United Nations (UN)

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UNITED NATIONS (UN) , a worldwide organization of states established in 1945, in the wake of World War ii, with a view, primarily, to maintain international peace and security and also bring about cooperation among nations in the economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian spheres.

Most, though not all, countries are members of the un, which has become the most important international forum for states to exchange views, conduct diplomatic negotiations, and adopt resolutions calling for concerted action by the world community. As a medium of discussion and resolution, the un has been instrumental in the process leading to the creation of the State of Israel, as well as in the course of Israel's ongoing struggle for survival. It has also been utilized as a forum for debates on a number of issues pertaining to the plight of distressed Jewish communities in the Diaspora, particularly Arab countries and the Soviet Union.

The Partition Resolution (1947)

At the inception of the un, Palestine was still a *Mandate territory under the administration of the United Kingdom. In Chapter xii of the un Charter, adopted on June 26, 1945, an international trusteeship system was established applying, inter alia, to territories subject to mandate. The founding conference of the un, convened in San Francisco in April 1945, had before it a memorandum submitted by the *Jewish Agency for Palestine requesting that the special rights of the Jewish people under the Mandate be secured. It proposed that the Charter include a general stipulation safeguarding rights acquired under existing mandates. Despite Arab objections, a "conservatory clause" was indeed incorporated in Article 80 of the Charter, but it was circumscribed in terms of temporal applicability to the period pending the conclusion of trusteeship agreements. Article 79 made the transformation of a mandate into a trusteeship dependent on the agreement of the mandatory power. With regard to Palestine, the United Kingdom did not choose to follow the procedure envisaged in the Charter. Initially, it insisted on awaiting the report of the Joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry appointed to examine the question of Palestine and of European Jewry after the war. On April 2, 1947, when the United Kingdom finally transmitted the Palestine issue to the un, it went beyond the purview of Chapter xii. Asserting that the Mandate had proved unworkable, the United Kingdom requested that the un recommend a solution for the settlement of the problem.

A special session of the un General Assembly, the first of its kind, was summoned in April 1947 and decided, in Resolution 106 (s-l) of May 15, to establish the un Special Committee on Palestine (unscop), consisting of representatives of 11 states. unscop members visited Palestine, neighboring countries, and camps of *displaced persons in Europe. They heard oral testimonies, received written communications from individuals and organizations, and finally submitted a report to the General Assembly. The unscop report (a/364) unanimously recommended that the Mandate over Palestine be terminated and that Palestine be granted independence as soon as possible, after a brief transition period. The majority of the unscop members proposed the political partition (subject to an economic union) of Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a separate City of Jerusalem. A minority of the members urged the formation of a Federal State of Palestine. (See *Palestine, Inquiry Commission). The report was discussed by the General Assembly, at its second regular session, in the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestine Question, which, after a prolonged debate, endorsed, with modifications, the unscop majority plan. Strong Arab opposition was countered by a unique alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union, supported by many smaller countries. On Nov. 29, 1947, a plenary meeting of the General Assembly adopted the Ad Hoc Committee's report (a/516) containing the scheme of the partition of Palestine, by a vote of 33 in favor, 13 against, and 10 abstentions. This is the famous Partition Resolution N. 181 (ii).

The Israel War of Independence

The State of Israel, however, was not "created" by the un partition resolution. The resolution was only an important link in a chain of events that brought the state into being. Under international law, Israel emerged as an independent state from the throes of its War of Independence, when it proved its viability as a legal unit by meeting the four cumulative conditions: nation, territory, government, and independence. The partition resolution was hardly a matter of record when the Arab leadership in Palestine resolved to oppose it by force. Confronted with a challenge to its moral authority, the un convened a second special session of the General Assembly early in 1948. Some delegates felt that the partition plan could no longer be implemented and that a new approach to the Palestine problem should be sought. The United States put forward a proposal (a/c. 1/277) for the establishment of a "temporary" trusteeship for Palestine, thereby discarding, in effect, the partition scheme. Initially, the new idea gained ground – against Jewish protests – and a special subcommittee (No. 9) was designated to formulate the necessary details. Still, when the establishment of the State of Israel was proclaimed in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948, the United States granted it immediate de facto recognition, and the trusteeship project was abandoned.

The partition resolution constituted a Palestine Commission to supervise its implementation under the guidance of the Security Council. The commission indeed submitted several reports to the Security Council, but on May 14, 1948, it was relieved of its responsibilities by the General Assembly in Resolution 186 (s-2). Instead, the General Assembly created the post of a un mediator on Palestine, to which Count Folke *Bernadotte of Sweden was appointed on May 20.

The Partition Resolution requested the Security Council to take required action for its implementation, including enforcement measures within the scope of Chapter vii of the Charter. It was the consideration of the Palestine Commission's reports, however, that generated the constantly increasing involvement of the Security Council with the Palestine question. At the outset, the council proceeded cautiously and on March 5, 1948, merely made a general appeal to all concerned to prevent or reduce disorders in Palestine (s/691). By April 17, however, it had already adopted a detailed truce resolution (s/723), and on April 23 it established a Truce Commission for Palestine (s/727). Following the armed attack by a number of Arab states against Israel on May 15, the Security Council resumed debate. A call for a cease-fire, within 36 hours, was issued only on May 22 (s/773). After the 36 hours had passed and the Arab governments still refused to stop fighting, the council continued the discussion for several more days. It was not until May 29 that it finally adopted a strong resolution (s/801) calling for a four-week cease-fire by June 1, instructing the mediator on Palestine and the Truce Commission to supervise its observance, and, for the first time, referring to Chapter vii of the Charter, implicitly threatening sanctions.

The June 1 deadline was also ignored by the Arab states, which insisted that Jewish immigration to Israel halt during the course of the cease-fire. After lengthy negotiations through the mediator, however, cessation of hostilities, commonly known as the "first truce," was accepted as of June 11. When the four-week duration of the truce drew to a close, on July 7, the Security Council addressed an appeal to the parties to accept its prolongation (s/867). As in previous cases, Israel agreed but the Arabs did not, and hostilities were renewed. On July 15 the council passed its most vigorous resolution on the war (s/902), wherein it took into account Arab rejection of appeals for the continuation of the truce; determined that the situation constituted a threat to the peace within the meaning of Chapter vii; declared that failure to comply with the resolution would demonstrate the existence of a breach of the peace entailing action under that chapter and ordered a cease-fire "until a peaceful adjustment of the future situation of Palestine is reached." The renewed cease-fire, commonly known as the "second truce," took effect on July 18.

The second truce was frequently violated, and the poignant phrasing of the resolution of July 16 had only an initial impact on the antagonists. On August 19, the Security Council passed another resolution (s/983), which is of particular interest as a precursor of things to come. It was stated that each party "is responsible for the actions of both regular and irregular forces operating under its authority or in territory under its control" and that violations of the truce on the ground of "reprisals or retaliation" were impermissible. The observance of the cease-fire was supervised by the mediator, who simultaneously attempted to propose a solution of his own to the Palestine question. On September 16 Bernadotte presented a progress report (a/648), in which he recommended a number of crucial changes in the partition plan, e.g., that the Israel Negev "should be defined as Arab territory." The following day Bernadotte was assassinated by unknown terrorists in the Israel sector of Jerusalem. (Israel paid reparations to the un, according to a ruling of the International Court of Justice in 1949 that the un had the "capacity to maintain its rights by bringing international claims.") Ralph Bunche, a member of the un Secretariat, was appointed acting mediator.

In October, when heavy fighting again broke out between Israel and Egypt, the Security Council adopted a resolution (s/1044; October 19) calling for restoration of the cease-fire and suggesting withdrawal of forces, as well as negotiations between the parties either directly or through the un. The unheeded call was reiterated by the council on November 4 (s/1070), November 16 (s/1080), and December 29 (s/1169). Negotiations between Israel and Egypt, under the chairmanship of the acting mediator, opened at Rhodes in January 1949. An *Armistice Agreement was signed on February 24, followed by a series of similar agreements between Israel and Lebanon (signed March 22), Jordan (signed April 3), and Syria (signed July 20). All the Armistice Agreements were concluded without prejudice to territorial rights, and it was specifically stated that the armistice demarcation lines were not to be construed as political boundaries. The agreements established certain demilitarized zones and set up Mixed Armistice Commissions (macs) to supervise the implementation of the truce. The chairman of each mac was the chief of staff of the un Truce Supervision Organization (untso).

In its role in the course of the Israel War of Independence the un, for the first time, faced a clear-cut case of a concerted armed attack, in flagrant contravention of the Charter, but ultimately failed to discharge its peace-keeping responsibility. The collective security system structured in San Francisco remained practically a dead letter, and it was left to the State of Israel to defend itself as best it could. In the Security Council, protracted discussions replaced action, and as the number of resolutions increased, the specific weight of each decreased. When agreement was finally reached between Israel and the Arab states, it was almost entirely due to Arab defeat on the battlefield and to negotiations between the parties.

Israel Membership

Israel applied for admission to membership in the un in November 1948 (s/1093). Under Article 4 of the Charter, such admission is effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council, but the latter did not initially endorse Israel's application. In February 1949, however, when Israel requested renewed consideration of the matter (s/1267), recommendation was granted by the council (a/818). The General Assembly considered the issue at great length and finally accepted Israel to the fold, in Resolution 273 (iii), on May 11, 1949.

Israel soon perceived that as a result of the bloc system permeating every facet of life in the un, it could scarcely take a major part in the institution's affairs. Being beyond the pale of all blocs, in its decades of membership Israel failed to get elected even once to any of the un councils: the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council, or the Economic and Social Council. The most important elective office that Israel ever held in the un framework was the vice presidency of the General Assembly during the eighth session in 1953 (the position was held by Abba *Eban). Resolutions sponsored by Israel were practically doomed to failure, and even cosponsorship was not sought by other states, since Arab opposition would ensue almost automatically. Israel did extend aid to developing countries through the un and did receive technical assistance from the organization, although regional cooperation with the Arabs proved impossible.

In the beginning, Israel enjoyed at least a relative degree of support on the part of both the United States and the U.S.S.R. In a short while, however, the U.S.S.R., trying to gain a foothold in the Middle East, began to support the Arab cause, putting its veto power in the Security Council and its significant bargaining position in every un organ at the Arabs' disposal. According to Soviet policy, as of the mid-1950s, the Arabs could do no wrong against Israel and Israel could almost never do right. Not one single pro-Israel resolution was passed by the Security Council subsequent to 1951. Although Israel made impressive efforts to win friends and influence new states and was consequently able to thwart many pro-Arab resolutions aimed at undermining its political independence and stifling its economic development, the atmosphere in the un became increasingly hostile to her, and, particularly after the *Six-Day War (1967), Israel found itself frequently isolated and even ostracized.

Israel's political insulation in the un had its psychological impact on many of the organization's officials (especially within untso), some of whom flaunted their partiality to the Arab cause in a variety of ways. As a result, Jewish public opinion, which in 1947 deeply believed the un to be an objective moral arbiter in international affairs, became disenchanted in the 1950s and defiant by the late 1960s.


The partition resolution prescribed a special international regime for the city of Jerusalem as a corpus separatum, to be administered by the un through the Trusteeship Council. Thus in December 1947, the Trusteeship Council appointed a working committee on Jerusalem to elaborate a statute for the city. The committee formulated a draft, which the council discussed and modified, but had not completed by the end of April 1948. During the War of Independence, many un debates revolved around the fate of Jerusalem and the need to protect the holy places. At the second special session of the General Assembly (April and May 1948), a special subcommittee (No. 10) was established to consider the question of Jerusalem. A resolution dealing with the temporary administration of the city was adopted by the subcommittee, but failed to be carried by the General Assembly. Specific clauses relating to the protection of Jerusalem were incorporated in the Security Council's cease-fire resolutions of May 29 (s/801) and July 15 (s/902) 1948. General Assembly Resolution 194 (iii) of Dec. 11, 1948, declared that "in view of its association with three world religions," Jerusalem should be placed under an international regime. Israel and Jordan, however, were equally opposed to the corpus separatum concept. Since the city was in effect divided between them by the War of Independence, the Armistice Agreement stabilized the situation along the lines of the status quo.

In 1949 the fourth session of the General Assembly adopted Resolution 303 (iv), which restated the case for an international regime in Jerusalem, and in 1950 the Trusteeship Council resumed its work on the statute for the city and approved a new text (a/1286). Nonetheless, Jordan and Israel's united opposition to the internationalization scheme was so strenuous, and the actual state of affairs so removed from the atmosphere prevailing in the un, that the efforts toward internationalization began to flag. A proposal to initiate further study on the subject by the Trusteeship Council was introduced at the fifth session of the General Assembly, and approved by the Ad Hoc Political Committee (a/1724), but did not obtain the required two-thirds majority in plenary. A Philippine amendment endorsing "the principle of the internationalization of Jerusalem" (a/l. 134) was submitted in plenary at the seventh session of the General Assembly in 1952, but once more fell short of the necessary majority. During the next 15 years, the issue of Jerusalem remained dormant in the General Assembly.

In the Security Council questions pertaining to violations of the Armistice Agreement in Jerusalem engendered several debates over the years. As early as 1950 Israel complained about Jordan's noncompliance with Article viii of the agreement, which had accorded to Israel rights of access to holy places, normal functioning of the institutions on Mount Scopus (the Hebrew University and the Hadassah Hospital), and free movement of traffic on vital roads. The Security Council, however, adopted only a noncommittal resolution (s/1899), and the article was never implemented by Jordan. Israel renewed the complaint in 1957 (s/3883), but to no avail. The un did help in supervising the observance of a special agreement for the demilitarization of Mount Scopus, concluded between Israel and Jordan on July 7, 1948. The agreement provided for supplies to be brought to Mount Scopus by special convoys, and occasionally Jordan suspended the line of communication. Late in 1957 Secretary-General Dag Hammerskjöld paid a special visit to the Middle East and in 1958 appointed a number of personal representatives to conduct negotiations between the parties with a view to the full implementation of the 1948 agreement.

In 1957 Jordan brought the issue of Israeli activities in the zone between the demarcation lines in Jerusalem before the Security Council, which called for their suspension (s/3942). In 1961 Jordan complained that Israel planned to hold a military parade in Jerusalem on Independence Day despite the prohibition against heavy armaments in the city under the Armistice Agreement. Israel pointed out that the equipment was brought into Jerusalem for ceremonial purposes only and that military parades had been conducted in the city earlier by both sides. The Security Council refused to accept Israel's explanation and urged it to comply with a mac decision upholding Jordan's position (s/4788). The question of an Independence Day military parade was again raised in the Security Council in April 1968 (after the reunification of the city). In Resolution 250 (1968) the council called upon Israel to refrain from proceeding with the parade. When Israel ignored the call, and held the event, the Security Council adopted another resolution (No. 251; 1968) deeply deploring that action.

The reunification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War revived un interest in establishing an international regime in the city. The idea was espoused in a Latin American draft resolution submitted in June 1967 to the fifth emergency special session of the General Assembly (a/l. 523), but it was not adopted, having failed to gain the necessary two-thirds majority. On July 4, the General Assembly nevertheless, approved a Muslim-sponsored resolution, No. 2253 (es-v), calling upon Israel to rescind and desist from any measures to alter the status of Jerusalem and considering such steps invalid. Israel did not participate in the vote and ignored the call. On July 14, the General Assembly voted in favor of a second resolution, No. 2254 (es-v), deploring Israel's noncompliance and reiterating the demand. In May 1968 the Security Council adopted a resolution of its own (No. 252; 1968) in the same vein and in July 1969 it approved resolution 267 (1969), which censured "in the strongest terms" the measures taken by Israel. In September of that year, after the arson committed at the Al Aqṣā Mosque, the Security Council adopted resolution 271 (1969), condemning Israel for its failure to carry out any of the previous pronouncements. In the midst of the spate of resolutions, the secretary-general sent Ernesto A. Thalman of Switzerland to Jerusalem in August 1967 as his personal representative. Thalman's report (s/8146) tried to reflect impartially the conflicting viewpoints about a complicated matter, but it was swept aside by the descent of one-sided attacks against Israel. Israel's stand was that Christianity and Islam, like Judaism, have legitimate claims to their holy places in Jerusalem, and the concern of the un, representing the world community, with the fate of the city is understandable. Yet the un kept silent for 15 years, when Jordan totally disregarded the rights guaranteed Israel by the Armistice Agreements, and the general desecration of Jewish holy places by Jordan's army and population occurred. It can, therefore, hardly expect Israel automatically to submit to its sudden concern for law and order in Jerusalem when the city became reunited under Israel jurisdiction, particularly in view of the fact that since the reunification, Muslim and Christian religious rights have been scrupulously observed, and Israel has often voiced its readiness to guarantee these rights by special legal arrangements.

The Arab Refugees

The problem of the Arab refugees (see State of *Israel, Arab Refugees) was spawned by the War of Independence and augmented by a myopic and self-deluding approach to the subject by Arab governments. The General Assembly, in the pace-setting paragraph 11 of Resolution 194 (iii), dated December 11, 1948, proclaimed that "the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." The Palestine Conciliation Commission (pcc), established by the same resolution, was instructed to facilitate repatriation, resettlement, rehabilitation, and compensation.

Israel, having admitted back tens of thousands of Arab refugees on the basis of a reunion of families project and having agreed in principle to the admission of others (sometimes the figure of 100,000 was used), always emphasized that, on the whole, the solution to the problem lay in resettlement rather than repatriation. Israel pointed out that the Arab refugees, far from willing "to live at peace with their [Jewish] neighbors," have been subjected to a continuous propaganda campaign, beginning in primary schools, based on hatred for Israel, and have always been regarded by the Arab states as a means to bring about the disintegration of Israel from within. In addition, it raised the issue of Jewish refugees, from Palestine as well as from Arab countries, which also emanated from the War of Independence. Israel always expressed its readiness to contribute to the payment of compensation for Arab property abandoned in Israel, though it has also drawn attention to the seizure of Jewish property in Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world and indicated that a balancing off is in order. As a gesture of good will, it agreed to release frozen accounts of Arab refugees. At times Israel insisted on dealing with the problem of the Arab refugees only as part and parcel of a comprehensive settlement with the Arab states, but on other occasions it agreed that solution was not contingent on an overall reconciliation. The Arab states, on the other hand, consistently repeated that repatriation of the refugees, as distinct from resettlement, is their only goal, and, as of 1948, they turned this essentially humanitarian issue into their main political weapon against Israel. Since then not a single year passed without an acrimonious debate on the subject in the un.

In the beginning, hectic negotiations relating to the Arab refugees were held between Israel and the Arab states under the auspices of the pcc. In 1949 the latter set in motion an Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East, headed by Gordon R. Clapp of the United States, which suggested that the immediate constructive step was to give the refugees an opportunity to work in their new locations (a/ac. 25/6). The Arabs rejected the idea, and for a long time the pcc was inactive. Then, at its 15th session in 1961, the General Assembly requested the pcc (in resolution 1604 (xv)) to renew efforts to secure the implementation of paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (iii). Accordingly, the pcc appointed Joseph E. Johnson of the U.S. its special representative and sent him to the Middle East. The mission, however, did not bear fruit, and Johnson resigned in 1963. For many years the pcc, through its Technical Office, conducted a program of identification and assessment of individual parcels of immovable refugee property left in Israel. It was hoped that, once concluded, the project could serve as a basis for the initiation of a compensation scheme; however, inasmuch as the Arabs were interested in repatriation only, the endeavor faded out.

In resolution 212 (iii) of 1948 the third session of the General Assembly decided to appoint a director of un relief for Palestine refugees. In 1949 the assembly's fourth session established the un Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (unrwa) in Resolution 302 (iv). The term "Palestine refugees," used in the definition of unrwa's mandate, covered not only Arabs but also Jews displaced as a result of the War of Independence, and originally unrwa dealt also with thousands of cases of Palestine Jewish refugees. These, however, were quickly absorbed in the economic life of Israel and needed no further assistance from the un. The problem of the Palestine Arab refugees, on the other hand, kept inflating, with children and grandchildren of 1948 refugees, born and reared outside Israel, automatically joining the lists.

The Arab refugee problem did not expand as a result of the Sinai Campaign of 1956, but the Six-Day War of 1967 caused many Arabs – some of them already refugees, others displaced for the first time – to leave the territories coming under Israel control. Israel permitted many thousands of them to return, and some of them, but not all, availed themselves of the opportunity. At its 23rd session (in 1968), the General Assembly adopted resolution 2452 a (xxiii), which called upon Israel to take effective steps for the immediate return of those inhabitants who had fled the occupied areas since the outbreak of hostilities. This call was renewed at the 25th session in 1970 in resolution 2672 (xxv).

Perhaps the greatest impact of the Six-Day War on the Arab refugee problem is reflected in the fact that most of the refugees (in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) found themselves under Israeli administration for an indefinite period of time. Instead of returning to their old homes in Israel, Israeli control reached their new ones. At long last Israel was given a chance to prove in practice that resettlement, rehabilitation, and compensation were a valid alternative to repatriation. Due to the more urgent requisites of the "war after the war," however, Israel has not of yet found its way to exploit the unique opportunity.

In the 1960s the Arabs endeavored to have the General Assembly pass a resolution safeguarding the property rights of the Arab refugees, as well as appointing a custodian to administer and protect them. Draft resolutions along these lines were submitted to the Special Political Committee but were not pressed to a vote (a/spc/l.90 at the 17th session in 1962; a/spc/l.99 at the 18th session in 1963) or were rejected by the committee (a/spc/l.116 at the 20th session in 1965; a/spc/l.128 at the 21st session in 1966; a/spc/l.168 at the 23rd session in 1968). On other occasions the drafts were approved by the committee but not put to a vote in plenary (a/spc/l.157 at the 22nd session in 1967) or failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority in the final vote (a/spc/l.61 at the 15th session in 1961; a/spc/l.81 at the 16th session in the same year).

All these drafts, designed implicitly to undermine the sovereignty of Israel, proved abortive. At the 24th session of the General Assembly in 1969, however, an explicit resolution (No. 2535 (xxiv)) reaffirming "the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine" and requesting the Security Council to take effective measures against Israel, was accepted. At the 25th session, in 1970, two resolutions (2672 (xxv) and 2628 (xxv)) were adopted, declaring that respect for the rights of the people of Palestine was indispensable for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Still another resolution carried in the same session (2649 (xxv)) condemned unnamed governments for denying the rights of self-determination of peoples, including, expressis verbis, the people of Palestine. Resolution 2535 (xxiv) thus created a new trend, which probably reflects Israel's greatest defeat at the un in more than two decades. The problem of the Arab refugees was transformed into the problem of the so-called people of (the no longer existent) Palestine. Resolution 2535 (xxiv) and its sequels are the antithesis of Resolution 181 (ii).

Direct Negotiations

Israel always insisted on direct negotiations with the Arab governments as the only way of arriving at a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The Armistice Agreements were in effect an outcome of such negotiations, albeit under un auspices. In 1950 Israel submitted to the Ad Hoc Political Committee of the General Assembly, at its fifth session, a draft resolution (a/ac.38/l.60) urging direct negotiations upon the parties concerned. The draft was withdrawn prior to a vote, but the resolution finally adopted (No. 394 (v)) did call upon the parties to seek agreement by negotiations conducted either through the pcc "or directly." At the seventh session of the General Assembly, in 1952, the Ad Hoc Political Committee endorsed a resolution (a/ac.61/l.23/Rev.4) urging the parties "to enter at an early date, without prejudice to their respective rights and claims, into direct negotiations," but the required two-thirds majority was not obtained in plenary. At the 16th session of the General Assembly, in 1961, Israel canvassed sponsors for a draft resolution appealing for direct negotiations and managed to get 16 states, most of them from Africa and Latin America, to submit the resolution to the Special Political Committee (a/spc/l.80). Although the resolution failed in the vote, the initiative was renewed with 21 sponsors at the 17th session, in 1962 (a/spc/l.89), 19 sponsors at the 18th session, in 1963 (a/spc/l.100), and the sole sponsorship of Israel at the 20th session, in 1965 (a/spc/l.115), but another confrontation on the floor of the committee was avoided. Following the Six-Day War, Israel revived the demand for direct negotiations, but in 1967, when the secretary-general appointed (in keeping with the instructions of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967)) Gunnar V. Jarring of Sweden as his special representative to the Middle East, Israel was willing to cooperate. Jarring traveled extensively on several missions to the capitals of Israel and her neighbors, and submitted a number of reports, but at first he could not bring the Arabs to accept anything remotely like negotiations on a peace settlement with Israel, while Israel, in spite of its adherence to the principle of direct negotiations was ready to agree to an initial stage of indirect talks under Jarring's auspices. However, in March 1971, after Nasser's death and the secession of the right-wing Gaḥal from the Israeli government, a certain change seemed to occur in the attitude of both Cairo and Jerusalem. To a questionnaire of Jarring Cairo in principle agreed to sign a peace settlement with Israel, but demanded complete withdrawal of Israel forces from all territories occupied in the Six-Day War, according to the Arab-Soviet interpretation of the Security Council resolution of Nov. 22, 1967. Israel for its part responded to Jarring's questionnaire by reiterating its readiness to negotiate with Egypt on all outstanding issues "without any preliminary conditions," but refused to answer in the affirmative Jarring's question, whether, in exchange for a signed peace settlement and agreed security arrangements in Sharm el-Sheikh, Israel would evacuate all Egyptian territory and withdraw its forces to the previous international boundary between Egypt and Palestine (which excludes the Gaza strip from Egyptian territory). Israel stressed that the withdrawal should be effected to "secure and recognized" frontiers, not identical with any previous line of demarcation, to be agreed upon between the parties in unconditional negotiations. Egypt regarded this response as a "total rejection" of its "peace offer."

Armistice: The First Phase

The pcc entered upon its task of looking for ways and means of reconciling Israel and the Arab states with a great deal of zeal. Its essay culminated in a conference convoked at Lausanne on May 12, 1949, when a rather ambiguous protocol (a/927) was signed separately by the parties. In 1951, at another conference convened in Paris, the pcc suggested that a declaration of pacific intentions be accepted. Israel agreed in principle, but the Arabs refused, and when further attempts to bring the adversaries together failed, the pcc reached the conclusion that it was unable to discharge its duties (a/1985). Nevertheless, the sixth session of the General Assembly 1952 decided (in Resolution 512 (vi)) to keep the pcc alive. Similar resolutions were passed in later years, but to all intents and purposes the pcc ceased to be a factor in the political picture of the Middle East.

Once the armistice agreements were signed, in 1949, the Security Council relieved the acting mediator of his assignment, and the supervision of the truce was entrusted to untso (1/1376). untso and the macs, however, could not maintain the armistice, mainly because their senior officers often tried to appear scrupulously "neutral" by "balancing" the number of infringements from the both sides against each other or, in some cases, showed pro-Arab bias and declared Israel's retaliatory self-defense measures as aggressive acts, while ignoring infiltrations of saboteurs and terrorists which provoked them. Thus, many meetings of the Security Council were monopolized by the Middle East question. In 1950 Israel complained to the council about Egypt's interference with passage of goods destined for Israel through the Suez Canal. On Sept. 1, 1951, the Security Council resolved that such practice was illegal and called upon Egypt to terminate the restrictions imposed on Israel-bound shipping (s/2322). This is perhaps the only unequivocally pro-Israel resolution to have emerged from that body. When Egypt refused to conform and even extended its interference beyond the canal to the Gulf of Akaba, Israel renewed its complaint to the Security Council in January 1954. A New Zealand draft resolution (s/3188), noting "with grave concern" Egypt's noncompliance and calling for the implementation of the 1951 resolution, foundered on a Soviet veto in March. In September 1954, when the Israel vessel Bat Gallim was seized by Egypt at the entrance to the Suez Canal, Israel again complained to the Security Council, which was still unable to surmount the obstacle of the veto. On Oct. 13, 1956, after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal Company, the Security Council adopted a resolution (s/3675) stating that any settlement of the Suez question should meet six "requirements," including "free and open transit through the Canal without discrimination, overt or covert." These requirements were accepted by Egypt, but access to the Suez Canal nonetheless continued to be denied to Israel and Israel-bound shipping until the canal's closure during and after the Six-Day War.

In the early 1950s a pattern began to be formed in the Security Council. Backed by the U.S.S.R., the Arabs seized the initiative and started to submit a spate of complaints about violations and alleged violations of the armistice by Israel. Israel also turned to the council occasionally, but was generally rebuffed. Many of the disputes before the Security Council related to the demilitarized zones, which thus became a source of friction, instead of fulfilling their intended role as a buffer. In 1951 fighting erupted between Syria and Israel concomitant to the drainage of the Huleh marshes. The matter was brought before the Security Council, which first issued a directive of cease-fire (s/2130) and then, in effect, called upon Israel to desist from all operations in the demilitarized zone (s/2157). In 1953, when Israel began to construct a Jordan River canal as part of a hydroelectric project, the Security Council quickly called for the temporary suspension of operations in the demilitarized zone (s/3128). The suspension became indefinite as a Western draft resolution (s/3151/Rev.2), containing a compromise formula, encountered a Soviet veto in 1954.

In 1953, after an Israel retaliatory raid on the Arab village of Qibya, as a reprisal for terrorist attacks on Israel territory emanating from there, the Security Council expressed "the strongest censure" of Israel's action (s/3139/Rev. 2). This was the first among many resolutions in which the council tried to curb Israel reprisals without dealing explicitly with the terrorist Arab attacks that had motivated them. Israel reprisals were again condemned by the council in 1955, subsequent to the Gaza raid (s/3378), and in January 1956, following reprisal on terrorist bases east of Lake Kinneret (s/3538). By 1956 it became clear that the armistice structure was crumbling. In March of that year, at the request of the United States, the Security Council took up the general issue of compliance with the Armistice Agreements and its own resolutions. In April it requested the secretary-general to arrange with the parties for the adoption of certain measures designed to reduce the tension (s/3562). Dag Hammarskjöld visited the Middle East and submitted a progress report (s/3594). In June the council called for reestablishment of full compliance with the Armistice Agreements, and requested the secretary-general to continue his good offices (s/3605). Hammarskjöld returned to the region in July and transmitted to the council two more reports (s/3632 and s/3659). Conditions continued to deteriorate, however, and murderous fedayeen raids into Israeli territory increased, mainly from the Gaza Strip and Sinai, which in turn provoked Israeli retaliation. On Oct. 29, 1956, the *Sinai Campaign began, and Israel announced that the Armistice Agreement with Egypt was no longer valid.

The early 1950s thus represented a constant deterioration of the conditions on the Israel-Arab armistice lines and proved the inadequacy of the un as a peace and law-enforcing agency. Not once did a Security Council resolution refer specifically to the operations of the fedayeen. Hardly any distinction was made between aggressor and victim. In fact, judging by the peculiar attitude of the un members, who treated measures which Israel regarded as self-defense as more criminal than the aggression which provoked them, it would appear that it was Israel who continuously motivated trouble in the Middle East and endangered world peace.

The Sinai Campaign

The un, which was slow to react in 1948 to the War of Independence, showed remarkable alacrity when the Sinai Campaign and the Anglo-French Suez War began. This time the two superpowers, the United States and the U.S.S.R., acted initially in full harmony. By Oct. 30, 1956, the Security Council was already in session. The same evening a vote was taken on a U.S.-sponsored draft resolution (s/3710) calling for immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops and urging other states not to assist Israel. The resolution was vetoed by France and the United Kingdom, but an emergency special session of the General Assembly was convened forthwith. On November 1 the General Assembly met and the following day in Resolution 997 (es-i) it appealed for an immediate cease-fire and prompt withdrawal of forces. Another resolution (No. 998 (es-i)), restating the case more strongly, was approved on November 4. Still another resolution (1002 es-i), again urging immediate withdrawal of Israel troops, was taken on November 7.

New ground was broken at the emergency special session with the adoption of Resolution 998 (es-i), originally introduced by Canada, on November 4. It requested the secretary-general to present a plan for the creation of a un emergency force, and he quickly responded to the idea. The un Emergency Force (unef) was established on November 5 by Resolution 1000 (es-i). Its purpose was "to secure and supervise the cessation of hostilities." Resolution 1001 (es-i), dated November 7, approved guidelines proposed by the secretary-general for the functioning of unef. The formation of unef was carried out against strong protests from the U.S.S.R., which adhered to the view that only the Security Council, as distinct from the General Assembly, was empowered to take such action. The U.S.S.R., as well as several other countries, refused to participate in covering unef's expenses, and in time this refusal precipitated a financial and political crisis for the un. (The question was eventually brought before the International Court of Justice, which, in 1962, in the matter of Certain Expenses of the United Nations (Article 17, paragraph 2 of the Charter), gave an advisory opinion to the effect that these were "expenses of the organization" within the meaning of Article 17 of the Charter.)

The 11th regular session of the General Assembly continued the deliberations begun in the first emergency special session. On November 24, in Resolution 1120 (xi), it noted "with regret" that no withdrawal of Israeli, French, or British troops had been effected and reiterated its call to comply with former resolution on the subject. In Resolution 1121 (xi), adopted the same day, it noted the "basis for the presence and functioning" of unef in Egypt, in line with points made by the secretary-general in an aide-mémoire (a/3375). The aide-mémoire, based on the secretary-general's conversations in Cairo, contained a clear Egyptian undertaking to be guided by Resolution 1000 (es-i) and enable unef to operate until its task had been completed. The first unef contingents arrived in the Middle East within a matter of days.

Throughout this period Israel was subjected to intense pressure by the United States and the secretary-general (in person) to commence withdrawal. Dag Hammarskjöld was a strong and active secretary-general who interpreted his authority in a way that permitted him to play a direct and major role in the affairs of the Middle East. Gradual withdrawal of Israeli troops started late in November, but Israel and the secretary-general were in constant disagreement over the schedule of the evacuation of Sinai and the Gaza Strip. On Jan. 19, 1957, pursuant to a report by the secretary-general, the General Assembly in Resolution 1123 (xi), noted "with regret and concern" that withdrawal had not yet been completed, and lent its support to the secretary-general's uncompromising stand. Israel then put forward an aide-mémoire (a/3511) indicating that withdrawal from *Sharm el-Sheikh must be accompanied by related measures ensuring free navigation in the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Akaba. Furthermore, Israel propounded that certain steps be taken to ascertain that the Gaza Strip would not again be used as a springboard for attack and raised practical questions pertaining to the conditions for the termination of unef's functions.

The secretary-general continued to insist on total and immediate withdrawal (a/3512). Debate in the General Assembly resumed, and on February 2, in Resolution 1124 (xi), the assembly deplored Israel's noncompliance with former resolutions and urged the completion of withdrawal without delay. In a complementary resolution (No. 1125 (xi)), adopted on the same day, the General Assembly also called for the scrupulous observance of the Armistice Agreement. Israel then had a new round of exchanges with the secretary-general (a/3527 and a/3563), and on March 1 Israel announced that it was prepared to proceed with full withdrawal on the basis of certain "assumptions," founded in part on statements made by the U.S. government. Withdrawal followed suit. During the Sinai Campaign and immediately thereafter, the un suddenly reawakened as a peace-keeping organization. Its energetic pursuit of the goal of cease-fire and withdrawal had no precedent in the Middle East conflict. The same un members, who remained aloof during weeks of bloodshed in 1948 and who totally ignored the activities of the fedayeen in subsequent years became agitated when the pace of Israel's withdrawal from Sinai was not rapid enough, and, under pressure from the un and the United States, Israel complied.

Armistice: The Second Phase

The presence of unef contributed to the relative stability that characterized the southern border of Israel in the decade following the Sinai Campaign, but the attention of the Security Council was frequently drawn in the same period to clashes between Israel and Syria (which, for a while, formed part of the United Arab Republic). Most of the disputes again involved the demilitarized zones.

In 1958 and 1959 the Security Council convened to discuss complaints by Israel against Syrian violations of the armistice (s/4123 and s/4151), but no resolution could be reached because of Soviet intransigence. Conversely, in 1962, when Israel again retaliated against Syria in the Lake Kinneret area, the council adopted a resolution (s/5111) reaffirming the January 1956 condemnation of Israel (s/3538) and determining that the recent reprisal constituted a "flagrant violation" of that decision. In 1963, after terrorist bloodshed at Almagor, a Western draft resolution condemning the "wanton murder" of Israeli citizens (s/5407) was once again vetoed by the U.S.S.R. In 1964, when fighting erupted around Tel Dan, the Security Council rejected an Arab-sponsored draft resolution condemning Israel (s/6085), whereupon the Soviets cast their veto on a Western text which deplored the renewal of military action on both sides (s/6113). In July 1966, following a flare-up of fighting as a result of Syrian support of terrorist activities and attempts to divert the source of the Jordan River, another Arab-sponsored draft resolution condemning Israel (s/7437) was rejected by the Security Council. In October of that year Israel complained about the Syrian-backed terrorist attacks. A Western resolution calling upon Syria to prevent the use of its territory by the terrorists (s/7568) was not even put to a vote. A weaker and broader draft (s/7575) was vetoed by the U.S.S.R. In November 1966, subsequent to the Israeli reprisal action in the village al-Samʿu, in Jordan territory, the Security Council approved resolution No. 228 (1966), which, for the first time, "censured" Israel for its action and emphasized that such retaliation "cannot be tolerated" and may entail "further and more effective steps."

The decade of relative quiet between Israel and Egypt came to an abrupt end in May 1967. On May 16 Egypt demanded the withdrawal of unef from observation posts along the border. By May 18 Egypt insisted on the total evacuation of unef from Sinai and the Gaza Strip. Secretary-General U Thant immediately conceded that unef could remain in Egypt only as long as that country consented to its presence. On the same day he issued instructions to unef to withdraw and merely reported his decision to the General Assembly (a/6669), without requesting permission from the General Assembly or the Security Council; without consideration for Israel's views; and without serious study of the legal rights of Egypt unilaterally to terminate the presence of unef (in the light of the agreement reached in 1956 in Cairo with Secretary-General Hammarskjöld (a/3375) and endorsed by General Assembly Resolution 1121 (xi)). unef was ousted at the moment when its presence was most needed. On May 19, after issuing the withdrawal instructions, the secretary-general submitted a further report to the Security Council (s/7896) and left for consultations in Cairo. On May 23, while U Thant was in Egypt, Canada and Denmark requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to examine the deteriorating situation. In the ensuing debates, held on May 24, the council proved its complete ineffectiveness as a peace-keeping organ, particularly when the U.S.S.R. and other pro-Arab states regarded the situation as favorable to Arab aggression against Israel. The representatives of the U.S.S.R. and Bulgaria claimed that events in the Middle East were over-dramatized and that there was no reason for an urgent meeting of the council in the first place. Other representatives, from Asia and Africa, also contended that the discussion was untimely. A draft resolution, submitted by Canada and Denmark (s/7905), merely requesting all member states to refrain from steps which might worsen the situation, was not even put to a vote. On May 26 the secretary-general returned from Cairo and issued a new report (s/7906). On May 29 the Security Council reconvened, and ineffective discussions continued, until the canons began thundering in the Middle East.

The Six-Day War and After

The Security Council met in emergency session on June 5, nearly as soon as the news of the outbreak of fighting reached New York. The United States was immediately willing to adopt a resolution calling for the cessation of hostilities, but, inasmuch as it was not yet clear which side had the upper hand in battle, the U.S.S.R. preferred to await developments. Only on June 6, when the Egyptian military debacle became obvious, was the Security Council in a position to adopt resolution 233 (1967), calling for an immediate cease-fire. On June 7 a second resolution, No. 234 (1967), urging the cessation of all military activities (particularly between Israel and Jordan) was approved. On June 9 resolution 235 (1967) demanded that hostilities between Israel and Syria come to an end immediately. On June 11 the Security Council (in resolution 236 (1967)) condemned all violations of the cease-fire. On June 14 (in resolution 237 (1967)) it called upon Israel to ensure the security of the inhabitants of the areas where military operations had taken place and urged the governments concerned to respect the humanitarian principles governing the treatment of prisoners of war and protection of civilians. However, a Soviet-sponsored draft resolution (s/795 Rev.2) condemning Israel as the aggressor and demanding immediate withdrawal was rejected by the Security Council the same day.

Having failed to achieve the denunciation of Israel in the Security Council, the U.S.S.R. took the initiative to convene the fifth emergency special session of the General Assembly. The session opened on June 17, and two days later the chairman of the council of ministers of the U.S.S.R., Aleksei Kosygin, personally presented a draft resolution to the effect that the General Assembly vigorously condemn Israel; demand immediate withdrawal of Israel troops as well as compensation for damages inflicted on Arab countries; and appeal to the Security Council to take effective measures to eliminate all the consequences of Israel's aggression (a/l.519). This proposal was rejected by the General Assembly on July 4. A similar draft submitted by Albania, which also condemned the United States and United Kingdom for their complicity in the aggression (a/l.521), was voted down on the same day. Yugoslavia introduced another text, ultimately sponsored by 17 (mostly African and Asian) states, which generally restricted itself to a call for immediate withdrawal (a/l.522/Rev.3). An alternative Latin American draft resolution, sponsored by 20 states, also made a request for withdrawal, but coupled it with a call for an end to the belligerency, a request that the Security Council look into the question of navigation and Arab refugees, and reference to the issue of Jerusalem (a/l.523/Rev.1). The Yugoslav and the Latin American proposals met the same fate on July 4, having failed to obtain the required two-thirds majority. The only resolution adopted by the General Assembly on that day (No. 2252 (es-v)), like Security Council Resolution 237 (1967), related to the need for respecting humanitarian principles.

By July 1967 it was already necessary for the Security Council to convene to examine complaints about breaches of the cease-fire along the Suez Canal, but no formal resolution was voted upon. The discussion resumed in October, after the sinking by the Egyptians of the Israel destroyer Eilat. On October 25 the council approved Resolution 240 (1967), generally condemning all violations of the cease-fire. On November 22 the reconvened Security Council adopted the famous Resolution 242 (1967), initially proposed by the United Kingdom, which affirmed that the establishment of "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" was based on both withdrawal of Israeli forces and termination of belligerency, as well as respect for the right of every state in the area "to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." The resolution further affirmed the necessity for (1) guaranteeing freedom of navigation; (2) achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem; and (3) guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every state in the region. Finally, the resolution requested the secretary-general to designate a special representative to proceed to the Middle East in order to promote a settlement between the parties. This resolution became a milestone in the period following the Six-Day War. Its precise meaning, however, was controversial, and its validity in later years, in view of the disintegration of the cease-fire on which it was based, was often subject to doubt. It also reflected the low-water mark of Arab postwar efforts to bring about the adoption of unequivocally one-sided, anti-Israel resolutions at the un. From that point on, the tide of resolutions, which practically challenged Israel's right to self-defense and self-preservation, became an almost routine performance, losing much of its political and moral impact. In March 1968, after the Karameh battle (in which Israel attacked the main Arab terrorist base in Jordan), the Security Council adopted Resolution 248 (1968), condemning the military action launched by Israel "in flagrant violation" of the Charter and the cease-fire and declaring that it would have to consider more effective steps to prevent the repetition of such acts. The Security Council was reconvened almost immediately for further debate on new violations of the cease-fire along the Israel-Jordan line, but no formal resolution was taken. The discussion resumed in August, when the council approved Resolution 256 (1968), again condemning Israel and reaffirming the warning that more effective measures might be taken. Once more, the deliberations continued in March and April 1969, and the council accepted Resolution 265 (1969), adding still another condemnation of Israel to the record, while repeating the same warning.

In September 1968 the situation along the Suez Canal was brought up before the Security Council, which insisted, in Resolution 258 (1968), that the cease-fire "must be rigorously respected." In November 1968 the discussion recommenced, but no vote was taken.

In December 1968, after the attacks of Arab terrorists based in Beirut on El Al planes in Europe, the pendulum swung to Lebanon, and the Security Council met to examine Israel's reprisal action against the international airport in Beirut. The Security Council (in Resolution 262 (1968)) condemned Israel, adding "a solemn warning" about further steps that might be taken. The question of Lebanon was also raised in August 1969, when Israel attacked terrorists operating from Lebanese territory and the council (in Resolution 270 (1969)) condemned Israel again. In May 1970 the same problem produced a similar resolution (s/9807), including condemnation of Israel and reiteration of the "solemn warning." It is notable that the (actual) cease-fire within a (technical) cease-fire, agreed upon for a period of three months in August 1970 – and extended for an equal length of time in November of that year – was brought about as a result of a U.S. rather than un initiative. In November 1970 the General Assembly adopted Resolution 2628 (xxv), recommending the extension of the cease-fire. This resolution, however, was totally unbalanced against Israel in its thrust and formulation. The advent of the second series of talks with the parties, conducted by the secretary-general's special representative, Gunnar Jarring, early in 1971, was again due to U.S. diplomatic efforts.


At its first session in 1946 the un General Assembly confirmed the principles of international law introduced by the legislation of the International Arbitrary Tribunal in Nuremberg and later embodied in the *Genocide Convention (resolutions 95 (i), 96 (i)), thus outlawing the worst antisemitic crimes ever committed in the history of mankind. After that the un for years ignored the issue of antisemitism. In 1959–60 a "swastika epidemic" swept through large parts of the world. Consequently, several members submitted to the un subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities at its 12th session (in January 1960) a draft resolution condemning manifestations of antisemitism and other religious and racial prejudices (e/cn.4/Sub.2/l.159). There was a consensus in the subcommission that it was necessary to take action against antisemitism, but some members had qualms about the explicit use of that term in the resolution. Finally a decision was taken to condemn antisemitism without resorting to euphemisms, and the subcommission recommended that its parent body, the un Commission on Human Rights do the same (Resolution 3 (xiii)). The Commission on Human Rights, followed the recommendation, in a somewhat altered form, in Resolution 6 (xvi), adopted at its 16th session (in March 1960). The matter was discussed later in the year in the Third Committee of the General Assembly. The General Assembly in Resolution 1510 (xv) condemned all manifestations of racial, religious, and national hatred, but deleted a specific reference to antisemitism. The item of "manifestations of antisemitism and other forms of racial prejudice and religious intolerance of a similar nature" was placed on the agenda of the subcommission at its 13th session (in 1961). The subcommission studied material on the subject obtained from governments (e/cn.4/Sub.2/208) and nongovernmental organizations (e/cn.4/Sub.2/l.216), and discussed the nature of the manifestations of antisemitism, as well as the causes of the swastika epidemic. It also examined public reaction to the incidents and measures taken by governments. Objections were again raised to the specific reference to antisemitism in the emerging resolution. Finally the term was relegated to the preamble of Resolution 5 (xiii); the operative paragraphs were of general character and dealt with the need to combat racial, religious, and national hatred. At the 17th session of the Commission on Human Rights (in 1961) manifestations of antisemitism were further studied, but Resolution 5 (xvii) almost entirely ignored antisemitism as such. The Economic and Social Council of the un (ecosoc) continued the trend in Resolution 826b (xxxii) of that year, calling for the eradication of racial prejudice and religious intolerance wherever they exist. The General Assembly debated the subject at its 17th session, in 1962, when another resolution, No. 1779 (xvii), was adopted along the same lines.

As an outcome of the deliberations on the subject in the Third Committee, in 1962 the General Assembly also resolved to initiate the drafting of a series of declarations and conventions on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (Resolution 1780 (xvii)) and religious intolerance (Resolution 1781 (xviii)). The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Resolution 1904 (xviii)) was adopted by the General Assembly at its 18th session, in 1963. In the course of drafting the accompanying convention, at the 20th session of the Commission on Human Rights, a representative of a Jewish nongovernmental organization (see below), the Agudat Israel World Organization, suggested that a specific condemnation of antisemitism be incorporated in the document. The United States embraced the idea and officially proposed that Article 3 of the draft prepared by the subcommission, condemning "racial segregation and apartheid," be amended to include a condemnation of antisemitism as well. Objection to the proposal was voiced on the ground that Article 3 dealt exclusively with segregation and apartheid, and that antisemitism was out of place in this context. The United States therefore withdrew the amendment and offered the addition of a new article instead: "States parties condemn antisemitism and shall take action as appropriate for its speedy eradication in the territories subject to their jurisdiction" (e/cn.4l.701, later revised). The U.S.S.R., for its part, proposed to expand the new article to cover Nazism also (including Neo-Nazism) and genocide (e/cn.4/l.710).

Most members of the Commission on Human Rights endorsed, in principle, the concept of the condemnation of antisemitism, but since the United States and the U.S.S.R. could not reach a mutually accepted formula, it was decided to transmit both versions to the General Assembly. The Third Committee debated the issue only at the 20th session, in 1965. By that time, opposition to the express mention of antisemitism had grown and congealed, particularly among Arab and Soviet bloc delegations. The U.S.S.R. was no longer satisfied merely with the joint listing of antisemitism and Nazism and now insisted on adding Zionism to the same category (a/c.3/l.1231). Many other delegations wanted to avoid a confrontation on the subject, inasmuch as they had reservations even about the direct reference to antisemitism. Therefore, at the suggestion of Greece and Hungary (a/c.3/l.1244), the Third Committee decided, by an overwhelming majority, not to insert in the convention "any reference to specific forms of racial discrimination," i.e., to delete from the text all the "isms" (the condemnation of apartheid in Article 3 was left intact). Thus, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted by the General Assembly in Resolution 2106 (xx), does not condemn antisemitism in so many words. However, the interpretation that antisemitism is covered by the general injunctions of the convention, is based on good authority (see Schwelb, "The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination," in: International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 15 (1966), 996, 1011–5).

Whereas progress in the un codification on racial discrimination was very quick, many obstacles have impeded the drafting of the instruments regarding religious intolerance. The declaration was in effect abandoned in the Commission on Human Rights in favor of a convention, and the prospects that the latter will be quickly adopted by the General Assembly do not appear to be good. In the process of drafting, however, at the 22nd session of the Commission on Human Rights in 1966, Israel proposed to add in Article 5 (later enumerated as No. 6) of the text prepared by the subcommission a specific reference to antisemitism (e/en.4/l. 791). This amendment was subsequently withdrawn in favor of a similar draft submitted by Chile (e/cn.4/l.797). The Chilean formulation was accepted by the Commission on Human Rights, which, once more, was not sufficiently sensitive to the atmosphere prevailing in the General Assembly. In the 22nd session of the General Assembly (in 1967) Libya proposed (in the Third Committee) adding the words "Nazism, Fascism and Zionism" after antisemitism (a/c.3/l.1461). Before discussion of Article 6 as a whole was about to begin, however, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 2295 (xxii), which decided not to mention "any specific examples of religious intolerance" in the convention. Thus specific mention of antisemitism, past or present, has become a taboo in un resolutions. The closest that the un ever came to denouncing the Nazi Holocaust was in a 1960 Security Council resolution in the case of Adolf Eichmann (s/4349). In response to an Argentinean complaint against Israel's abduction of Eichmann, the council noted, with Soviet support, "the universal condemnation of the persecution of the Jews under the Nazis" and concern that Eichmann should be brought to appropriate justice for his crimes. However, it nonetheless requested Israel "to make appropriate reparation."

Jewish Communities in Arab Countries and the U.S.S.R.

Israel, as the only Jewish member state of the un, has always felt itself duty-bound to raise the issue of oppressed, sometimes silent, Jewish minorities in Diaspora countries. The same sense of responsibility has been shared by some Jewish nongovernmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. The greatest efforts to appeal to the conscience of the world were made on behalf of Jews in Arab lands and in the U.S.S.R. The plight of Jews in Arab lands, directly affected by the Middle East conflict, was first brought to the attention of the un early in 1948 by the World Jewish Congress, which initiated the adoption of two rather bland formal resolutions on the subject by the Economic and Social Council (Resolutions 133 (vi) h of March 1948 and 214 (viii) b of February 1949). The Jewish nongovernmental organizations and the State of Israel later found it impossible to have formal resolutions placed before the United Nations. The campaign was therefore confined to the debating ground.

Israel used the opportunity of the annual General Assembly discussion on the subject of the Arab refugees to air in public the grievances against the Arab governments' maltreatment of Jews. Occasionally more dramatic action was taken, and at the sixth session of the General Assembly (in January 1952), Israel publicly withdrew from meetings of the Ad Hoc Political Committee (47th meeting) and the Third Committee (398th meeting) as a protest against the hangings of Jews in Iraq following useless appeals for un intercession on their behalf. When other incidents of hanging Jews in Iraq occurred early in 1969, Israel proposed to the Commission on Human Rights (at its 25th session) that it dispatch a special communication to the Baghdad government in an effort to prevent further summary executions. The commission was unresponsive, even though the year before, when Arab houses connected with terrorist actions were blown up in Israel-administered territories, a telegram appealing to Israel "to desist forthwith from indulging in such practices" had been promptly adopted at its 24th session.

The Sinai Campaign compounded the plight of the Jewish community in Egypt, and Israel brought the matter up in detail before the 11th session of the General Assembly. The Six-Day War ignited an anti-Jewish campaign of unprecedented dimensions throughout the Arab world, and Israel strove to mobilize world public opinion on behalf of the persecuted Jews. A special representative of the secretary-general, Nils G. Gussing, was nominated in July 1967, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 237 (1967), relating to respect for humanitarian principles by "the Government concerned," and sought to obtain information with regard, inter alia, to the treatment of Jewish minorities in Egypt and Syria (a/6797). Israel requested that the condition of Jewish communities in the whole area of the conflict, including Iraq and Lebanon, be investigated by a projected second mission, but the Security Council (in Resolution 259 of September 1968) called upon Israel alone to receive a special representative of the secretary-general to examine the situation in the territories under its control. Israel insisted that the assignment of the special representative include the issue of Jews in Arab countries, and when this demand was denied, it refused to cooperate with any new mission. For the same reason, Israel also expressed its unwillingness to cooperate with a Special Committee to Investigate Israel Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, established by General Assembly Resolution 2443 (xxiii) in 1968 (renewed in Resolution 2546 (xxiv) in 1969 and in Resolution 2727 (xxv) in 1970), as well as a special Working Group of Experts set up by Commission on Human Rights Resolution 6 (xxv) in 1969 (and renewed in Resolution 10 (xxvi) in 1970).

The plight of about 3,000,000 Jews in the U.S.S.R. was generally not raised in the un during the Stalin period. An exception was made in 1953, just before Stalin's death, when Israel castigated in the First Committee of the General Assembly, at its seventh session, "the libel of an alleged world Jewish conspiracy" underlying the notorious *"Doctors' Plot." With the advent of the 1960s, however, the un gradually became an important arena for exposing the suffering of Soviet Jewry. First Jewish nongovernmental organizations, then Israel, and eventually many other states from all continents raised their voices denouncing the denial of human rights and fundamental freedoms to the Jews of the U.S.S.R. Initially, the accusations leveled at the U.S.S.R. were muted and circumspect, scarcely mentioning that country by name; but in time, a systematic and sustained offensive developed. It covered, under a variety of agenda items, almost every possible session of the subcommission, the Commission on Human Rights, the Economic and Social Council, and the General Assembly. Since 1967 even debates in the Security Council served as a forum for the topic.

The campaign for Soviet Jewry in the un served to enlist world opinion in exerting moral pressure upon a government defaulting the human rights of an oppressed minority group to persuade it to mend its ways. Most of the critical statements at the un have hinged on the U.S.S.R.'s violations of fundamental freedoms proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related instruments: communal Jewish activities that were not permitted; synagogues that were closed down; Jewish schools, religious facilities, publishing houses and cultural institutions that were practically nonexistent; reunion of families torn asunder by World War ii that was not made possible. After the Six-Day War (1967) the focus shifted from charges of discriminatory practices to protests against the virulent antisemitic propaganda, thinly disguised as attacks against Israel and "world Zionism," which spread over the U.S.S.R. and practically revived the paranoiac concept of The Protocols of the *Elders of Zion. On a number of occasions, special emphasis was placed on the poisonous writings of the Ukrainian antisemite Trofim Kichko. His first book, Judaism Without Embellishment, was strongly reprehended by Israel and other delegates at the 20th session of the Commission on Human Rights in 1964. His later book, Judaism and Zionism, and, for that matter, the whole phenomenon of "Kichkoism" was rebuked by Israel at the 25th session of the commission in Israel in 1969. As of November 1969 Israel has publicly raised the demand that Soviet Jews be permitted to go and settle in Israel, and circulated in the un official communications on the subject – the first one containing a letter addressed to the Israel government and various un bodies by a group of 18 families in Soviet Georgia who expressed the wish to settle in the Jewish homeland (a/7762).

Soviet response to the statements made at the un on behalf of Jews in the U.S.S.R. was uneven. Soviet representatives tried to muzzle such statements, contending that they were irrelevant to the agenda under discussion. They took strong exception to Israel's circulation of official documents on Soviet Jewry and claimed that the procedure constituted "a gross violation" of the Charter, inasmuch as it intervened in the domestic jurisdiction of the U.S.S.R. (a/7787). The U.S.S.R. accused those who spoke out on behalf of Soviet Jews of slander and distortions, of creating a smokescreen to conceal their own violations of human rights, and even of an attempt to undermine the Soviet system. At times the U.S.S.R. also responded with elaborate statements, replete with statistics and quotes, designed to disprove any discriminatory practices against Soviet Jews. However, the fact that the Soviets, who consistently denied the existence of antisemitism in their country, became the standard-bearers of the fight against the condemnation of antisemitism at the un, voided their statements of any moral content. Often, the debate on antisemitism at the un became synonymous with a debate on Soviet policies.

See also *Antisemitism, In the Soviet Bloc; *Russia, The Struggle for Soviet Jewry.

[Yoram Dinstein]

un Bodies and Specialized Agencies

Israel's participation and activities in the framework of the various un bodies and specialized agencies has been relatively fruitful and in some cases even outstanding, mainly in view of her role as a source of aid to other developing countries.

economic and social council

At the sessions of the Economic and Social Council, which consists of 27 members elected by the General Assembly, Israelis participated as observers and frequently raised the issue of discrimination against the Jews in the U.S.S.R.

Regional Commissions

Due to Arab refusal to cooperate with Israel in regional bodies, no Regional Commission for the Middle East, similar to those for Europe (ece), Asia and the Far East (ecafe), Latin America (ecla), and Africa (eca), was established. Israel, however, sent observers to the eca, ecafe, and ecla, some of whose sessions had to be transferred from cities closed to Israel (e.g., Karachi, Algiers, or Kabul) to those open to her (Bangkok or Addis Ababa). In the framework of these commissions, Israel experts took part in development schemes, as, e.g., in the Mekong Delta Development Project in the Far East, regional development in Upper Volta, and various projects in Latin America.

Functional Commissions

Israel was an active member in the functional commissions elected by the Economic and Social Council. As a member of the Commission for Human Rights (from 1957 until 1959 and from 1965 until 1970), Israel, together with other delegations, incessantly raised the issue of Soviet Jewry and was active in drafting the Convention on the Right of Asylum. The problem of Soviet Jewry was also raised by Israeli members, as well as by members from other countries, in the Subcommission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities, where Israel's membership lasted from 1966 until 1968. Israel was also a member of the Social Commission; the un Refugee Fund Executive Committee (unref), the Technical Assistance Committee; the Population Commission; the commissions for Social Development, on the Status of Women, on Housing, Building and Planning; the Advisory Committee on the Application of Science and Technology to Development; and the International Law Commission. Israel was a member on the Executive Committee of the un High Commissioners' Program (1970).

Other Bodies

Israel played an outstanding part in the International Children's Emergency Fund (unicef), not only as a member of the Executive Board from 1957 but also as its vice chairman (in 1957–58) and member, and several times as chairman, of its Program Committee. Israel's representative, Zena *Harman, received on unicef's behalf the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1965. Israel was active in extending aid through unicef by participating in the establishment of the plant for sterilized milk, of centers for mothers, and care for prematurely born children. Israel became a member of the High Commissioners' Advisory Committee on Refugees in 1951, the rapporteur in 1952, and chairman of the session in 1954.


Israel was also a member of a number of ad hoc committees, appointed by the General Assembly, such as the Ad Hoc Committee on Refugees and Stateless Persons; the Special Committee on the Methods and Procedures of the General Assembly for Dealing with Legal and Drafting Questions; the Committee on International Criminal Jurisdiction; the Special Committee on Review of Administrative Tribunal Judgments; the Peace Observation Committee; the Panel for Inquiry and Conciliation; several committees of the un Trade and Development Board, e.g., the Committee on Manufactures, the Group on Preferences, etc.


International Labor Organization (ilo)

ilo's director general from 1948 to 1970 was an American Jew, David *Morse. Israel joined the ilo in 1949 and signed 36 of the 130 conventions drafted by it, including the convention against forced labor. Arab and Soviet representatives failed in their attempt to establish that the *Nahal (in the Israel army) is a form of forced labor. The Israeli government is represented in the ilo by its Ministry of Labor; Israeli workers by the *Histadrut; and employers by the Manufacturers' Association. The Histadrut delegate was elected in 1954 as workers' deputy member, and the Israeli government delegate was elected in 1960–61 as government group deputy member. ilo assisted Israel, from her early days, in establishing a vocational school network and workers' training courses for developing countries in cooperation with the Histadrut. Israeli experts were sent by the ilo to developing countries (e.g., Cyprus) to assist in trade union organization.

Food and Agricultural Organization (fao)

Israel joined the fao in 1949 and until 1953 belonged to its Near Eastern Region. In view of the Arabs' refusal to attend regional conferences of fao with Israel, the latter moved to its European Region in 1954. In 1967–68 Israel was a member of the fao's Council. fao assisted Israel in matters of irrigation and the drainage of underground water, e.g., in Nahal Shikmah. Israel cooperated with the fao in establishing courses in poultry raising, irrigation, multi-seasonal crops, food production, etc. for developing countries. Israel contributes to the World Food Program of the fao.

World Health Organization (who)

Israel joined who in 1949 and at first belonged to its Eastern Mediterranean Region, together with Cyprus, the Arab states, Pakistan, Iran, and Ethiopia. Arab refusal to participate together with Israel in regional activities prevented the convocation of its meetings until 1953. In 1954 who decided to split the regional organization into two subcommittees, and Israel belonged to subcommittee b, together with Iran, Cyprus and Ethiopia; these, however, gradually seceded from it, and the subcommittee ceased to exist. Despite Arab opposition, Israel continues its participation in the region and in 1961–64 was represented by the director general of its Ministry of Health on who's Executive Board. On who's initiative, Israel and Arab states cooperated in combating rabies and venereal diseases. who assisted Israel in establishing medical courses and nursing courses as well as postgraduate medical courses in various fields for students from developing countries. who also assisted Israel in sending experts and equipment to other countries for combating malaria and producing vaccine against tuberculosis.

International Civil Aviation Organization (icao)

Israel joined icao in 1949, and on her initiative the organization adopted a resolution in 1970 against plane hijacking.

Universal Postal Union (upu). Israel joined upu in 1949, but Arab states refused to maintain mutual postal services with Israel.

International Telecommunication Union (ito). Israel joined ito in 1949, but Arab states refused to maintain telegraphic contacts with Israel.

World Meteorological Organization (wmo). Israel joined wmo in 1949, and Israeli experts were sent by wmo to African states. wmo experts and equipment assisted Israel in establishing a meteorological station at Beit Dagon.

Israel also participates in the following specialized agencies of the un: the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (imco), from 1958; the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ibrd), from 1954; the International Monetary Fund (imf), from 1954; the International Financial Corporation (ifc), from 1965; the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (gatt), from 1962. The International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) was joined by Israel in 1957, and Israel's Atomic Energy Commission maintained close contact with it.


A particularly fruitful cooperation developed between the un Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (unesco) and Israel. Léon *Blum played a prominent role in unesco's foundation in 1946, and the opening sentence of its constitution ("since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defense of peace must be constructed") is attributed to him. Israel joined unesco in 1949 and was a member of its Executive Board, represented by Moshe Avidor, from 1962 until 1970. Until 1967 Israel belonged, in most fields of unesco activity, to the organization's Asian region. Later unesco's regional organization became more specified, and Israel's participation in the Asian region greatly diminished; Israel is now the only developing country that does not belong to any regional sector of unesco. unesco experts, equipment, and scholarships assisted Israel in many fields of education, science, and cultural activities. unesco international conferences on adult education, the social sciences, and science instruction in elementary schools took place in Israel. Israeli professionals and scientists are often invited by unesco to participate in expert meetings, panels, and study groups on specific issues, such as hydrology, racialism, sociology, communal integration, adult education, etc. Israel raised the issue of discrimination against Jewish education in the U.S.S.R. at unesco's general conferences from 1964. In 1964 the unesco conference adopted an Israel-proposed resolution demanding education toward tolerance and against racialism in kindergartens and elementary schools. In 1960 Israel was active in drafting the Convention against Discrimination in Education.

In November 1967, after the Six-Day War, Israel raised the issue of using textbooks containing material of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate and incitement in unwra-unesco schools. In 1968, in accordance with a decision by its Executive Board, the director general of unesco appointed a committee of outside experts to examine the textbooks in Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, and it confirmed Israel's complaint. After prolonged negotiations, these states undertook to expunge the objectionable passages from the textbooks. Syria refused to abide by unesco's Executive Committee's decisions, declaring that "the hatred we instill in our children from birth is a sacred emotion." In 1969–70, under unesco auspices, matriculation examinations, according to the Egyptian curriculum, were held in the Israel-administered Gaza Strip. In 1967, in accordance with the Convention on Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, applied for the first time, unesco sent general commissioners to Israel and her neighbors. The Arabs accused Israel of destroying historical sites, but the reports of unesco's general commissioners denied this charge. The Arabs also failed in their attempt to have unesco denounce Israel for the fire in the Al-Aqṣā mosque in Jerusalem. On the other hand, the Arabs succeeded in having unesco adopt a resolution which called on Israel to refrain from archaeological excavations and town planning in East Jerusalem in order to preserve its specific character. Israel did not vote and declared that the status of Jerusalem is not within unesco's sphere of responsibility.

unesco published books and pamphlets on Jewish topics in several languages, as well as anti-racialist literature, such as Israel Ancient Mosaics (prefaced by Meyer Shapiro with an introduction by M. Avi-Yonah, 1960); Social Life and Social Values of the Jewish People, in: Journal of World History, 11 (1968/69); Leon Roth, Jewish Thought as a Factor in Civilization (1961); Claude Levi-Strauss, Race and History (1961–4); Cyril Bibby, Race, Prejudice and Education (ed. by Z. Adar, Jerusalem, 1962); Arnold M. Rose, L'Origine des Préjugés (Jerusalem, 1963); Harry L. Shapiro, The Jewish People: A Biological History (19632). unesco's monthly Courier began to appear in Israel in 1968 in a Hebrew edition called Eshnav la-Olam ("Window to the World").


By 1970 there were some 620 nongovernmental organizations a consultative status on the Economic and Social Council and other un bodies, as well as on regional bodies outside the un framework.

ngos delegate observers to the meeting of the bodies with which they have a consultative status and distribute written material on the topics under discussion. The Jewish ngos were active in various fields, such as denouncing racialism, discrimination of all kinds, antisemitism, oppression of minorities, as well as demanding freedom of religion, and particularly persisting in defending the rights of the Jewish communities in the Soviet Union and the Arab countries.

In 1968 the Arab and Soviet delegations opened an intensive campaign to oust the Jewish ngos that have consultative status on the Economic and Social Council, arguing that their "Zionist" character deprives them de facto of their nongovernmental character, since they are closely linked with the State of Israel. Their main target was the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations. At its spring session in 1970, the ecosoc decided not to change the status of the Jewish ngos.

[Anne Marie Lambert]

For Israel, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, as well as significant weakening in the Arab position following the Gulf War and the opening of peace talks after the Madrid Conference, led to a significant change in its standing in the United Nations. This manifested itself in the unprecedented repeal on December 15, 1991, of General Assembly Resolution 3379 passed in 1975 that had equated Zionism with racism. The resolution, which had been passed by a vote of 72 in favor, 35 against and 32 abstentions, was repealed in 1991 by a vote of 111 in favor, 25 against (including almost all the Arab and Muslim states), and 13 abstentions.

Even following the resolution's repeal, critics pointed to an anti-Israel bias at the un, in the General Assembly and other un forums, such as unesco. Israel's position within the un was nevertheless considered to have improved since 1991, as it was elected to several un bodies that were previously closed to it. At the end of 1992 Israel was approached for the first time by the secretary general of the un, Dr. Butrus-Ghali, about sending professional personnel to participate in un peacekeeping forces, and agreed.

Resolution 3379 (November 10, 1975), which declared that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination," had marked the climax of what critics denounced as an ongoing anti-Israel and antisemitic campaign in the United Nations, especially since the 1970s. The U.S. ambassador to the un, Daniel Patrick Moynihan called it a "terrible lie… an infamous act." Israel's then ambassador to the un, Chaim Herzog, told the General Assembly: "For us, the Jewish people, this resolution based on hatred, falsehood, and arrogance is devoid of any moral or legal value," and then he tore the text of the resolution in two.

For most Israelis, the un resolution equating Zionism with racism was an Orwellian inversion of language, deemed common practice at the Soviet-Arab-Third World-dominated General Assembly of the mid-1970s. But unlike other regular generalized attacks on capitalism, democracy, or freedom of the press, here the Israeli delegation felt the target was clear and specific: to delegitimize a member state – Israel – and to legitimize antisemitism. The adverse ramifications for Jews and Israelis went far beyond the narrow confines of the United Nations, as would become explicit in an alarming increase of antisemitic incidents in Western Europe.

Subsequently, critics point out, the attacks on Israel and Zionism, replete with antisemitic nuances, spread to all the un institutions and special agencies, bearing the nature of a campaign to delegitimize the right of the Jewish people to its own independent state. More than 30 anti-Israel resolutions were adopted on various aspects of the Arab-Israel conflict. Israel was singled out in General Assembly resolutions for policies of "hegemony" and "racism" and was accused of being a "non-peace-loving country" (a characterization, which, according to the un Charter, could be grounds for expulsion from the organization), "an affront to humanity" and a perpatrator of "war crimes."

The resolutions and papers accepted and distributed within the various organizations of the United Nations were mostly collections of condemnations, abuses, and retouched histories that disregarded and even challenged the right of Israel to exist as a state. At the General Assembly, resolutions called for economic, diplomatic, and military sanctions against Israel which, had they not been vetoed in the Security Council, would have left Israel helpless against military attacks as well as political and economic ones. un records contain many antisemitic outbursts, delegitimization attacks, obscene accusations, and diatribes against Israel. Critical reviews of the un General Assembly records, of diplomatic efforts as well as the media coverage involved in passing these resolutions pointed to the annual and special un conferences as forums for anti-Israel attacks. The un played a major role in enhancing the prestige and international standing of the Palestine Liberation Organization (plo) when its leader, Yasser Arafat, addressed the General Assembly in November 1974.

In the early 1980s the anti-Israeli campaign shifted to an effort to have the credentials of the Israeli delegation to the General Assembly disqualified, with the goal of having Israel suspended from the deliberations. As a result of the determined American position, accompanied by U.S. threats that it would withdraw if Israel were to be suspended, no deliberation on the disqualification of Israel's credentials took place. The revelations in 1986–7 on the Nazi past of Dr. Kurt Waldheim, the former Secretary General of the un, dealt another blow to the prestige of the un. Waldheim's file in the un War Crimes Commission was not known to the public when he was elected, serving 10 years in this post.

In the field of un peacekeeping forces, the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict continued to be an active laboratory for various operations. In addition to the un Disengagement Observer Force (undof) in the Golan Heights since 1974, the un Interim Force in Lebanon (unifil) has been stationed in southern Lebanon since 1978. Criticism within the un General Assembly of the Camp David Accords and the peace agreements between Israel and Egypt as well as the opposition of the Soviet Union in the Security Council prompted the creation of a new framework outside the un, the Multinational Force, led by the United States, which was stationed in Sinai after Israel's final withdrawal to the international border in April 1982. This Multinational Force replaced the un forces in Sinai.

There are still about 300 un personnel in the un Truce Supervision Organization (untso) that was established in 1948 to supervise the cease-fires and later the armistice agreements between Israel and its neighbors. The un Relief and Work Agency (unrwa) has been operating in the Palestinian refugee camps in the territories.

[Avi Beker]

After the short honeymoon in the wake of the Oslo Accords, hostility to Israel again reared its head as the Arab-Israel peace process became stalled and the second Intifada got under way in 2000. The Israeli perception of being labeled the primary aggressor in the Arab-Israel conflict was reinforced by events at the un World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, in the summer of 2001, which steadfastly refused to concern itself with antisemitism and instead held up the Palestinians as victims of Israeli racism, as well as in the 2004 condemnation of Israel's security fence by the un's International Court of Justice. In 2002 the un was quick to call Israel's incursion in Jenin against Palestinian terrorists a "massacre" though it later had to admit that most of the 52 dead were armed combatants. In 2003 the General Assembly passed 18 resolutions critical of Israel, but only four mentioning any other country, with such gross violators of human rights as Syria and China not mentioned at all. International sentiment, as expressed by the United Nations' General Asembly, remained critical of Israel in the Middle East equation, implying that it could not play a meaningful role in the peace process.

On a more positive note, in 2005 the un General Assembly proclaimed January 27 as International Holocaust Day, marking the first time that a resolution introduced by Israel was adopted by the General Assembly.


R. Higgins, United Nations Peacekeeping 19461967: The Middle East (1969); A. Lall, The un and the Middle East Crisis (1967); Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and the United Nations (1956); A.G. Mezerik, The Arab-Israeli Conflict and the un; The 1967 Round: Prelude, June War, Jarring Mission (1969); J. Robinson, Palestine and the United Nations (1947); P. de Azcarate, Mission in Palestine 194852 (1966); D. Brook, Preface to Peace … (1964); N. Safran, The United Nations and Israel (1963); E. Lauterpacht, Jerusalem and the Holy Places (1968); M. Sharett, Be-Sha'ar ha-Ummot 19461949 (1958); Y. Dinstein, in: St. John's Law Review, 44 (1970), 466, 476–82; Y. Lador-Lederer, International Non-Governmental Organizations and Economic Entities (1963); B. Akzin, in: N. Feinberg and J. Stoyanovsky (eds.), Jewish Yearbook of International Law (1948), 87ff., E. Elath, Yoman San Francisco (1971). add. bibliography: A. Bayefsky, "The un and the Jews," in: Commentary (Feb. 26, 2004); D. Tell, "The un's Israel Obsession," in: The Weekly Standard (May 6, 2002).

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