UN General Assembly Resolution 194

UN General Assembly Resolution 194

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United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 General Assembly Resolution 194
was passed on December 11, 1948, near the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

. The resolution expresses appreciation for the efforts of UN Envoy Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte
Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg was a Swedish diplomat and nobleman noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on 14 April 1945...

 after his assassination by members of the Zionist ultra-nationalist Lehi (group)
Lehi (group)
Lehi , commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine...

, headed by Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

. Resolution 194 deals with the situation in the region after the majority of the Palestinian Arab population fled from areas which Israel controlled and the surviving Palestinian Jewish population in Arab-occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank had been expelled by the (Trans)Jordanian Arab Legion. The resolution called for the return of refugees to their homes and defined the role of the U.N. United Nations Conciliation Commission
United Nations Conciliation Commission
The United Nations Conciliation Commission was created by UN General Assembly Resolution 194, in order to conclude the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.On December 11, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the proposal to set up the committee with delegates of three nations. France, Turkey and the United...

 as an organization to facilitate peace in the region.

The resolution was adopted by a majority of 35 countries from among the 58 members of the United Nations at that time; however all six Arab countries then represented at the UN voted against it (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, all were parties to the conflict in question). Israel had not yet been admitted to the UN.

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


United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273 was passed on May 11, 1949 to admit the State of Israel to membership in the United Nations. Admission was made conditional upon implementation of Resolutions 181 of November 29, 1947 and 194 of December 11, 1948 .-Full text:Having received the report...

 admitted Israel to the United Nations on May 11, 1949 after Israel consented to implement other UN resolutions including resolutions 194 and 181.

International reception and interpretation


Many of the resolution's articles were not fulfilled, since these were opposed by Israel, rejected by the Arab states, or were overshadowed by war as the 1948 conflict continued until Armistice in 1949 between Israel and Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

.

Israel has since rejected any resolution which calls on it to allow the Palestinians to come to Israel. Since General Assembly resolutions are not binding, and only serve as advisory statements, there can be no obligation or enforcement of Resolution 194. Since Israel became the major American ally in the Middle-East, the U.S. has vetoed many U.N. Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel, or calling on it to act in accordance with international law.

Article 11 - Refugees


Article 11 reads:
Resolves 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 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;


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". The one exception was at the Lausanne Conference, 1949
Lausanne Conference, 1949
The Lausanne Conference, 1949 was convened by the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine from 27 April to 12 September 1949 in Lausanne, Switzerland...

, where a Joint Protocol was accepted by the Israeli government and the Arab delegates on May 12, 1949. After Israel had become a member of the United Nations, prime minister Moshe Sharett
Moshe Sharett
Moshe Sharett on 15 October 1894, died 7 July 1965) was the second Prime Minister of Israel , serving for a little under two years between David Ben-Gurion's two terms.-Early life:...

 offered to repatriate 100,000 refugees. This offer was subsequently withdrawn by Israel, when David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 again became prime minister.

As well as the immigration of Eastern European Jews, Israel absorbed a large number of "Jewish refugees" who had been forced to emigrate from Arab states or induced to immigrate to Israel by the Hagana, with total number of Jews from Arab lands between 750,000 - 850,000, between 1948-1951. In 1951 Israel passed the Law of Return
Law of Return
The Law of Return is Israeli legislation, passed on 5 July 1950, that gives Jews the right of return and settlement in Israel and gain citizenship...

 [חוק השבות, תשכ"א], which legislated a right for all Jews to immigrate, or "return from Exile".

It is estimated that about 5 million Palestinians living in refugee communities scattered mainly in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon could claim a right of return under this article, assuming refugee status is hereditary.

Under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, a refugee is more narrowly defined as a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country". According to this definition, many of the Palestinians displaced during the 1948 war are not refugees, but internally displace persons.

Full text


The General Assembly,

Having considered further the situation in Palestine,
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;



    1. Establishes a Conciliation Commission consisting of three States Members of the United Nations which shall have the following functions:

    2. 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;


    3. 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;


    4. 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;



  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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
    Abu Dis
    Abu Dis is a Palestinian town in the Jerusalem Governorate, bordering Jerusalem. Abu Dis is due east of the Jerusalem municipal border. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics , the town had a population of approximately 12,100 in mid-year 2006.-Ottoman era:Abu Dis was one of the...

    ; the most Southern, Bethlehem
    Bethlehem
    Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

    ; the most Western, Ein Karim
    Ein Kerem
    Ein Kerem , lit. “Spring of the Vineyard”, and - ‘Ein Kārem), is an ancient village of the Jerusalem District and now a neighbourhood in southwest of Jerusalem. According to Christian tradition, John the Baptist was born in Ein Kerem, leading to the establishment of many churches and monasteries....

     (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most Northern, Shu'fat
    Shuafat
    Shu'fat , also Shuafat and Sha'fat, is a Palestinian Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem, forming part of north-eastern Jerusalem. Located on the old Jerusalem-Ramallah road about three miles north of the Old City, Shuafat has a population of 35,000 residents...

    , 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;


  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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;


  • 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.


  • See also

    • List of the UN resolutions concerning Israel and Palestine
    • Palestinian refugees
    • Jewish refugees
      Jewish refugees
      In the course of history, Jewish populations have been expelled or ostracised by various local authorities and have sought asylum from antisemitism numerous times...

    • United Nations Conciliation Commission
      United Nations Conciliation Commission
      The United Nations Conciliation Commission was created by UN General Assembly Resolution 194, in order to conclude the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.On December 11, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the proposal to set up the committee with delegates of three nations. France, Turkey and the United...


    External links


    Arab Legion soldier watches over evacuation of Jews from Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, 1948 (Life Magazine)