attempt has been made to exhaust the resources of direct diplomacy. This Organisation was intended to supplement and to co-ordinate, not to replace, the well-tried and traditional concepts of international life. We too often find the submission of items and disputes with no serious attempt to settle them directly, in circumstances wherein the submission or discussion is calculated to prevent and delay rather than to facilitate and expedite a settlement.
The Committee should also reflect that the refusal of Arab governments so far, which we hope is short-lived, to negotiate unconditionally for a settlement with Israel is something unique in the life of the contemporary world.
This absence of contact between Israel and the Arab states has become such a familiar part of the international scene that we sometimes fail to realise what an extraordinary and solitary event it is. The period which has elapsed since the Second World War has not been a triumph for international conciliation, yet there have been marked achievements. A peace treaty has been signed between Japan and the governments of its former enemies. Agreements liquidating a state of war and establishing relations have been established between Germany and its former enemies - and here is the one special case where the process in our view has been precipitate. The United Nations is seized of other disputes, which all its members follow with deep sympathy and concern, such as the questions outstanding between India and Pakistan. But in all these cases full political and economic relations exist, and disputes which arise are periodically discussed and reviewed within the framework of those normal and diplomatic relations. Thus the failure of Arab governments to meet with Israel brings them into conflict with the whole tendency of international relations in our generation.
How sharply this situation in the Middle East conflicts with the most developed systems of regional co-operation in our times! The concept of international relations, to be by direct settlement, is impressively enshrined as an example to all other regions by the states of the American continent in the various instruments which they have signed. Thus, the Charter of the Organisation of American States, signed at Bogota on 30 April 1948, stated with lucid simplicity:
"Article 20: All international disputes that may arise between American states shall be submitted to the peaceful procedures set forth in this Charter before being referred to the United Nations.
"Article 21: The following are peaceful procedures: direct negotiations, good offices, mediation, investigation and conciliation, judicial settlement, arbitration and those which the parties to the dispute may especially agree upon at the time.
"Article 22: In the event that a dispute arises between two or more American states, which in the opinion of one of them cannot be settled by the usual diplomatic channels, the parties shall agree on some other peaceful procedure that will enable them to reach a solution."
The Committee will notice here the absolute priority of direct negotiation over all other means of settlement. There is no just reason at all why the United Nations should not recommend to our region the application of principles of international conduct which find their expression in these texts and indeed in the Charter of the United Nations.
Mr. Chairman, I have spoken so far on the central theme that a simple recommendation by the General Assembly for a directly negotiated settlement is not merely appropriate now, but in the light of experience and previous advice, is long overdue. It has been fully established that a recommendation which includes any alternative to a direct and unfettered negotiation is, in effect, an assurance that no negotiations of any kind will take place. Some of our resolutions in the past have invited the Arab States and Israel to negotiate either directly or with an international commission. Is it not obvious that in a problem where the issue is the absence of direct negotiation, such phrases actually give United Nations sanction for evading normal international intercourse? These formulations actually condone non-recognition by some member states of others. They encourage some governments to think of others as being somehow infected to the point where absence of contact is a fully justified attitude. It is no satisfaction to us to recall that we warned against this outcome when it was first suggested, as in 1950, when the Chinese amendment diverted the General Assembly from recommending direct negotiations and thereby contributed to the prolongation of our present deadlock for two further years. Surely there is something inherently fallacious in the idea that State A can settle a dispute with State B by "negotiating with" States C, D and E. Our differences are between Israel and the Arab States; and it is no wonder that the Conciliation Commission has repeatedly endeavoured to make us all understand that even its capacity to use good offices depends upon the prior establishment of direct contacts between the states which are the objects of the dispute.
The reports before us show that the entire and exclusive progress reported by the Commission during the past year arises from weeks of close and laborious co-operation between the Commission and the Government of Israel to produce a result of which the Arab countries were the sole and full beneficiaries. Mr. Chairman, after five years of independence and full international recognition, my Government feels that it has a right no longer to co-operate with an attitude or procedure which implies that Israel is not fit to be approached by Arab states in matters of concern to those states and to Israel. Henceforward, we feel fully entitled to require that if Arab governments have any requests or claims to submit for our consideration, they do so directly.
Mr. Chairman, having dealt with the matter of direct negotiations, I come to discuss whether an agreement to be reached between Israel and the Arab states must necessarily conform with previous resolutions of the General Assembly.
I do not believe that we have ever thrashed this problem out with sufficient clarity and frankness to reveal that a provision, which may sound innocuous, is in actual fact a vast system of roadblocks on the path to peace. First, I am forced to take issue with one impression which my Arab colleagues may have left in some minds. If I could believe the evidence of my ears, the distinguished representative of Syria told this Committee that the Arab governments "have always accepted United Nations resolutions". Now, with all due allowance to the exigencies of debate, this goes beyond any conceivable definition of truth. What we call the Palestine problem is, in essence, nothing but the result of the decision of Arab states to overthrow General Assembly resolutions, not by peaceful non-compliance which they may consider to be their right under the Charter, but by the use of armed force. I recall that the first resolution of the General Assembly was a recommendation to the mandatory power and to the peoples of Palestine to carry out certain provisions for the establishment of partition. The record states, in the report of the United Nations Commission responsible for supervising the implementation of that resolution, that:
"Arab opposition to the plan of the Assembly has taken the form of organised efforts by strong Arab elements, both inside and outside Palestine, to prevent its implementation and to thwart its objectives by threats and acts of violence, including repeated armed incursions into Palestine territory. The Commission has had to report to the Security Council that powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein. "
In response to this definition, the representative of Egypt elevated this particular resistance to a general creed and said:
"No one," he said, "could say that compliance is imperative or that the countries which did not comply are acting against the Charter or undermining the structure of the United Nations. We, the Egyptian Government, do not choose to comply with the General Assembly's Resolution on Palestine. This is our privilege under the Charter. "
The next substantive resolution was that of 1948. 1 should point out that the 1948 resolution, whose text I would strongly advise my colleagues to read, does not address itself to the existence of the State of Israel. The central theme of that resolution, as I have once mentioned, was Paragraph 5, calling upon the parties to settle their outstanding differences. On this the Conciliation Commission has recorded that the Arab governments in their contacts with the Commission "have shown no readiness to discuss a peace settlement with Israel as envisaged in that resolution."
Mr. Chairman, I could but will not speak at length on the Security Council Resolutions of May 18 and May 22, 1948, calling for a cease-fire which the Arab states rejected; of the Resolution of July 10 calling for a renewal of the truce, which they rejected, leading the Security Council to invoke Chapter VII of the Charter for the first time; of the proposal for a ten day breathing space, a cease-fire which they rejected; of the Security Council's Resolution of September 1, 1951, calling for a cessation of blockade practices which Egypt still disregards. But in the light of this record, tile Arab insistence on the absolute infallibility of resolutions rings strangely in our ears. I am not attempting here to reprove Arab governments for actions; but do not their representatives owe us the candour and honesty of not appearing as the virtuous exponents of the unvarying sanctity of resolutions? If we are to be as frank as the gravity of this problem and the solemnity of this moment requires, it can be shown that all governments concerned with the Palestine problem since the mandatory power submitted it to the United Nations have on some occasions not found themselves able to comply with resolutions of the General Assembly in certain circumstances.
What is unique and distinctive in the Arab record is that four of their acts of non-compliance have had a very special attribute which does not mar the record of Israel or of any other state. On three occasions Arab opposition to resolutions has taken the form of armed attack and on one occasion it has taken the form of a stubborn maintenance of a warlike blockade. Nobody has any record of non-compliance with resolutions in the slightest degree comparable to this. Their practice, I fear, has been to oppose resolutions at the time and in the conditions when their implementation was possible, and then to invoke implementation when it has been quite safe to assume that they were no longer capable of being put into effect.
It reminds me of the practice which some of us indulged in our early youth of ringing doorbells and then running away when there was the least chance of the door being opened. Like the Arab references to previous Resolutions in the present context, this practice caused amusement to some, annoyance to others and practical advantage to nobody at all. It is in the Jerusalem case that the Arab habit of ringing doorbells is most vividly illustrated. If you ring the Jerusalem bell, two doors open: one towards the United Nations statute for the Holy Places, which was advocated here two years ago; the other looking out on an international enclave around the main Holy Places. Each of these would have offered honourable access to the central objective of the United Nations, which was the expression of United Nations' concern for universal religious interests. But by the time either of these doors were opened, our Arab colleagues had fled so far down the street that they were completely lost from sight; and some of them are still so unobtrusive that Mr. Shukeiri has had to pretend that he has rung the bell on Jordan's behalf.
Mr. Chairman, the Government of Israel, on the other hand, has always shown a serious attitude to whatever proposals appeared able at any given time to express and fulfil the interests of the international community in the protection of holy shrines and free access to them. This earnestness and constructive spirit represents our constant and reverent concern for the sacred associations which hover over Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
The argument against tying a negotiated settlement to past resolutions is more substantial even than the reference to the record. It is because past resolutions, individually and together, have not produced an agreement or a settlement that we are discussing this question in the Committee today. Let us think of the great transformations which have come upon the region since the original resolutions were adopted. The emergence of a sovereign state in place of an international territory; a vast influx of population into Israel from Europe and the Arab world, adding a population of one million people to the population of Israel since the time when the first refugee resolution was proposed; the initiation of great works projects for the employment and integration of refugees in Arab countries; the conclusion of armistice treaties creating relationships and circumstances completely unprovided for in the resolutions which preceded their signature; the annexation of large parts of western Palestine by Jordan and Egypt in place of the establishment of a separate Arab state economically federated with Israel; five years of boycott and blockade instead of the close economic co-operation originally envisaged; the rise and fall of regimes and political systems; the emergence, as we hope, of new dispositions and tendencies of thought in all countries of the area: - how can all these vast and revolutionary changes have occurred and be deemed to have no effect upon the unchanging validity of recommendations which were regarded as effective in totally different circumstances prevailing years ago?
If we are to be faithful craftsmen in the greatest of all arts - construction of world peace - we must continually perfect our instruments and sometimes not hesitate to change them.
In the light of all these vast changes of circumstances and outlooks of changes for which the Arab governments are no less responsible than anybody else, the need for "solutions, not for resolutions" as Secretary Acheson has expressed it, should be frankly affirmed. I could not think of anything more negative, more hostile to our prospect of success in the great adventure of direct negotiations on the threshold of which we may now stand, than to stultify its prospects at the very outset by requiring the new vision of the Middle Eastern future to conform with unfulfilled proposals of the past.
Nor can we afford at this grave moment to employ vague and ambiguous language which for the sake of transitory harmony in this Committee would perpetuate deadlocks and discords in the area itself In the opinion of my Government, any measures to limit the parties in their sovereign power of agreement by preconditions of any kind relating to the need of conformity with any preconceived programs, would be an error of historic proportions, which at one stroke would shut off and render inoperative the prospect of a peaceful Middle East on the lines which I would now like to submit to this Committee. For in the expectation that the General Assembly will take the historic step of recommending a direct and freely negotiated peace, my Government has instructed me to submit its views on the scope and shape of such a settlement.
It is our view, Mr. Chairman, that the relations between Israel and the Arab states have six major aspects all of which should be amongst those figuring in the agenda of the direct Peace negotiation. In presenting this outline I am, of course, not suggesting that the General Assembly should burden itself with a direct discussion of these detailed provisions. My Government has merely deemed it fitting that the Committee, seized now by an Eight-Power proposal for a directly negotiated settlement, should see for itself the broad vistas of common interest which the adoption of that Resolution would open out for the parties. I should like to summarise these questions under the following headings:
- Security questions.
- Territorial questions.
- Refugee questions.
- Economic questions.
- Regional co-operation
- Social and Health Questions
- Scientific and Cultural Questions
- Technical Assistance Co-operation
- Questions of diplomatic and juridical relations.
There is no significance at all in the sequence or priority of these items. They are merely chosen as a convenient method of creating a continuous picture.
The starting point of this discussion is the system of armistice agreements which were concluded between Israel and the Arab states between February and August of 1949, and which have governed our relations ever since.
The states of the Near East owe to these Armistice Agreements whatever peace and stability they have been able to enjoy in the past four years. The armistice agreements have proved their capacity to solve, within their own framework, all disputes, including disputes resulting in armed action, which have arisen from time to time. Where such solutions could not be secured in the first instance by the parties themselves, they have been reached by appeal to the Security Council, acting under its duty to deal with situations likely to cause a breach of international peace. In all cases except one, the directives of the Security Council have been successfully fulfilled. The one exception relates to the Security Council's injunction of September 1, 195 1, for the cessation by Egypt of all acts of belligerency and blockade. Here too, of course, my Government retains the right to redress the matter by further appeal to the Security Council, should it so decide, or by any other legitimate means.
Now, the armistice agreements, while preferable to whatever preceded them and completely irreplaceable except by a peace settlement, do not constitute a satisfactory basis for the relations between Israel and the Arab states in the realm of security. They leave the military forces of both states in close and vigilant scrutiny of the frontiers. They require security provisions of a sternness and caution which would not be necessary if frontier disputes could be settled at a diplomatic level, through the normal civil network of controls with the frontier and customs officers of both parties working together every day. The unsatisfactory nature of the position is reflected in a great series of incidents involving frequent loss of life, and many dangerous tensions especially on the long and intricate frontier between Israel and territory of the Kingdom of Jordan.
There are other features of a general armistice position which distinguish it from a normal, peaceful relationship. There is a necessity, after our experience of sudden invasion four years ago and in the light of continued infiltrations, to receive more binding guarantees against aggression than those contained in the agreements. I would recall that the armistice agreements were meant to be succeeded after a short time by peace settlements: they are described in their own texts as transition between armistice and permanent peace. Their maintenance for so long a period puts them under strain. It is therefore appropriate that the peace settlement which succeeds them should contain strong affirmations of non-aggression. Moreover, there is no doubt that the governments of the Near East in the present situation are maintaining higher military budgets than they would in other circumstances. Thus there is a permanent danger of an arms race and excessive sums are being diverted to security in its narrower sense at the expense of the paramount needs of economic and social progress.
Moreover, while each state tries to be strong in its relation to the other, the area of the Middle East as a whole remains vulnerable in the contingency of wider international conflict, and no steps are possible which would enable the region to consult and concert all its action to strengthen peace in the Middle East as a whole and to contribute to international security.
It is, therefore, my Government's belief that a peace negotiation should contain four elements under the security heading:
First, the peace settlement should include a non-aggression clause. I wish to emphasise that in our view a non-aggression undertaking should be an element of a total peace settlement and not a substitute for it. We have heard assertions that the Arab states on their part allege a fear of Israel expansion. Here I would give assurance that these fears are quite unfounded. Moreover, a country which has a genuine fear of its neighbour's expansion should welcome a peace treaty embodying non-aggression guarantees and treaty obligations recognising the territorial integrity of each state. It is surely quite inadmissible to assert a fear of aggression and, at the same time, to refuse the exchange of non-aggression guarantees and of measures to implement them within a total peace settlement.
Second, such a settlement would enable a reasonable limitation of military budgets and the avoidance of competitive re-armament. At present we face both the dangers of an arms race and heavy financial burdens at the expense of economic progress and financial stability. If a peace settlement of the kind we are now discussing were achieved, the question of arms supplies to the area could be examined by both parties in direct relation to the defence needs of the region as a whole and with a proper regard for a balance between its security on the one hand and its economic and financial interests on the other.
Third, the transition from armistice to a peace settlement would eliminate the local outbreaks and violence along the frontiers through armed incursions and infiltrations. The peace negotiations should consider practical measures to that end.
Fourth, the settlement here envisaged would enable the states of the Near East to survey methods of regional co-operation for strengthening peace in the area as a whole within the terms of the United Nations Charter.
In summarising the value of these four security provisions under the first item of the proposed peace negotiations, I should like to point out that the advantage accruing from a settlement of these matters would be mutual and would not benefit one side alone. So far as possible we have tried to establish this concept of mutual benefit. Both parties would feel the advantage of a sense of tranquillity arising from non-aggression pacts within the framework of a peace settlement. Both parties would benefit from the elimination of factors which draw their governments into arms purchases beyond their capacities at the expense of their social, economic and financial recovery and progress. Also, the United Nations would benefit by being relieved of a difficult and expensive responsibility in maintaining a large and cumbersome machinery of armistice supervision. Both parties would benefit from a new framework of relations which would eliminate the tensions, outbreaks and periodic explosions which now take place at the armistice frontier. And finally a co-operative effort to plan the defence of our area would enable all its peoples to contribute more effectively to the strengthening of international peace in the Middle East.
I have already recalled that the armistice treaties have established, by mutual consent of the parties, provisional frontiers within which they have crystallised their national life throughout the past four years. These frontiers can only be changed by a process of negotiation and agreement. The peace negotiation would enable the parties to exchange proposals on the manner in which the armistice frontiers might be mutually adjusted for a peace settlement. One of the problems to be considered would be the elimination of demilitarised zones, where division or obscurity of authority has caused great tensions at critical times. It would also enable adjustments to be made, by suitable exchanges, for reuniting certain villages with their lands and fields in cases where the armistice frontiers now separate them.
This position in favour of adjusting frontiers only by mutual consent has been accepted by the parties in the armistice treaties themselves. I would point out that the tradition of the United Nations has always insisted that frontier adjustments, above all other matters, lies in the exclusive responsibility of the governments concerned, [provided only that they are sanctioned by their joint agreement and do not rest on unilateral force. Agreed territorial adjustments in development of the armistice treaties would give a sense of stability to all parties and contribute to the pacification of the whole region, and especially the border areas.
The views of my Government on the refugee question were outlined fully by myself in the discussion of our first agenda item of this Committee. I would state again that this tragic suffering is the legacy of the war against Israel and, therefore, the responsibility of those who initiated that war. However, this consideration in no way affects the profound anxiety and concern with which the Government and people of Israel have observed the maintenance of these unhappy victims in a refugee status without any integration into the lives of communities in which they would feel materially, spiritually and culturally at home.
My Government supported the resolution which was adopted by the General Assembly earlier this month with reference to the United Nations' Works and Relief Projects. We do not doubt that if that program is carried out with the sincere co-operation of all the governments concerned, a humane and just solution of the refugee problem will be rapidly facilitated. The State of Israel, which has exceeded the efforts and sacrifices of any state in history on behalf of refugees coming to it from outside, regards this problem as one of deep and urgent humanitarian concern.
The peace negotiation which I am outlining should discuss earnestly the question of international co-operation for the solution of the refugee question. Nothing could be more inspiring than for the two negotiating parties to make joint proposals to the United Nations for international assistance in a solution of this problem which both the Arab states and Israel have defined as international in its scope.
My Government has seized every opportunity, even within the present context of political tension, of responding to requests made to it by international organs on behalf of refugees. We were approached last year for assistance in three matters affecting the welfare of refugees, two of them involving, and the other portending, great strain on our economy, which is already extended to the utmost degree. The Conciliation Commission invited our agreement to the release of blocked accounts held by Arab refugees in Israel Banks. It is not usual for governments to arrange the flow of foreign currency into countries which are doing everything possible to strangle their economy by boycott, and which even sometimes maintain a claim of the existence of a state of war. However, we did take this unusual step, because we saw the plight of the refugees first, and the political attitude of the Arab governments second. I renew my expression of appreciation for the words of gratitude which the Palestine Conciliation Commission has expressed in response to this illustration of Israel's goodwill. We were informed that acts of this kind would make a profound impression upon Arab opinion; and we are scrutinising the records of this debate in an effort to discover whether or not this expectation is fulfilled.
Moreover, at the request of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, my Government agreed this year to take over full responsibility for the integration into Israel of 19,000 refugees. Until recently the same humanitarian consideration guided my Government in facilitating the uniting of families under an agreed program, thus facilitating the passage of thousands of refugees across the lines, notwithstanding the continued existence of a condition far short of peace.
The latest Progress Report of the Conciliation Commission describes my Government's co-operation in making available the records on which a study of the compensation question may be pursued. This Committee will recall that notwithstanding our view that a settlement of the refugee question is an integral part of the establishment of normal relations, as indeed the Conciliation Commission has reported, my Government agreed to the request of the Conciliation Commission to embark on a separate discussion of the compensation question. My Government has accepted the obligation, which it now instructs me to renew, to pay agreed compensation for lands abandoned by Arab refugees, and it will co-operate with the United Nations organs concerned in working out a plan to that effect in accordance with the statement made by the Foreign Minister of Israel in the Knesset on November 6, 1951. 1 would draw the attention of the Committee here to the following position: One of the chief factors which affect Israel's capacity of payment is the boycott and blockade imposed by Arab states. Thus, the negotiation of this peace settlement, by removing those abnormal conditions, would have a direct bearing on the degree and rate of progress in payment of compensation. In the meantime, however, we shall continue to co-operate with appropriate United Nations organs in making plans and detailed arrangements for that contingency.
In summarising this question, I would observe that the refugee problem arose from war and has been perpetuated by the failure to institute relationships, in which it might be solved by co-operative regional effort with international aid. The peace negotiations which I am now outlining would enable representatives of Israel and of Arab states to exchange their views on this subject, in a spirit of sincere concern for the plight of these innocent victims. The benefits which would flow from such a settlement would release the Arab states as well as Israel from the tensions and frustrations which this problem has brought to both.
I suggest, Mr. Chairman, that it is no less important for Israel and the Arab states to restore their economic relationships than it is for them to achieve political co-operation. The Middle East as a region suffers greatly from the fact that its economic progress has not kept pace with its rate of political advance. The contrast between political progress and economic inertia is responsible for many of the dissatisfactions which afflict our area, and have weakened democratic institutions within it almost to the point of disappearance outside of Israel. It would be inspiring and fruitful to have Arab and Israel representatives in the negotiation of a peace settlement allow their minds to range over economic problems, nearly all of which are relevant to all Near Eastern countries, and related to the region as a whole, to its political stability as well as to its prosperity.
I should like to suggest here five examples to be considered by the negotiators of the manner in which co-operation between peaceful states could enhance the economic welfare of the Middle East. First, of course, comes the replacement of the present boycott and blockade by normal economic relations. It is, perhaps, not sufficiently realised that the benefits of such a step would be felt no less by the Arab than by the Israel economies. Some Arab states, notably Jordan and Lebanon, suffer considerably from the boycott as their own press is beginning eloquently to reveal. Israel, especially with its recent growth of population and its industrial development, offers a market for Arab products many of which do not find an easy outlet farther from home. I refer especially, in the light of experience, to the perishable agricultural products of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, the meat of Iraq, the cotton of Egypt. So far I have referred to Israel as a market for exports from Arab countries. But in addition, there is no doubt that our own manufacture could yield a varied range of products to be available to Arab countries from close at hand. The end of the boycott and restoration of trade would thus be a mutual, and not a unilateral benefit.
Secondly, the industrial revolution in Israel is accompanied by similar processes in Arab states. It is clear that Near Eastern countries, especially those with dense populations, can only achieve a reasonable level of prosperity by supplementing their agricultural production by industrial growth. Industrial progress in each country could be facilitated if there were processes of co-operation in the development of markets, in order to assure best results for the area as a whole.
Thirdly, there are projects for exploiting raw materials that could be greatly improved by inter-state co-operation. The Dead Sea, a great source of mineral wealth, extends over Israel and Jordan territory. The electrical power scheme in the North was originally envisaged as an inter-state project and could again so become. Successful measures which have been taken by Israel to develop its phosphate and other mineral resources in the Central Negev have advantages to offer both as regards geological data and mining methods, which would be available for similar developments in neighbouring countries, into which those mineral resources extend. Such success as Israel has managed to achieve by its own efforts is merely an augury of the far wider benefits which all countries of the area could derive from co-operative efforts in the field of the exploitation of raw materials.
Fourthly, the water problem is the key to our region's economic destiny. In its totality the Middle East possesses water resources which would enable a vast increase of population, of power and of industrial and agricultural activity. However, the international frontiers do not correspond with any rational distribution of those water resources. The peace negotiation, in its economic aspect, could give serious consideration to regional irrigation schemes, which are only possible by inter-state arrangements and without which no rational utilisation of rivers is possible. Israel, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon could all derive great benefits from such co-operation.
Fifthly, an economic problem common to the whole region is the age-old encroachment of the desert upon the cultivated area. Modern science has taught us not to regard any desert as permanent. Not only can the advance of the desert be stopped, its existing domination can be turned back and reduced - by afforestation, by conservation methods, and by irrigation. The necessity to create extensive economic opportunities in a small area has caused Israel to develop its research and activity in this field to a significant degree. There would be great advantage in the exchange of knowledge and co-operation between all governments in the area, which face the problem of turning sandy wastes occupying great stretches of their national territory into flourishing gardens.
In the last months of his life, President Weizmann reached the conclusion that this perhaps was the most fruitful field in which the resources of science could be applied to the economic progress and, therefore, the political stability of our region. From his initiative, there arose the plan for the Conquest of the Desert Exhibition, which will take place in Jerusalem in the summer of 1953. Many governments, especially those which have had the experience of conquering the desert in the American, European and Asian continents, and in North Africa, will be represented at an interchange of views and experiences, leading, we hope, to practical co-operation. As a prelude to this occasion, and also at Dr. Weizmann's initiative, there was held in May 1952 under the auspices of the United Nations' Economic, Social and Cultural Organisation a symposium of eminent scientists from all over the world to consider the problem of cultivating and settling and zones. Owing to the present state of political relations, this discussion, so relevant to the central problem of improving living standards in the area, was not attended by a single Arab representative. Can anybody make sense out of a system of relationships which prevents us from freely exchanging our efforts and experiences in the battle against poverty and disease, which are the common enemies of our region as a whole?
I should like to discuss under four headings the manner in which regional co-operation could benefit all countries in the area, beyond the field of direct economic development, which I have just discussed.
The absence of normal and peaceful relations between the Arab states and Israel provides no greater anomaly than the absence of any direct communication by land, sea and air amongst the countries of the area. In the dawn of its history, at a time when communications were halting and primitive, the Middle East was an area of active inter-communication which accounted for much of its material and cultural primacy.
The life of our region suffers badly in every sphere through a break in the chain of communication, and the peace negotiation should give urgent thought to ways and means of overcoming to mutual advantage this unnatural heritage of the way. It you imagine railway communications running from Haifa to Beirut, Damascus and Istanbul in the North, to Amman and beyond in the East, and traffic resumed on the Haifa-Cairo line, you can see at once how the trade and commerce of the area, as well as its cultural interchange, would be strengthened beyond measure. Similarly, resumption and expansion of road communications between Cairo, Jerusalem and Beirut, and between Haifa and Baghdad, would stimulate the life and the commerce of the Middle East above any level so far attained.
In the context of a peace settlement there would be no justification for portraying the southern part of Israel as though it were some kind of a "wedge" between various parts of the Arab world. Our very wedge-like position should compel the region to seek a more complete system of integration and to aspire to a permanent security in an all-round peace settlement, Indeed, within the context of the settlement which I am here presenting, Israel would regard itself in this area as a bridge and not as a wedge. There are many ways, without prejudice to the territorial sovereignty of any state, in which expression could be given to that concept in the sphere of inter-state communications.
It would also be fruitful for the peace negotiation to give thought to problems of maritime communication, including the use of ports. The armistice system requires, and I have no doubt will secure a suspension of active blockade practices. But a peace settlement can carry maritime co-operation into more positive spheres than the mere agreement, to which we are already pledged, to leave each other's shipping alone. As a result of the present boycott policy some Arab states inflict great damage upon themselves by their own exclusion from access to the coast. This is especially true of the Kingdom of Jordan which is completely land-locked as regards the Mediterranean, and is therefore dependent upon intricate and artificially long communications through other ports. In a peace negotiation my Government would again give consideration to the provision of free port facilities at Haifa, thus creating a direct commercial link between the Mediterranean and the hinterland of the Fertile Crescent.
On the Red Sea, in the South, appropriate arrangements of inter-communication could take place between the Israel Port Development at Eilat and those ports in the Gulf of Akaba which lie in the territory of Egypt and Jordan.
The freedom of the region from the present blockade would have reassuring effects, on the maritime world in general, and produce lower insurance rates for shipping proceeding to all Middle Eastern ports.
The discussion on communications could also deal with the institution of radio, telephone and postal cables in a continuous network throughout the countries of the Near East. At this time, the artificial attempt to circumvent Israel imposes, we understand, upon the Arab states long and circuitous routes to the increase of cost, and the reduction of efficiency.
The tourist traffic between Israel, Egypt and Lebanon, which was once a productive source of income for all countries, could again be reopened, while the area as a whole with its historic monuments and scenic beauty would attract greater volumes of tourists from outside itself if the present dislocations and difficulties were eliminated in all the spheres of inter-communication.
I would summarise this item by saying that the peace settlement would, in the sphere of communications, re-establish the continuity of our area, produce an atmosphere of integration and harmony, and eliminate what is both a cause and an acute symptom of the present regional conflict.
The Committee will be aware that one of the chief handicaps of the Middle East in all its enterprises is its low standard of public health and a lack of progress in social organisation. In some of these spheres, there is room for exchange of information and experience; in others we envisage practical co-operation to be worked out in the negotiation to which I refer. Surely, the battle against malaria in Huleh, the Jordan valley and elsewhere, against quarantine pests and traffic in narcotics are matters of mutual concern in which indeed the absence of regional co-operation is a prejudice to the general human welfare. The medical centres in Israel and in the Arab countries have accumulated a great store of knowledge on those health problems which arise from the special conditions of our region, its climate, its soil and its endemic diseases. The medical traditions of each people are long and distinguished. But the average health standards in Middle Eastern populations are not yet sufficient to enable the area to succeed even in the defence of its security, still less in its tasks of social, economic and intellectual revival.
But the health problem is only one of many which speak in favour of a regional approach to questions of social welfare. One of the acute problems in the Middle East is that of agrarian reform. We have observed with sympathy the recent efforts of the governments of Egypt and Syria to correct this long-standing disability. Israel, on its side, has experimented actively in this field, in the search of new forms of co-operative and smallholder settlements, and in the application of legislative and social restraints against the accumulation of large estates and the creation of an agricultural proletariat without property or leasehold rights.
A new research project now being carried out under the United Nations Technical Assistance for the establishment of suitable rural housing out of a mechanical processing of soil is now in full progress. If successful, it will prove the possibility of providing rural housing without the import of expensive building materials at the cost of foreign currency.
Labour organisation is another field in which the countries of the Middle East could with benefit, beginning from the peace negotiation, exchange their experience and create procedures of co-operation. To sum up this item I would say that the development of society in our countries which are all at an early stage of their political growth could profit by the institution of co-operative procedures in health control and social organisation.
There have been periods in history when the interaction of the Hebrew and Moslem minds has produced a great flowering of cultural and scientific talent. Anyone who contemplates the common elements in the Hebrew and Arabic cultures will see their profound depth and high elevation when they achieve their best expressions. The sources of Israel's culture nourished the great streams of Christianity and Islam, whilst keeping its own native source perennially strong. Each culture is now faced by the common problem of adapting its ancient language to the expanding needs of modem affairs.
The interchange by governmental agreement of students and of university personnel would have great effect in reminding both peoples of the common elements in their own traditions, thus removing perhaps more than anything else the unnatural estrangement which has come over our relationship in recent decades. There is no doubt that a reconciliation between Israel and the independent Arab states would be reflected in wider spiritual fraternity in Jewish-Moslem relations everywhere else in the world.
Research projects such as we have established in the Weizmann Institute of Science and the University of Jerusalem are investigating problems of relevance to the area as a whole. The representatives of governments should exchange ideas on pooling and co-ordinating research.
The efforts of the United Nations and all friendly governments to assist our region in many aspects of its life have been frustrated by the character of our political relations. The peace negotiations should rapidly reach agreements releasing the area from this deprivation. It has been impossible to hold a regional Committee Meeting of the World Health Organisation since 1950. The International Labour Office Employment Seminar to be held in Teheran had to be cancelled in November 1951. Where we do not have cancellation, we have expensive and wasteful duplication. Thus such enterprises as the Food and Agricultural Organisation Bank and the United Nations Joint Training Centre for economic development were set up in Istanbul in 1951 for non-Arabs, and in Beirut in 1952 for Arabs. The International Civil Aviation Organisation has actually had to set up an Air Traffic Co-ordination Centre in Cyprus at a high cost, both for maintenance and installation and with impaired efficiency because Beirut refuses to communicate weather reports or give flight information to aircraft bound to and from Israel airports. Are there no human solidarities which prevail over political rancorous? Do not the unlimited expanses of sea and air appeal to anything common in our human personality?
Air development could be a great source of wealth for the Middle East with its advantageous position astride three continents. The airlines of very many great aviation countries, of the United States, Great Britain and France, of the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and the Scandinavian countries and the Philippines, as well as the Israel National Airline, pass in and out of the airport of Lydda, as they do of Cairo and Beirut, by separate and parallel channels. Egyptian and Israel Airlines would have much advantage from normal facilities.
Important technical assistance programs are at work in the Near East, both under the auspices of the United States and of the United Nations. All the countries in the region suffer from the absence of technical assistance co-operation in regional water problems, health, organisational problems as well as in meteorology and plant production. Israel would welcome full participation by the neighbouring states in the United Nations' Technical Assistance projects now being carried out in Israel, such as the pilot plant for adobe housing, and the F.A.O. Soil Conservation School. We on our part would welcome participation in the United Nations' Statistical Centre at Beirut, and the UNESCO Fundamental Education Centre in Cairo.
The considerations which I have outlined apply to similar regional problems, such as locust control. All of these measures could be carried forward with permanent advantage by the establishment, so far prevented by Arab reluctance, of the United Nations' Regional Economic Commission, which could duplicate and, I hope, even exceed the successes of similar economic regional commissions which operate for Europe and Latin America. My Government is prepared to support the establishment of this Commission and to co-operate in its work.
These are merely illustrations of the wide variety of co-operative efforts on which the negotiators could build a strong foundation for regional prosperity.
Mr. Chairman, this final item in the proposed pattern of new relations is the framework for all the others. The establishment of normal relations, in all the manifold fields which I have outlined, should be given formal effect in diplomatic and international instruments. There should be a declaration abandoning the unilateral theory of a state of war, for a people at war with another can make no claims on that state's consideration or assistance in any matter whatsoever. A Treaty of Peace should be succeeded by Trade Treaties and Transit Agreements. A Treaty of Commerce, Navigation and Friendship should replace the ostracism and silence which mark our relationship today. Air Agreements, Visa Agreements and the Conventions which normally exist between sovereign states at peace with each other should be negotiated. The peaceful relations to be thus established would have their reflection in the work of this Organisation upon which also the boycotts and enmities of the Arab-Israel war have cast a persistent shadow. Liberated from the burden of this ceaseless and sterile controversy, freed from this contemplation of old resolutions and old conflicts, our delegations could make a much more purposeful and co-operative contribution to the common effort of the United Nations in defence of universal peace and human progress and the advancement of legitimate aspirations in the area. Such is the general outline of a peace negotiation: security guarantees and co-operation; agreed territorial adjustments; economic co-operation including joint water projects and development schemes; regional co-operation including the opening of access to ports and renewal of intercommunication between all parts of the Arab world; joint consideration of the refugee question with immediate preparatory work on compensation; formulation of peace treaties and trade pacts.
It should not be said that there is anything utopian or visionary in the prospects which I have delineated here. This is just the Israel view of a possible agenda for a direct peace negotiation between Israel and the neighbouring Arab states. We should wish to meet with each Arab state as we met with each Arab state to conclude armistice agreements, in order to discuss the application in each relationship of the principles and procedures which I have described. It should be understood that any negotiations between two states should not encroach upon the interests of any third state, or upon those of the international community in the Holy Land.
It would be natural in view of the varied nature of the subjects which engage our mutual interest, that some simultaneous discussion should proceed of each main category. The conclusions should be formally consolidated in the treaty which should emerge as their result. I must say again that both the list of subjects and their order are purely illustrative. Negotiation in each case should start with an agreed agenda, composed of the suggestions and proposals of both parties.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, for those who consider that this is a prospect beyond realisation I would point out that but a few years ago there existed, in simpler and less ambitious forms, a process of interchange between the Jewish people in Palestine and the neighbouring countries. The countries around us derived full benefit from our work when it was on a much smaller scale. Our immigrant population, which began to be fully productive only after a time lag, provided a steady and growing market for their agricultural produce and industrial raw materials. Palestine headed the list of export markets from all the neighbouring countries. Interest was evinced all around in our scientific achievements and social innovations. Experts of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem went to Iraq by invitation to draw up plans of afforestation and combating locusts and to organise an entomological service. Emissaries from Iraq were amongst us to investigate commercial organisation and rural production. Syria sent missions to study workers' housing. Lebanon despatched agricultural officials to study methods of botanic research. Governmental missions from Egypt carried out comprehensive studies of agricultural co-operation and experimentation in Jewish Palestine which were embodied in printed reports. From all Middle Eastern countries patients flocked to Jerusalem for medical treatment and Jerusalem doctors were called to neighbouring capitals for consultations and operations. On the other side of the picture, our own experts and emissaries travelled in the Arab countries to contemplate, to study and to learn.
Today, with the great dynamism of newly won independence and swift industrial progress, we could achieve together, each within its own limits and in co-operation with others, a development of the area with its vast human and material resources, on a scale and spirit commensurate with the great renaissance which came upon the American continent when its communications were opened up a century ago. This is the prospect which the United Nations would inaugurate if it would recommend to Israel and the Arab states that they enter into direct free and unfettered negotiations for the establishment of peaceful and neighbourly relations. The blueprint of peace which I have here outlined is different in many respects, sometimes fundamentally different, from that envisaged in past circumstances and in past resolutions. If it does not conform with our past conception, it does I think accord with the requirements of our common future. The General Assembly and all governments, especially Arab governments will we hope, give their most mature and serious and deliberate consideration to this approach.
I would say that Eight Powers have given us perhaps the most solemn moment in the development of this question. If we seize it we shall assemble next year and be able to echo the words which the Pilgrim Fathers of the American Continent said with thankfulness after enduring the rigors of their first arduous year. We shall say as they said: "We have made a clearing in the wilderness, and another year will see a larger clearing, a better garnering. We have made a beginning in a hostile world."
When these proposals are translated into reality as a consequence of the actions of the United Nations in calling for a free and direct peace negotiation, the prestige of this Organisation will be enhanced by the fact that it adopted a Resolution at the instance of forward looking governments, looking towards the establishment of peace in the proud and venerable area where the arts of civilisation were born and whence the call for universal brotherhood came down through the ages to successive generations of men.