Sunday, May 1, 2016

20 - Note on Israel’s Responses to the Anglo-American Proposals for Border Pacification

After nearly a month of internal consultations, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs finally, on July 29, sent a formal note to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, expressing appreciation for the powers’ concern about border incidents, but insisting that efforts needed to be directed at “removing [the] root of [the] trouble.” This was defined as being the “determination of [the] Arab world to maintain a state of war, and its relentless campaign of economic warfare and hostile propaganda and incitement, breaking out in acts of violence.” The MFA further prefaced its comments on the 11 proposals by criticizing Jordan's “practice of selective implementation” of the Armistice Agreements, as evidenced by its failure to honour Articles VIII and XII, as well as the recent refusal to pledge itself publicly to the “settlement [of] its disputes with Israel by peaceful means” as enjoined by Article 35(2) of the UN Charter. If the suggested improvements amounted to a revision of the Armistice Agreement, why (Israel asked) should this tripartite effort be any more productive than the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to convene a conference under Article XII — efforts which had met with a flat Jordanian refusal to attend?
        As for the proposals themselves, the Israeli note expressed disappointment “that not many of them [were] in fact preventive in character.” Equally serious, in Israeli eyes, was the contemplated “radical change in [the] status and function of UN machinery.” Reverting to its longstanding preference for direct bilateral talks with each of its neighbors, Israel argued that, “[i]n any case, detailed consideration of specific proposals could usefully be conducted only between the parties directly concerned, who must see themselves jointly responsible for [the] conclusions reached.” After welcoming two of the proposals and expressing conditional approval of a third, the note spoke disingenuously of the possibility “that consultation and discussion between [the] parties to [the] armistice agreements would lead to agreement on additional preventive measures which could be carried into effect by cooperation between them.” The note concluded with an appeal to the US government to “use its influence with [the] Kingdom of Jordan to impress on it [the] imperative necessity of restoring [the] full effective validity of the General Armistice Agreement to which it is [a] signatory and of proceeding faithfully to discharge its obligations under it.”
See FRUS 1952-1954, doc.846, and DFPI 9, doc.302. Cf. Evans to Foreign Office, July 30, 1954, TNA FO371/111073 VR1072/158; Evans to Falla, August 10, 1954, FO371/111073 VR1072/172.
The British and Americans would be disappointed in the Israeli and Jordanian replies to their démarche. See Evans to Shuckburgh, August 3, 1954, FO371/111073 VR1072/166; Falla to Crossthwaite August 19, 1954, loc.cit.