- United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194
United NationsGeneral Assembly Resolution 194 [http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/c758572b78d1cd0085256bcf0077e51a?OpenDocument] was passed on December 11 1948, near the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The resolution expresses appreciation for the efforts of UN Envoy Folke Bernadotteafter his assassination by members of the Stern Gang. It deals with the situation in the region of Palestineat the time, establishing and defining the role of the United Nations Conciliation Commissionas an organization to facilitate peace in the region.
The resolution consists of 15 articles, the most quoted of which are:
* Article 7: protection and free access to the Holy Places
* Article 8: demilitarization and UN control over Jerusalem
* Article 9: free access to Jerusalem
* Article 11: calls for the return of refugees
International reception and interpretation
Many of the resolution's articles have been largely ignored by all involved parties to this day. Because of its charged nature, there were multiple reactions to the resolution and there are still many popular interpretation. Since General Assembly are only recommendation they are not legally enforceable.
Article 11 - Refugees
Article 11 reads:
:Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours 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 and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.
The exact meaning and timing of enforcement of the resolution were disputed from the beginning.
Since the late 1960s, Article 11 has increasingly been quoted by those who interpret it as a basis for the "
right of return" of Palestinian refugees.
Israel has usually contested this reading, pointing out that the text merely states that the refugees "should be permitted" to return to their homes at the "earliest practicable date" and this recommendation applies only to those "wishing to... live at peace with their neighbors". [http://web.israelinsider.com/Views/2654.htm] The one exception was at the
Lausanne Conference, 1949, where a Joint Protocol was accepted by the Israeli government and the Arab delegates on May 12, 1949. Israel, under pressure due to its desire to become a member of the United Nations, agreed in principal to the repatriation of the Palestinian refugees. After Israel became a member of the United Nations, the only attempt at any repatriation was a short lived offer to accept 100,000 refugees, but no more. This offer, which was rejected by the Arabs, was then quickly withdrawn by Israel. [cite book
authorlink= Ilan Pappe
title= The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1947-1951
chapter = The Lausanne Conference
publisher= I.B. Tauris
isbn= 1 85043 819 6 ]
David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, insisted in an interview with the members of the Conciliations Commission that as long as Israel could not count on the dedication of any Arab refugees to remain "at peace with their neighbors" - a consequence, he contended, of the Arab states' unwillingness to remain at peace with the state of Israel - resettlement was not an obligation for his country. [ [http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/93037e3b939746de8525610200567883!OpenDocument Progress Report of the Conciliations Commission, 23 October 1950, III:9] ]
Supporters to this line of reasoning sometimes also raise the question of a large number of displaced Jews - usually quoted between 750,000 and 850,000 - who could potentially qualify as refugees to which Resolution 194 could then be appliedFact|date=January 2008. That is, those refugees could insist on returning to their abandoned properties in Arab lands - a "right" most unlikely to be acceded to (see
Jewish exodus from Arab lands). Fact|date=January 2008
The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution every year since the passage of UNGAR 194 which reaffirms the consensus of world opinion in support of Article 11, that the Palestinian refugees be permitted to return to their 1948 homes, and those who choose not to return should be compensated for the financial losses they suffered. Aside from some rare family reunifications which have been completely discontinued, Israel has never permitted any of the refugees to return to their homes, nor has any compensation been paid to the refugees for their property which was confiscated by Israel.
The General Assembly,
Having considered further the situation in Palestine,
1. Expresses its deep appreciation of the progress achieved through the good offices of the late United Nations Mediator in promoting a peaceful adjustment of the future situation of Palestine, for which cause he sacrificed his life; and extends its thanks to the Acting Mediator and his staff for their continued efforts and devotion to duty in Palestine;
2. Establishes a Conciliation Commission consisting of three States Members of the United Nations which shall have the following functions:
(a) To assume, insofar as it considers necessary in existing circumstances, the functions given to the United Nations Mediator on Palestine by resolution 186 (S-2) of the General Assembly of
14 May 1948;
(b) To carry out the specific functions and directives given to it by the present resolution and such additional functions and directives as may be given to it by the General Assembly or by the Security Council;
(c) To undertake, upon the request of the Security Council, any of the functions now assigned to the United Nations Mediator on Palestine or to the United Nations Truce Commission by resolutions of the Security Council; upon such request to the Conciliation Commission by the Security Council with respect to all the remaining functions of the United Nations Mediator on Palestine under Security Council resolutions, the office of the Mediator shall be terminated;
3. Decides that a Committee of the Assembly, consisting of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, shall present, before the end of the first part of the present session of the General Assembly, for the approval of the Assembly, a proposal concerning the names of the three States which will constitute the Conciliation Commission;
4. Requests the Commission to begin its functions at once, with a view to the establishment of contact between the parties themselves and the Commission at the earliest possible date;
5. Calls upon the Governments and authorities concerned to extend the scope of the negotiations provided for in the Security Council's resolution of
16 November 1948and to seek agreement by negotiations conducted either with the Conciliation Commission or directly with a view to the final settlement of all questions outstanding between them;
6. Instructs the Conciliation Commission to take steps to assist the Government and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them;
7. Resolves that the Holy Places - including Nazareth - religious buildings and sites in Palestine should be protected and free access to them assured, in accordance with existing rights and historical practice that arrangements to this end should be under effective United Nations supervision; that the United Nations Conciliation Commission, in presenting to the fourth regular session of the General Assembly its detailed proposal for a permanent international regime for the territory of Jerusalem, should include recommendations concerning the Holy Places in that territory; that with regard to the Holy Places in the rest of Palestine the Commission should call upon the political authorities of the areas concerned to give appropriate formal guarantees as to the protection of the Holy Places and access to them; and that these undertakings should be presented to the General Assembly for approval;
8. Resolves that, in view of its association with three world religions, the Jerusalem area, including the present municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns, the most Eastern of which shall be
Abu Dis; the most Southern, Bethlehem; the most Western, Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most Northern, Shu'fat, should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control;
Requests the Security Council to take further steps to ensure the demilitarization of Jerusalem at the earliest possible date;
Instructs the Conciliation Commission to present to the fourth regular session of the General Assembly detailed proposals for a permanent international regime for the Jerusalem area which will provide for the maximum local autonomy for distinctive groups consistent with the special international status of the Jerusalem area;
The Conciliation Commission is authorized to appoint a United Nations representative who shall cooperate with the local authorities with respect to the interim administration of the Jerusalem area;
9. Resolves that, pending agreement on more detailed arrangements among the Governments and authorities concerned, the freest possible access to Jerusalem by road, rail or air should be accorded to all inhabitants of Palestine;
Instructs the Conciliation Commission to report immediately to the Security Council, for appropriate action by that organ, any attempt by any party to impede such access;
10. Instructs the Conciliation Commission to seek arrangements among the Governments and authorities concerned which will facilitate the economic development of the area, including arrangements for access to ports and airfields and the use of transportation and communication facilities;
11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours 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 and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;
Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;
12. Authorizes the Conciliation Commission to appoint such subsidiary bodies and to employ such technical experts, acting under its authority, as it may find necessary for the effective discharge of its functions and responsibilities under the present resolution;
The Conciliation Commission will have its official headquarters at Jerusalem. The authorities responsible for maintaining order in Jerusalem will be responsible for taking all measures necessary to ensure the security of the Commission. The Secretary-General will provide a limited number of guards for the protection of the staff and premises of the Commission;
13. Instructs the Conciliation Commission to render progress reports periodically to the Secretary-General for transmission to the Security Council and to the Members of the United Nations;
14. Calls upon all Governments and authorities concerned to cooperate with the Conciliation Commission and to take all possible steps to assist in the implementation of the present resolution;
15. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the necessary staff and facilities and to make appropriate arrangements to provide the necessary funds required in carrying out the terms of the present resolution.
Palestinian Right of Return
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