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United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (III)
11 December 1948




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Hostilities between Arabs and Jews began almost immediately following adoption of the UN Partition Plan.  Until the departure of the British, fighting was conducted on the Arab side mostly by Palestinian irregulars and volunteers organized by the Arab League and Fawzi El-Kaukji. Jordan's Arab Legion participated in fighting at the Gush Etzion block, near Hebron.

Almost unbelievably, active fighting, including massacres on both sides, in the middle of the city of Jerusalem and in broad daylight, took place under the eyes of the British Army, and the Army usually did nothing until after the fact.

On May 15, 1948, when the British had departed, the Jordan Legion, Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi armies entered the fight. At first, the Arab side had the upper hand, especially in the siege of Jerusalem and in the south, where the Egyptian army made considerable inroads. However, as the war progressed, and particularly after the first armistice in  June 1948, the Jews  succeeded in arming themselves and forming an army out of the Hagannah, Irgun and Lehi underground groups, and the advantage fell to the Jewish side. Even in early stages of the war, Arab Palestinians began abandoning villages and towns under attack. Arab flight increased as the war went on, perhaps owing partly to a massacre at Deir Yassin perpetrated by the Irgun and Lehi, and a few subsequent alleged massacres at Al-Dawaima, Lydda and elsewhere perpetrated by the Haganah, partly to a deliberate policy introduced by the Israeli government toward the end of the war, partly to the example of Arab community leaders who fled, precipitating panic, and partly, at first, to encouragement by Arab leadership to leave Palestine for the duration of the war. By the end of 1948, there were hundreds of thousands of refugees  outside the borders of Palestine. Israel passed a law that forbades the return of the refugees.

Resolution 194, presented below, was passed soon after the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, attributed to the LEHI , and partly expresses the anger of the UN member states over the assassination. The resolution was meant to deal with this problem as well as others, with a view to ending the war. The mediation mechanism proposed eventually resulted in an Armistice. Provisions regarding the refugees and economic aid for reconstruction were never implemented. The resolution concerning internationalization of Jerusalem, based on Resolution 181, had been a dead letter from the beginning. Earlier, the Arab side had refused to consent to it, now, neither side would agree on it.

Ami Isseroff


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United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (III)
11 December 1948

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, in so far as it considers necessary in existing circumstances, the functions given to the United Nations Mediator on Palestine by resolution 182;(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 1948 and 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 Governments 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 proposals for a permanent international régime 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 Commission to present to the fourth regular session of the General Assembly detailed proposals for a permanent international régime 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 co-operate 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 co-operate 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.

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