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n 1959, Israel began work on the national water carrier project, which would take water from the Sea of Galilee for irrigation in other parts of the country, in accordance with the regional plan proposed by US Envoy Eric Johnston in 1955. The plan had been accepted by Arab engineers, but the Arab governments refused to ratify it.
In 1964, as the work progressed, Arab governments met in two summit conferences to consider ways of combating the water scheme and of eliminating Israel. At the first conference, in January 1964, they laid the groundwork for the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was founded to encourage Palestinian terror raids. However, Syria, Jordan and Egypt made great efforts to ensure that such raids did not occur from their territory. The PLO was founded in May of 1964.
The second Arab summit conference, held in Alexandria on Sept. 13, 1964, declared the goal of eliminating Israel, and made concrete decisions regarding unification of army commands, increased size of armed forces and diversion of the waters of the Jordan before they reached the Sea of Galilee, in Syria and Lebanon. The goal was stated quite clearly:
"The Council has unanimously defined the national cause as that of liberating Palestine from Zionist imperialism and pursuing a plan of joint Arab action both during the present stage - for which plans have already been laid down - and at the next stage, for which it has already been decided to make preparations."
These resolutions were taken quite seriously in Israel and caused a good deal of alarm. Following the second conference, Israel addressed a note to the UN, quoting from the resolutions of the conference and noting that they contradicted the UN charter. The Arab states replied on October 8, and Israel answered them on October 9.
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Israeli Notes to the Security Council following the second Arab summit conference, S/5980, 18 September, and S/6020, 19 October 1964:
18 September 1964
I have the honour, on instructions from the Government of Israel, to draw the urgent attention of the Security Council to the decisions taken at the Arab summit conference held at Alexandria, from 5 to 11 September 1964.
The proclamation made public at the end of the conference, on 11 September, contains inter alia the following passage (translated from the Arabic):
"The Council has unanimously defined the national cause as that of liberating Palestine from Zionist imperialism and pursuing a plan of joint Arab action both during the present stage - for which plans have already been laid down - and at the next stage, for which it has already been decided to make preparations. "The Council stresses the need to utilize all Arab potentialities and concentrate all Arab energies against the challenge of imperialism and Zionism. "The Council has adopted the necessary resolutions to implement Arab plans, especially in the military and technical fields. "The Council welcomes the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization as a support for the Palestine entity and a vanguard of the joint Arab struggle to liberate Palestine. The Council has endorsed the Organization's decision to establish the Palestine Liberation Army and has also fixed the obligations of the member States towards the Organization."
The clear purport of this proclamation is that thirteen member-States of the United Nations have set themselves the aim of liquidating another member-State, have declared that to be a central policy objective guiding their collective actions, and have determined to concentrate all their national potential on the attainment of this aim.
The Alexandria decisions are without parallel. They stand in naked conflict with the Charter of the United Nations and with every accepted principle governing relations between States. Moreover, they clash with international efforts to seek ways of relaxing tension, of settling disputes by pacific means, and of attaining permanent world peace.
These decisions must be seen in the perspective of years of hostile and bellicose policies against Israel on the part of the Arab States, their refusal to recognize the existence of Israel, their military provocations on the borders, their boycott and blockade, and their continuous and escalating rearmament. These States reject every proposal to seek a peaceful settlement of disputes between Israel and themselves.
The State of Israel, which embodies the hopes of the Jewish people, and within which the Jewish survivors have gathered, will know how to defend itself, and to repel any aggression.
For many years the Government of Israel has urged the international community, inside and outside the United Nations, to take serious note of such aggressive policies directed against the State of Israel. It is imperative to stress once again before the United Nations that these policies, now given explicit formulation and endorsement in the decisions of the Alexandria conference, inflame the tension in the Middle East, and constitute a threat to international peace and security.
It would be unwarranted for the United Nations and its members to acquiesce in this open challenge to United Nations principles, or to ignore the threat to the peace which is involved.
I have the honour to request that this letter be circulated to the members of the Security Council, as a Council document.
(Signed) Michael Comay
Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations
9 October 1964
I have the honour to refer to the letter dated 6 October 1964, addressed to you by the Representatives of thirteen Arab States (S/6003).
In my letter to you of 18 September 1964 (S/5980), the attention of the Security Council was drawn to a passage in the declaration issued by the Council of Arab Kings and Heads of State, at Alexandria, on 11 September 1964. That passage appears as follows in the official text of the declaration, attached to the above-mentioned letter of the Arab Representatives:
"The Council was unanimous in defining national objectives for the liberation of Palestine from Zionist colonialism and in committing itself to a plan for joint Arab action both in the present stage for which plans have been made, and in the following stage.
"The Council stressed the necessity of utilizing all Arab potentialities, and the mobilization of their resources and capabilities, in order to counter the challenge of colonialism and Zionism as well as Israel's continued aggressive policies and its insistence in denying the rights of the Arabs of Palestine to their homeland".
"The Council adopted resolutions for the implementation of Arab plans, especially in the technical and military fields, including embarking on immediate work on projects for the exploitation of the waters of the River Jordan and its tributaries. "The Council welcomed the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization to consolidate the Palestine entity, and as a vanguard for the collective Arab struggle for the liberation of Palestine. It approved the Organization's decision to establish a Palestinian Liberation Army and defined the commitments of the member-States to assist it in its work."
This official text serves to corroborate and strengthen the charge in my previous letter of 18 September, that "The clear purport of this proclamation is that thirteen member-States of the United Nations have set themselves the aim of liquidating another member-State, have declared that to be a central policy objective guiding their collective actions, and have determined to concentrate all their national potential on the attainment of this aim. "
That charge constitutes the central and overriding issue raised by my previous letter. The most significant and sinister feature of the reply of the Arab Representatives is that it fails to deny that charge, and seeks to divert attention to other matters.
Issues of war and peace are far too grave to permit of evasive and ambiguous language. Either these thirteen Arab States have set themselves the aim of liquidating another member-State, or they are willing to renounce the use of force and abide by the provisions of the Charter, and, in particular, the principles set out in Article 2 thereof. It is the right of the United Nations and the international community to expect an unequivocal answer to this question.
The letter from the Arab Representatives, by evading the real issue, only bears out the need for the United Nations and its members to take serious note of the threat to international peace and security involved in the anti-Israel policies of the Arab States, as proclaimed in the Alexandria declaration.
I would request that this letter be circulated to members of the Council, as a Security Council document.
(Signed) Michael Comay
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