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Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement, 24 February 1949 - History

Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement, 24 February 1949 - History


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Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement, 24 February 1949:
On 6 January 1949, Dr. Bunche announced that Egypt had finally, consented to start talks with Israel on an armistice. The talks began on the island of Rhodes on 12 January, and, shortly after their commencement, Israel agreed to the release of a besieged Egyptian brigade in Faluja. At the end of the month, the talks foundered.

Israel demanded that Egypt withdraw all its forces from the former area of Palestine, Egypt insisted that Arab forces withdraw to the positions which they held on 14 October 1948, as under Security Council Resolution S/1070 of 4 November 1948. One reason for the deadlock was the mounting tension in Egypt, which culminated on 12 February 1949 in the murder of Hassan el-Banah, leader of` the ultra-nationalist Moslem Brotherhood. In early February, Israel threatened to abandon the talks, where upon the United States appealed to the parties to bring them to a successful conclusion, and on 24 February the Israel-Egypt armistice agreement was signed in Rhodes. Its text follows:
Preamble

The parties to the present Agreement, responding to the Security Council resolution of 16 November 1948 calling upon them, as a further provisional measure under Article 40 of the Charter of the United Nations and in order to facilitate the transition from the present truce to permanent peace in Palestine, to negotiate an Armistice; having decided to enter into negotiations under United Nations Chairmanship concerning the implementation of the Security Council resolutions of 4 and 16 November 1948; and having appointed representatives empowered to negotiate and conclude an Armistice Agreement;

The undersigned representatives, in the full authority entrusted to them by their respective Governments, have agreed upon the following provisions:
Article I

With a view to promoting the return of permanent peace in Palestine and in recognition of the importance in this regard of mutual assurances concerning the future military operations of the Parties, the following principles, which shall be fully observed by both Parties during the Armistice, are hereby affirmed:
1. The injunction of the Security Council against resort to military force in the settlement of the Palestine question shall henceforth be scrupulously respected by both Parties.

2. No aggressive action by the armed forces - land, sea, or air - of either Party shall be undertaken, planned, or threatened against the people or the armed forces of the other; it being understood that the use of the term "planned" in this context has no bearing on normal staff planning as generally practised in military organisations.

3. The right of each Party to its security and freedom from fear of attack by the armed forces of the other shall be fully respected.

4. The establishment of an armistice between the armed forces of the two Parties is accepted as an indispensable step toward the liquidation of armed conflict and the restoration of peace in Palestine.

Article II

1. In pursuance of the foregoing principles and of the resolutions of the Security Council of 4 and 16 November 1948, a general armistice between the armed forces of the two Parties - land, sea and air - is hereby established.

2. No element of the land, sea or air military or para-military forces of either Party, including non-regular forces, shall commit any warlike or hostile act against the military or para-military forces of the other Party, or against civilians in territory under the control of that Party; or shall advance beyond or pass over for any purpose whatsoever the Armistice Demarcation Line set forth in Article VI of this Agreement except as provided in Article III of this Agreement; and elsewhere shall not violate the international frontier; or enter into or pass through the air space of the other Party or through the waters within three miles of the coastline of the other Party.

Article III

1. In pursuance of the Security Council's resolution of 4 November 1948, and with a view to the implementation of the Security Council's resolution of 16 November 1948, the Egyptian Military Forces in the Al Faluia area shall be withdrawn.

2. This withdrawal shall begin on the day after that which follows the signing of this Agreement, at 0500 hours GMT, and shall be beyond the Egypt-Palestine frontier.

3. The withdrawal shall be under the supervision of the United Nations and in accordance with the Plan of Withdrawal set forth in Annex I to this Agreement.

Article IV

With specific reference to the implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council of 4 and 16 November 1948, the following principles and purposes are affirmed:
1. The principle that no military or political advantage should be gained under the truce ordered by the Security Council is recognised.

2. It is also recognised that the basic purposes and spirit of the Armistice would not be served by the restoration of previously held military positions, changes from those now held other than as specifically provided for in this Agreement, or by the advance of the military forces of either side beyond positions held at the time this Armistice Agreement is signed.

3. It is further recognised that rights, claims or interests of a non-military character in the area of Palestine covered by this Agreement may be asserted by either Party, and that these, by mutual agreement being excluded from the Armistice negotiations, shall be, at the discretion of the Parties, the subject of later settlement. It is emphasised that it is not the purpose of this Agreement to establish, to recognise, to strengthen, or to weaken or nullify, in any way, any territorial, custodial or other rights, claims or interests which may be asserted by either Party in the area of Palestine or any part or locality thereof covered by this Agreement, whether such asserted rights, claims or interests derive from Security Council resolutions, including the resolution of 4 November 1948 and the Memorandum of 13 November 1948 for its implementation, or from any other source. The provisions of this Agreement are dictated exclusively by military considerations and are valid only for the period of the Armistice.

Article V

1. The line described in Article VI of this Agreement shall be designated as the Armistice Demarcation Line and is delineated in pursuance of the purpose and intent of the resolutions of the Security Council of 4 and 16 November 1948.

2. The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question.

3. The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Line is to delineate the line beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move except as provided in Article III of this Agreement.

4. Rules and regulations of the armed forces of the Parties, which prohibit civilians from crossing the fighting lines or entering the area between the lines, shall remain in effect after the signing of this Agreement with application to the Armistice Demarcation Line defined in Article VI.

Article VI

1. In the Gaza-Rafa area the Armistice Demarcation Line shall be as delineated in paragraph 2.B(i) of the Memorandum of 13 November 1948 on the implementation of the Security Council resolution of 4 November 1948, namely by a line from the coast at the mouth of Wadi Hasi in an easterly direction through Deir Suneid and across the Gaza-Al Majdal Highway to a point 3 kilometres east of the Highway, then in a southerly direction parallel to the Gaza-Al Majdal Highway, and continuing thus to the Egyptian frontier.

2. Within this line Egyptian forces shall nowhere advance beyond their present positions, and this shall include Beit Hanun and its surrounding area from which Israeli forces shall be withdrawn to north of the Armistice Demarcation Line, and any other positions within the line delineated in paragraph I which shall be evacuated by Israeli forces as set forth in paragraph 3.

3. Israeli outposts, each limited to platoon strength, may be maintained in this area at the following points: Deir Suneid, on the north side of the Wadi (MR 10751090); 700 SW of Sa'ad (MR 10500982); Sulphur Quarries (MR 09870924); Tall-Jamma (MR 09720887); and KHAL Ma'in (MR 09320821). The Israeli outpost maintained at the Cemetery (MR 08160723) shall be evacuated on the day after that which follows the signing of this Agreement. The Israeli outpost at Hill 79 (MR 10451017) shall be evacuated not later than four weeks following the day on which this Agreement is signed. Following the evacuation of the above outposts, new Israeli outposts may be established at MR

08360700, and at a point due east of Hill 79 east of the Armistice Demarcation Line.

4. In the Bethlehem-Hebron area, wherever positions are held by Egyptian forces, the provisions of this Agreement shall apply to the forces of both Parties in each such locality, except that the demarcation of the Armistice Line and reciprocal arrangements for withdrawal and reduction of forces shall be undertaken in such manner as may be decided by the Parties, at such time as an Armistice Agreement may be concluded covering military forces in that area other than those of the Parties to this Agreement, or sooner at the will of the Parties.

Article VII

1. It is recognised by the Parties to this Agreement that in certain sectors of the total area involved, the proximity of the forces of a third party not covered by this Agreement makes impractical the full application of all provisions of the Agreement to such sectors. For this reason alone, therefore, and pending the conclusion of an Armistice Agreement in place of the existing truce with that third party, the provisions of this Agreement relating to reciprocal reduction and withdrawal of forces shall apply only to the western front and not to the eastern front.

2. The areas comprising the western and eastern fronts shall be as defined by the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation, on the basis of the deployment of forces against each other and past military activity or the future possibility thereof in the area. This definition of the western and eastern fronts is set forth in Annex II of this Agreement.

3. In the area of the western front under Egyptian control, Egyptian defensive forces only may be maintained. All other Egyptian forces shall be withdrawn from this area to a point or points no further east than El Arish-Abou Aoueigila.

4. In the area of the western front under Israeli control, Israeli defensive forces only, which shall be based on the settlements, may be maintained. All other Israeli forces shall be withdrawn from this area to a point or points north of the line delineated in paragraph 2.A of the Memorandum of 13 November 1948 on the implementation of the resolution of the Security Council of 4 November

1948.

5. The defensive forces referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 above shall be as defined in Annex III to this Agreement.

Article VIII

1. The area comprising the village of El Auja and vicinity, as defined in paragraph 2 of this Article, shall be demilitarised, and both Egyptian and Israeli armed forces shall be totally excluded therefrom. The Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission established in Article X of this Agreement and United Nations Observers attached to the Commission shall be responsible for ensuring the full implementation of this provision.

2. The area thus demilitarised shall be as follows: From a point on the Egypt-Palestine frontier five (5) kilometres northwest of the intersection of the Rafah-El Auja road and the frontier (MR 08750468), southeast to Khashm El Mamdud (MR 09650414), thence southeast to Hill 405 (MR 10780285), thence southwest to a point on the Egypt-Palestine frontier five (5) kilometres southeast of the intersection of the old railway tracks and the frontier (MR 09950145), thence returning northwest along the Egypt-Palestine frontier to the point of origin.

3. On the Egyptian side of the frontier, facing the El Auja area, no Egyptian defensive positions shall be closer to El Auja than El Qouseima and Abou Aoueigila.

4. The road Taba-Qouseima-Auja shall not be employed by any military forces whatsoever for the purpose of entering Palestine.

5. The movement of armed forces of either Party to this Agreement into any part of the area defined in paragraph 2 of this Article, for any purpose, or failure by either Party to respect or fulfil any of the other provisions of this Article, when confirmed by the United Nations representatives, shall constitute a flagrant violation of this Agreement.

Article IX

All prisoners of war detained by either Party to this Agreement and belonging to the armed forces, regular or irregular, of the other Party shall be exchanged as follows:
1. The exchange of prisoners of war shall be under United Nations supervision and control throughout. The exchange shall begin within ten days after the signing of this Agreement and shall be completed not later than twenty-one days following. Upon the signing of this Agreement, the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission established in Article X of this Agreement, in consultation with the appropriate military authorities of the Parties, shall formulate a plan for the exchange of prisoners of war within the above period, defining the date and places of exchange and all other relevant details.

2. Prisoners of war against whom a penal prosecution may be pending, as well as those sentenced for crime or other offence, shall be included in this exchange of prisoners.

3. All articles of personal use, valuables, letters, documents, identification marks, and other personal effects of whatever nature, belonging to prisoners of War who are being exchanged, shall be returned to them, or, if they have escaped or died, to the Party to whose armed forces they belonged.

4. All matters not specifically regulated in this Agreement shall be decided in accordance with the principles laid down in the International Convention Relating to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, signed at Geneva on 27 July

1929.

5. The Mixed Armistice Commission established in Article X of this Agreement shall assume, responsibility for locating missing persons, whether military or civilian, within the areas controlled by each Party, to facilitate their expeditious exchange. Each Party undertakes to extend to the Commission full co-operation and assistance in the discharge of this function.

Article X

1. The execution of the provisions of this Agreement shall be supervised by a Mixed Armistice Commission composed of seven members, of whom each Party to this Agreement shall designate three, and whose Chairman shall be the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation or a senior officer from the Observer personnel of that Organisation designated by him following consultation with both Parties to this Agreement.

2. The Mixed Armistice Commission shall maintain its headquarters at El Auja, and shall hold its meetings at such places and at such times as it may deem necessary for the effective conduct of its work.

3. The Mixed Armistice Commission shall be convened in its first meeting by the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation not later than one week following the signing of this Agreement.

4. Decisions of the Mixed Armistice Commission, to the extent possible, shall be based on the principle of unanimity. In the absence of unanimity, decisions shall be taken by a majority vote of the members of the Commission present and voting. On questions of principle, appeal shall lie to a Special Committee, composed of the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation and one member each of the Egyptian and Israeli Delegations to the Armistice Conference at Rhodes or some other senior officer, whose decisions on all such questions shall be final. If no appeal against a decision of the Commission is filed within one week from the date of said decision, that decision shall be taken as final. Appeals to the Special Committee shall be presented to the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation, who shall convene the Committee at the earliest possible date.

5. The Mixed Armistice Commission shall formulate its own rules of procedure. Meetings shall be held only after due notice to the Members by the Chairman. The quorum for its meetings shall be a majority of its members.

6. The Commission shall be empowered to employ Observers, who may be from among the military organisations of the Parties or from the military personnel of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation, or from both, in such numbers as may be considered essential to the performance of its functions. In the event United Nations Observers should be so employed, they shall remain under the command of the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation. Assignments of a general or special nature given to United Nations Observers attached to the Mixed Armistice Commission shall be subject to approval by the United Nations Chief of Staff or his designated representative on the Commission, whichever is serving as Chairman.

7. Claims or complaints presented by either Party relating to the application of this Agreement shall be referred immediately to the Mixed Armistice Commission through its Chairman. The Commission shall take such action on all such claims or complaints by means of its observation and investigation machinery as it may deem appropriate, with a view to equitable and mutually satisfactory settlement.

8. Where interpretation of the meaning of a particular provision of this Agreement is at issue, the Commission's interpretation shall prevail, subject to the right of appeal as provided in paragraph 4. The Commission, in its discretion and as the need arises, may from time to time recommend to the Parties modifications in the provisions of this Agreement.

9. The Mixed Armistice Commission shall submit to both Parties reports on its activities as frequently as it may consider necessary. A copy of each such report shall be presented to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for transmission to the appropriate organ or agency of the United Nations.

10. Members of the Commission and its Observers shall be accorded such freedom of movement and access in the areas covered by this Agreement as the Commission may determine to be necessary, provided that when such decisions of the Commission are reached by a majority vote United Nations Observers only shall be employed.

11. The expenses of the Commission, other than those relating to United Nations Observers, shall be apportioned in equal shares between the two Parties to this Agreement.

Article XI

No provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question.

Article XII

1. The present Agreement is not subject to ratification and shall come into force immediately upon being signed.

2. This Agreement, having been negotiated and concluded in pursuance of the resolution of the Security Council of 16 November 1948 calling for the establishment of an armistice in order to eliminate the threat to the peace in Palestine and to facilitate the transition from the present truce to permanent peace in Palestine, shall remain in force until a peaceful settlement between the Parties is achieved, except as provided in paragraph 3 of this Article.

3. The Parties to this Agreement may, by mutual consent, revise this Agreement or any of its provisions, or may suspend its application, other than Articles I and II, at any time. In the absence of mutual agreement and after this Agreement has been in effect for one year from the date of its signing, either of the Parties may call upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations to convoke a conference of representatives of the two Parties for the purpose of reviewing, revising or suspending any of the provisions of this Agreement other than Articles I and II. Participation in such conference shall be obligatory upon the Parties.

4. If the conference provided for in paragraph 3 of this Article does not result in an agreed solution of a point in dispute, either Party may bring the matter before the Security Council of the United Nations for the relief sought on the grounds that this Agreement has been concluded in pursuance of Security Council action toward the end of achieving peace in Palestine.

5. This Agreement supersedes the Egyptian-Israeli General Cease- F ire Agreement entered into by the Parties on 24 January 1949.

6. This Agreement is signed in quintuplicate, of which one copy shall be retained by each Party, two copies communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for transmission to the Security Council and to the United Nations Conciliation Commission on Palestine, and one copy to the Acting Mediator on Palestine.

In faith whereof the undersigned representatives of the Contracting Parties have signed hereafter, in the presence of the United Nations Acting Mediator on Palestine and the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation.

Done at Rhodes, Island of Rhodes, Greece, on the twenty-fourth of February nineteen forty-nine.

For and on behalf of the Government of Egypt

Signed: Mahmed Seif El Dine

M. K. El Raliniany

For and on behalf of the Government of Israel

Signed: Walter Eytan

Yigael Yadin

Elias Sasson

Annex I

Plan of Withdrawal from Al Faluja

The withdrawal of Egyptian troops with all of their military impedimenta from the Al Faluja area to points beyond the Egypt-Palestine frontier shall be executed in accordance with the following plan:
1. The withdrawal operation shall begin on 26th February 1949 at 0500 hours GMT and shall be under United Nations supervision and control throughout.

2. In view of the substantial number of troops involved and in the interest of minimising the possibility of friction and incidents and ensuring effective United Nations supervision during the operation, the execution of the withdrawal shall be completed within a period of five days from the effective date of the plan of withdrawal.

3. The road Al Faluja-Iraq Suweidan-Bureir-Gaza-Rafa shall be used as the route of withdrawal; provided that if this route proves impassable on the date of withdrawal the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation shall select an alternative route in consultation with both Parties.

4. At least forty-eight hours prior to the scheduled time of withdrawal the General Officer Commanding the Egyptian Forces in Palestine shall submit to the United Nations Chief of Staff (or his representative), for his approval, a detailed plan for the withdrawal of the Egyptian garrison at Al Faluja, to include:
the number of troops and amount and type of material to be withdrawn each day, the number and type of vehicles to be used each day in the withdrawal movement, and the number of trips necessary to complete each day's movement.

5. The detailed plan referred to in paragraph 4 above shall be based on an order of priority in the withdrawal operation defined by the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision which shall provide inter alia that following the evacuation of sick and Wounded already accounted for, infantry forces together with their personal arms and possessions shall be first evacuated. and heavy equipment only in the final stages of the operation. Heavy equipment is to be defined as artillery, armoured cars, tanks, and Bren gun carriers. With a view toward eliminating any possibility of incidents, following the arrival of the infantry contingents at their destination, the evacuation of heavy equipment shall be to a point in Egyptian territory to be designated by the United Nations Chief of Staff and there, as Egyptian property, to be placed and kept under custody, guard and seal of the United Nations until such time as the Chief of Staff is satisfied that the Armistice has become effective, whereupon this equipment will be handed over to the appropriate Egyptian authorities.

6. The Israeli authorities and officers in the Al Faluja-Gaza area shall extend their full co-operation to the operation and shall be responsible for ensuring that during the withdrawal movements the route to be followed shall be free of obstructions of all kinds and that during the operation Israeli troops shall be kept away from the roads over which the withdrawal will take place.

7. United Nations Military Observers shall be stationed with both the Egyptian and Israeli forces to ensure that this plan of withdrawal, and such subsequent instructions relating to its execution as may be issued by the United Nations Chief of Staff, are fully complied with by both Parties. Such inspections as may be necessary in the conduct of the withdrawal shall be made exclusively by United Nations Military Observers, and their decisions in all such cases shall be accepted as final.

On the sole basis of military considerations involving the forces of the two Parties to this Agreement as well as third party forces in the area not covered by this Agreement, the demarcation of the western and eastern fronts in Palestine is to be understood as follows:
a. Western Front:
The area south and west of the line delineated in paragraph 2.A of the Memorandum of 13 November 1948 on the implementation of the resolution of the Security Council of 4 November 1948, from its point of origin on the west to the point at MR 12581196, thence south along the road to Hatta-Al Faluja - RJ at MR 12140823 - Beersheba and ending north of Bir Asluj at point 402.

b. Eastern Front:
The area east of the line described in paragraph a above, and from point 402 down to the southernmost tip of Palestine, by a straight line marking half the distance between the Egypt-Palestine and Transjordan-Palestine frontiers.

W E. Riley

Brig. Gen. William E. Riley United States Marine Corps

United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation

Rhodes, 24th February, 1949

Annex III

Definition of Defensive Forces

I. Land Forces

1. Shall not exceed:
(a) 3 inf btns, each bn to consist of not more than 800 officers and o.r's and composed of not more than

(i) 4 rifle coys with ordinary inf. S. A. equipment (rifles, LMG's, SMG's, light mortars (e.g. 2"), A/tk rifles or Piat,

(ii) I support coy with not more than 6 MMG's, 6 mortars not heavier than 3", 4 A/tk guns not heavier than 6 pdrs,

(iii) 1 HQ coy.

(b) 1 bty of 8 field guns not heavier than 25 pdrs.

(c) 1 bty of 8 A.A. guns not heavier than 40 mm.

2. The following are excluded from the term "Defensive Forces":
(a) Armour, such as tanks, AC's, Bren-carriers, half-tracks, load carriers or any other AFV's.

(b) All support arms and units other than those specified in paragraph 1(a) (ii), l(b) and l(c) above.

3. Service units will be in accordance with a plan to be prepared and approved by the Mixed Armistice Commission.

II. Air Forces

In the areas where Defensive Forces only will be allowed the following stipulations regarding air forces will be observed:
1. No military air fields, airstrips, landing grounds or installations shall be maintained.

2. No military aircraft shall take off or land except in an emergency.

III. Sea Forces

No naval base shall be established in areas where Defensive Forces only will be allowed, nor shall any warship or military vessel enter the territorial waters adjacent thereto.

IV.

In the areas in which defensive forces only are to be maintained, the necessary reduction of forces shall be completed within four weeks from the date on which this agreement is signed.

Exchange of Letters.

To: Dr. Walter Eytan, Rhodes, 24th February, 1949

Head of the Israeli Delegation at Rhodes

From: Ralph J. Bunche, Acting Mediator

In connection with the Egyptian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement, your confirmation is desired of the understanding that no Israeli forces shall be in the village of Bir Aslui.

Signed: Ralph J. Bunche

To: Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Rhodes, 24th February, 1949

Acting Mediator on Palestine, Rhodes

From: Walter Eytan,

Head of the Israeli Delegation

In connection with the Egyptian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement I confirm the understanding that no Israeli forces shall be in the village of Bir Asluj.

Signed: Walter Eytan

To: Dr. Bunche, Acting Mediator

In connection with the Egyptian- Israeli General Armistice Agreement, your confirmation is desired of the understanding that in the course of the evacuation of the Egyptian Force at Al Faluja, provided for in Article III of the Agreement, such of the civilian population at Al Faluja and Iraq Al Manshiya as may wish to do so may also be evacuated along with the Egyptian Force, Those of the civilian population who may wish to remain in Al Faluja and Iraq Al Manshiya are to be permitted to do so. Those of the civilian population who may wish to do so may proceed to the Hebron area under United Nations escort and supervision. All of these civilians shall be fully secure in their persons, abodes, property and personal effects.

Signed: Ralph J. Bunche, Rhodes, 24th February, 1949

Acting Mediator on Palestine, Rhodes

From: Walter Eytan

Head of the Israeli Delegation at Rhodes

In connection with the Egyptian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement, I confirm the understanding that, in the course of the evacuation of the Egyptian Force at Al Faluja, provided for in Article III of the Agreement, such of the civilian population at Al Faluja and Iraq Al Manshiya as may wish to do so may also be evacuated along with the Egyptian force. Those of the civilian population who may wish to remain in Al Faluja and Iraq Al Manshiya are to be permitted to do so. All of these civilians shall be fully secure in their persons, abodes, property and personal effects.

The Government of Israel reserves the right to treat as prisoners of war any persons electing to remain in the Al Faluja and Iraq Al Manshiya areas who may be identified as having taken part in the fighting in Palestine.

Signed: Walter Eytan

To: Dr. Bunche, Acting Mediator

In connection with the Egyptian- Israeli General Armistice Agreement your confirmation is desired of the understanding that at any time following the signing of this Agreement, the Egyptian Forces now in the Bethlehem-Hebron area, together with all of their arms, equipment, personal possessions and vehicles, may be withdrawn across the Egyptian frontier exclusively under United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision in consultation with the appropriate Israeli authorities.

Signed: Ralph J. Bunche, Rhodes, 24th February, 1949

Acting Mediator on Palestine, Rhodes

From: Walter Eytan,

Head of the Israeli Delegation at Rhodes

In connection with the Egyptian- Israeli General Armistice Agreement I confirm the understanding that at any time following the signing of this Agreement, the Egyptian Forces now in the Bethlehem-Hebron area, together with all of their arms, equipment, personal possessions and vehicles, may be withdrawn across the Egyptian frontier exclusively under United Nations supervision and escort, and by a direct route to be determined by the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision in consultation with the appropriate Israeli authorities.

Signed: Walter Eytan

To: Colonel Seif El Dine, Rhodes, 24th February, 1949

Head of the Egyptian Delegation at Rhodes

From: Ralph J. Bunche, Acting Mediator

In connection with the Egyptian-Israel General Armistice Agreement your confirmation is desired of the understanding that my military camps or corporate localities now astride the Hatta-Al-Faluj a-Beersheba road, or which are located not more than 200 metres west of this road, shall be considered as falling within the area of the eastern front as defined in Annex II of the Agreement.

Signed: Ralph J. Bunche, Rhodes, 24th February, 1949

Acting Mediator on Palestine, Rhodes

From: Colonel Seif El Dine

In reply to your note dated February 19th 1949, I beg to inform you that the Egyptian Delegation agrees to consider any military camps or corporate localities now astride the Hatta-Al-Faluja-Beersheba road, which are located at not more than 200 meters west of this road, as falling within the area of the eastern front as defined in Annex II of the Armistice Agreement signed today.

Seif El Dine


Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement, 24 February 1949 - History


Egypt sent building equipments to Gaza – Via yahoo

History repeats itself is a valid cliché in the Middle East. Following the defeat of the Arab states by Israel in 1948, the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement was signed in Rhodes on February 24, 1949. The border between Egypt and the new state of Israel was drawn along the 1906 internationally agreed border between Ottoman Palestine and British-ruled Egypt ____ except near the Mediterranean Sea, where Egypt controlled a strip of land along the coast, which became known as the Gaza Strip.

Seventy-two years later, another war has dragged Egypt into the Gaza strip, albeit more subtly. This time, Egyptian engineers and workers with their bulldozers, cranes and trucks have crossed into the Gaza strip to start reconstruction work, repairing what the latest Israel-Hamas confrontation destroyed. Egypt’s swift involvement following this conflict poses some valid questions, one of which, posted by journalist Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem Post, asked: Is Egypt planning to retake control of the Gaza Strip?

The answer is not a simple yes or no.

Abu Toameh cited an unnamed veteran Palestinian journalist, who claimed that rumours abound that the Egyptians are planning to return to the Gaza Strip. “Many people here are convinced the Egyptian-sponsored reconstruction work is part of a plan to pave the way for a permanent Egyptian security presence in the Gaza Strip,” he added. Another unnamed analyst cited by Abu Toameh dismissed the idea of returning to a full Egyptian administration of the Gaza Strip, but added that current Egyptian president El-Sisi’s decision to contribute to the reconstruction effort shows he wants to be heavily involved with everything concerning the Gaza Strip.

Indeed, unlike his predecessors, Sadat and Mubarak, El-Sisi is not shying away from involvement in Gaza. He does not see the impoverished strip as a burden, but as an opportunity to validate Egypt’s strategic regional rule. During Mubarak’s reign, Egypt was trying to ignore Gaza, throwing its responsibility totally on Israel. The result was the proliferation of thousands of tunnels under the Gaza-Sinai border, flourishing smuggling routes, and radical terrorists inhabiting North Sinai. It is an undeniable fact that Egypt has paid a hefty price for ignoring Gaza, and the current leadership is not willing to repeat the fatal strategic mistakes of the past.

Involvement in Gaza is crucial for Egypt on several fronts.

On the security front, Gaza represents a strategic landmark for Sinai’s security. Until few years ago, Egyptian media asserted that terrorists in Sinai got logistical support and share the ideological outlook of some Gaza-based groups, despite strong denials from Hamas. lately, however, an alleged Sinai-based radical claimed on a Club House application that using non-Egyptian simcards for mobile phones would avoid Egyptian security tracking.

On the domestic front, the scenes of Egyptians helping Gaza has had positive impacts on the hearts and minds of the Egyptian public, and has garnered majority support for what Egyptians believe is a balanced approach that is helping Gazans without compromising Egypt’s national security. Moreover, inside Gaza, reconstruction is not just bricks and mortar, but a chance to build bridges with locals who, for years, have known nothing about Egypt except border closures and “hostile Egyptian regime”.

On the strategic front, Egypt’s involvement in Gaza has not just raised Egypt’s strategic assets in the eyes of the US Biden administration and other Western governments Egypt is fully aware of the Turkish ambitions in Gaza and how Erdogan’s Turkey regards Gaza as a potential foothold in the East Mediterranean, and as a means of replicating the “Libyan model”. Already the Turkish media has openly advocated that Turkey should sign a maritime deal with “Palestine”, a deal neither Israel nor Egypt will allow, as analyst Michael Koplow told me in a recent podcast

Nonetheless, Gaza is a political, social and military minefield. The serene strip Egypt inherited decades ago has changed dramatically. It is true Hamas does not want to get into trouble with Egypt, but it is naïve to assume the group will not shy away from igniting another round of confrontation with Israel, just because Egyptians are working hard to rebuild Gaza. The latest threat by the group of a new escalation if settlers hold a rally in East Jerusalem is a glaring example. Israel, wisely cancelled the march, but the incident highlighted the challenges facing Egypt in Gaza.

Furthermore, Hamas also threatens to renew fighting if Qatari funds don’t enter Gaza the group also admits it received money from Iran. Will Israel tolerate the continuous stream of funds to a group openly proud of its upgraded military capabilities? And for how long? The new government in Israel may adopt a softer approach than Netanyahu, but showing flexibility on funding Hamas will be, at best, a short-term policy.

Egypt is keen to secure a foothold in Gaza, but Cairo is neither interested in inheriting the strip, nor standing alone against Hamas. To expect Egypt to do more is frankly unrealistic. Egypt merely wants to maintain its role as the sole mediator between Hamas and Israel, keep the uneasy peace in the impoverished strip, and prevent regional rivals from using Gaza to threaten Egypt’s security and strategic interests. To fulfill those goals, the Egyptian leadership will adopt a flexible tactical approach within a pragmatic framework that will evolve in accordance with the fluid developments on the ground. A repeat scenario of rockets versus airstrikes is always possible, and could torpedo many of Egypt’s strategic goals in Gaza.


Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement, 24 February 1949 - History

ISRAEL, THE WEST BANK, THE GA ZA STRIP AND THE GOLAN HEIGHTS.

Areas coming under Israel's control following the 1967 Six Day War. See map

The West Bank From 1948-1967 this area was on the West Bank of the Jordan in the Kingdom of Jordan. In 1967 it was captured by Israel and retained this name. This area was occupied by Arabs, who after 1967, called themselves ‘Palestinians’.

From 1948 to 1967 Jerusalem had been a divided city. After 1967 it became reunited under Israel.

The Gaza Strip is a coastal area located in the south. Under the terms of the U.N. Partition in 1948, this area was designated as Arabian territory. Following the 1949 Armistice it came under Egypt and passed to Israel following the 1967 Six Day War.

The Golan Heights is a small area in the northeast of Israel which was Syrian territory prior to its capture by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. (Note: These heights overlook the valley below used by Israel for agriculture) Because of its geography, it has military value to Israel. It also is important as a source of water. Most of the 150,000 Arabian residents fled to Syria at the time of the Israeli occupation.

In 1967, as a result of the Six-Day War, Israel gained control of the West Bank (Judaea and Samaria), East Jerusalem, the Gaza strip and the Golan Heights. Israel also took control of the Sinai Peninsula, but returned it to Egypt as part of the 1979 Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty.

Following Israel's capture of these territories, settlements consisting of Israeli citizens were established within each of them. Israel applied civilian law to the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, incorporating them into its sovereign territory and granting their inhabitants permanent residency status and the choice to apply for citizenship. In contrast, the West Bank has remained under military occupation, and Palestinians in this area cannot become citizens. The Gaza Strip is independent of Israel with no Israeli military or civilian presence, but Israel continues to maintain control of its airspace and waters. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are seen by the Palestinians and most of the international community as the site of a future Palestinian state. The UN Security Council has declared the annexation of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem to be "null and void" and continues to view the territories as occupied. The International Court of Justice, principal judicial organ of the United Nations, asserted, in its 2004 advisory opinion on the legality of the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier, that the lands captured by Israel in the Six-Day War, including East Jerusalem, are occupied territory.

The status of East Jerusalem in any future peace settlement has at times been a difficult hurdle in negotiations between Israeli governments and representatives of the Palestinians, as Israel views it as its sovereign territory, as well as part of its capital. Most negotiations relating to the territories have been on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which emphasises "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war", and calls on Israel to withdraw from occupied territories in return for normalization of relations with Arab states, a principle known as " Land for peace".

The West Bank was annexed by Jordan in 1948, following the Arab rejection of the UN decision to create two states in Palestine. Only Britain recognized this annexation and Jordan has since ceded its claim to the territory to the PLO. The West Bank was occupied by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War. The population is mainly Arab Palestinians, including refugees of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. From their occupation in 1967 until 1993, the Palestinians living in these territories were under Israeli military administration. Since the Israel–PLO letters of recognition, most of the Palestinian population and cities have been under the internal jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, and only partial Israeli military control, although Israel has on several occasions redeployed its troops and reinstated full military administration during periods of unrest. In response to increasing attacks as part of the Second Intifada, the Israeli government started to construct the Israeli West Bank barrier. When completed, approximately 13% of the Barrier will be constructed on the Green Line or in Israel with 87% inside the West Bank.

Gaza was part of the Ottoman Empire, before it was occupied by the United Kingdom (1918-1948), Egypt (1948-1967), and then Israel, which in 1994 granted the Palestinian Authority in Gaza limited self-governance through the Oslo Accords. Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been de facto governed by Hamas, which claims to represent the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian people.

The territory is still considered to be occupied by Israel by the United Nations, International human rights organisations, and the majority of governments and legal commentators, despite the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza[20] and additional restrictions placed on Gaza by Egypt. Israel maintains direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, and six of Gaza's seven land crossings. It reserves the right to enter Gaza at will with its military and maintains a no-go buffer zone within the Gaza territory. Gaza is dependent on Israel for its water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities.

The Gaza Strip acquired its current northern and eastern boundaries at the cessation of fighting in the 1948 war, confirmed by the Israel–Egypt Armistice Agreement on 24 February 1949. Article V of the Agreement declared that the demarcation line was not to be an international border. At first the Gaza Strip was officially administered by the All-Palestine Government, established by the Arab League in September 1948. All-Palestine in the Gaza Strip was managed under the military authority of Egypt, functioning as a puppet state, until it officially merged into the United Arab Republic and dissolved in 1959. From the time of the dissolution of the All-Palestine Government until 1967, the Gaza Strip was directly administered by an Egyptian military governor.

Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the Six-Day War in 1967. Pursuant to the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, the Palestinian Authority became the administrative body that governed Palestinian population centers while Israel maintained control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings with the exception of the land border with Egypt which is controlled by Egypt. In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip under their unilateral disengagement plan.

In July 2007, after winning the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Hamas became the elected government. In 2007, Hamas expelled the rival party Fatah from Gaza. This broke the Unity Government between Gaza Strip and the West Bank, creating two separate governments for the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

In 2014, following reconciliation talks, Hamas and Fatah formed a Palestinian unity government within the West Bank and Gaza. Rami Hamdallah became the coalition's Prime Minister and has planned for elections in Gaza and the West Bank. In July 2014, a set of lethal incidents between Hamas and Israel led to the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.

Following the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, the territory has been subjected to a blockade, maintained by Israel and Egypt, with Israel arguing that it is necessary to impede Hamas from rearming and to restrict Palestinian rocket attacks and Egypt preventing Gaza residents from entering Egypt. The blockades by Israel and Egypt extends to drastic reductions in basic construction materials, medical supplies, and food stuffs. Under the blockade, Gaza is viewed by some critics as an "open-air prison", although the claim is contested.

Egypt's Sinai Peninsula borders the Gaza Strip and Israel. Its vast and desolate terrain has transformed it into a hotbed of illicit and militant activity. Although most of the area's inhabitants are tribal Bedouins, there has been a recent increase in al-Qaeda inspired global jihadi militant groups operating in the region. Out of the approximately 15 main militant groups operating in the Sinai desert, the most dominant and active militant groups have close relations with the Gaza Strip.


All-Palestine Government (1948–1959)

The All-Palestine Government was an entity established by the Arab League on 22 September 1948, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, purportedly to provide a Palestinian government for Palestine. After the War, the Gaza Strip was the only former-Mandate territory under the jurisdiction of the All-Palestine Government. However, the members of the Government were consequently removed to Cairo, and had little or no influence over events in Gaza. [4]

[T]he contrast between the pretensions of the All-Palestine Government and its capability quickly reduced it to the level of farce. It claimed jurisdiction over the whole of Palestine, yet it had no administration, no civil service, no money, and no real army of its own. Even in the small enclave around the town of Gaza its writ ran only by the grace of the Egyptian authorities. Taking advantage of the new government's dependence on them for funds and protection, the Egyptian paymasters manipulated it to undermine Abdullah's claim to represent the Palestinians in the Arab League and in international forums. Ostensibly the embryo for an independent Palestinian state, the new government, from the moment of its inception, was thus reduced to the unhappy role of a shuttlecock in the ongoing power struggle between Cairo and Amman. [4]

Suez Crisis and its aftermath

In 1956, Egypt blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, assumed national control of the Suez Canal, and blocked it to Israeli shipping—both threatening the young State of Israel and violating the Suez Canal Convention of 1888. France and the United Kingdom supported Israel in its determination that the canal should remain open to all nations as per the Convention.

On October 29, 1956, Israel, France and the United Kingdom invaded the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula initiating the 1956 Suez War. Under international pressure, the Anglo-French Task Force withdrew before the end of 1956, and the Israeli army withdrew from the Sinai and Gaza in March, 1957.

In 1959, as he sought to incorporate the Arab nations as a single state, Nasser's pan-Arab policies prompted him to abolish the All-Palestine Government.


Egyptian administration (1959–1967) [ edit | edit source ]

In 1959, the Gaza Strip under the All-Palestine Government was officially merged into the short lived United Arab Republic. All references to an independent Gaza were abolished and Egyptian administration was officially imposed. In this move, Nasser de facto canceled any official Palestinian self-rule. In 1962 the Egyptian government established a Palestinian Legislative Council elected by the population.

When the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964, Nasser proclaimed that it would hold authority over Gaza, but that authority was never conferred in practice. Γ] A year later, conscription was instituted for the Palestinian Liberation Army. Γ]


1 To my knowledge, nobody has written a monograph in English examining urban history in modern Hebron, but one Ph.D. dissertation exploring nineteenth-century Hebron has recently been completed at New York University. Examples of studies on cities during the war or as a result of the war include: Tamari , S. (ed.), Jerusalem 1948: The Arab Neighbourhoods and their Fate in the War , 2nd edn ( Jerusalem and Bethlehem , 2002 )Google Scholar LeVine , M. , Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine ( Berkeley and Los Angeles , 2005 )Google Scholar Weiss , Y. , A Confiscated Memory: Wadi Salib and Haifa's Lost Heritage ( New York , 2011 )Google Scholar .

2 Letter to prime minister, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, document number 30/2/6/35, 14 Mar. 1951, found in Jordan's National Archive. I employ this term though it may not have been the precise term for the entity. In Salih al-Majali's memoir, he uses the term ‘al-hukm al-thuna'i’ or condominium for the shared Egyptian–Jordanian rule in Hebron. al-Majali , S.R. , Siratuhu wa-Hayatuhu Tiba'i‘hu , ed. al-Majali , R.S. ( Amman , 1997 ), xml Google Scholar . A few sources refer to Bethlehem as part of the Dual Era but not in enough detail to include more than a passing reference.

3 The Egyptian–Israeli Armistice Agreement discusses the Bethlehem–Hebron areas in Article VI.4. Hebron became a headquarters for Egypt and a main focus of attention, thus, the sources discuss this city in more detail. Bethlehem is occasionally mentioned in Article VI.4, but is not emphasized in this article for lack of additional corroborating sources. The armistice agreement can be found at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/arm01.asp accessed 4 Jan. 2018.

4 Abdullah al-Tall, a Jordanian officer during the war, called King Abdullah out as a traitor for his actions. See n. 27. Shlaim advances the idea that King Abdullah reached an agreement with the Jewish Agency prior to the war to divide Palestine between them. Shlaim , A. , Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine ( New York , 1988 )Google Scholar .

5 Sami ‘Amr, a Hebronite, had a seventh-grade education, yet kept two diaries, one during World War II and a smaller one during the first four months of 1949, an important part of the period studied here. Katz , K. , ‘ The “Dual Era” in Hebron through the diaries of Sami ‘Amr ’, Biography , 38 ( 2015 ), 325 –44Google Scholar . For the diary of Muhammad al-Shrouf, see Winder , A. , ‘ After the Nakba in Nuba: a Palestinian villager's diary, 1949 ’, Biography , 37 ( 2014 ), 398 – xml .CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 The Arab Archives for the late 1940s and into the early 1950s are limited. I mined the Israel State Archives, which holds most of Jordan's documentary record for the 1948–67 period without finding anything to add to this study. See also Rogan , E. and Shlaim , A. (eds.), The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 ( Cambridge and New York , 2001 ).Google Scholar

7 Bishtawi , I. , Al-Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Ja‘bari wa-dawruhu fi al-hayat al-‘amma, 1900–1980 ( Amman , 2005 )Google Scholar Jbara , T. et al., Madinat Khalil al-Rahman ( Hebron , 1987 )Google Scholar al-Dabbagh , M. M. , Biladuna Filastin : Fi diyar al-Khalil , vol. V, part 2 ( Kafr Qara ’, 2002 ).Google Scholar

8 al-‘Arif , A. , Al-Nakba: Nakbat Bayt al-Maqdis wa-l-firdaws al-mafqud , vols. I–IV ( Sayda , 1956 –62)Google Scholar Glubb , J.B. , A Soldier with the Arabs ( New York , 1957 )Google Scholar Abu Nowar , M. , The Jordanian-Israeli War, 1948–1951: A History of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ( Reading , 2002 )Google Scholar al-Sharif , K. and al-Siba‘i , M. , Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun fi Harb Filastin ( Cairo , 1984 first printed in 1951)Google Scholar . R.S. al-Majali compiled, edited and did additional research in publishing his father's papers under the title: al-Majali, Siratuhu.

9 Shlaim, Collusion across the Jordan.

10 The minister of defence's order appointing Mustafa al-Rifa‘i appears in The Hashemite Papers (THP), Jordanian Administration in Palestine, 1948–1951, vol. VI (Amman, 1995), 49.

11 Glubb, A Soldier with the Arabs, 143.

12 Abu Nowar, The Jordanian–Israeli War, 257.

13 Glubb, A Soldier with the Arabs, 133.

14 Document number 433/20, dated 29 Jun. 1948, appears in THP, vol. VI, 66–7. The signature is unclear. Of the two documents related to this appointment in THP, one bears the imprimatur of the representative of the prime minister and the minister of defence, the second just the representative of the prime minister.

16 Glubb, A Soldier with the Arabs, 133.

18 Arab politicians do not usually make decisions based on public opinion. In this case, Prime Minister Nuqrashi had little choice. F. Gerges, ‘Egypt and the 1948 war’, in Rogan and Shlaim (eds.), The War for Palestine, 154.

21 ‘Arif al-‘Arif says that Egyptian forces occupied the southern sector, including Hebron, since 20 May 1948. Al-Nakba, volume IV, 912 n. 2.

22 Glubb, A Soldier with the Arabs, 133.

23 Al-Sharif and al-Siba‘i, Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, 130–3. The specific word choice in quotation marks, indicating that they were not Egyptian regular troops, is on p. 131.

24 Hobsbawm , E. , ‘ Introduction: inventing traditions ’, in Hobsbawm , E. and Ranger , T. (eds.), The Invention of Tradition ( Cambridge , 1983 ), 6 – 7 , 11–12Google Scholar Tal , D. , War in Palestine, 1948: Israeli and Arab Strategy and Diplomacy ( New York , 2004 ), 176 –7CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

25 Al-Sharif and al-Siba‘i, Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun fi Harb Filastin, 130–3.

26 Glubb, A Soldier with the Arabs, 133.

27 In contrast to Glubb, he does not mention that Egypt's position was critical at the time that Jordan's forces returned to Hebron. Al-Tall was a favoured Jordanian officer and negotiator until he opened a letter from the king prior to delivering it to its Israeli addressee. He did not like its contents, lost confidence in the king, resigned and ultimately left Jordan for exile in Egypt, where he presented evidence to the press that King Abdullah was a traitor. He published his Karitha Filastin (The Palestine Catastrophe) in Cairo in 1959. Al-Tall was pardoned by King Hussein, the grandson of King Abdullah in 1967.

28 A. al-Tall, Karitha Filastin (Cairo, 1959), 411.

30 Ibid. The same ‘Abd al-Muhsin Abu al-Nur's actions were strongly critiqued by Hashemite loyalist ‘Ali al-Khatib in a report to the Diwan al-Maliki, discussed below.

32 Salih al-Majali, who had been appointed military governor in June, is mentioned in the report. ‘Ali al-Khatib's position in Hebron is not clear and the time period is not fully clear. The date of the letter does not indicate how long he may have been in a position of authority or what that position was. Document number (42) (453–128 to 122), THP, vol. VI, 434ff.

35 Ibid. The term ‘Dual Era’ was not mentioned in the report.

36 ‘Abd al-Muhsin Abu al-Nur would later become a member of the Free Officers Movement in Egypt and would serve in high-level roles under President Gamal ‘Abd al-Nasser.

37 Document number (42) (453–128 to 122), THP, vol. VI, 434ff.

41 Sami ‘Amr, diary entry, month of Feb. 1949. (A copy of the diary is in the possession of the author.)

42 Diary entry, 26 Mar. 1949.

43 Diary entry, 26 Mar. 1949.

44 Diary entry, 27 Mar. 1949.

45 Diary entry, 30 Mar. 1949. Muhammad al-Shrouf's diary concurs with the events of the protests of the same dates. See Winder, ‘After the Nakba in Nuba’. Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Ja‘bari was the mayor of Hebron. In a presentation on this topic to the College of Law at Hebron University on 4 Apr. 2016, I shared this story based on Sami's diary, noting that al-Shrouf's diary concurred with the account. Nabil al-Ja‘bari, the son of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Ja‘bari, who attended my presentation, contradicted this account. He related family lore, stating, ‘my father had told me this did not happen’. I was unable to interview Nabil al-Ja‘bari following the talk, as to whether his father kept documentation regarding this event. The authorized biography of Shaykh al-Ja‘bari, by ‘Imad Bishtawi, Al-Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Ja‘bari, is absent on the subject.

46 Mukhlis ‘Amr was a first cousin of Sami ‘Amr. Fakhry and Sami married sisters by the names of Hanafiyya and Suhayla. Sami married his first cousin, once removed, when he married Suhayla. Fakhry also married Sami's first cousin, once removed, when he married Hanafiyya. They were the daughters of Abdullah Bashir ‘Amr, himself Sami's first cousin and an important supporter of King Abdullah. Fakhry Hammuri was a schoolteacher of Arabic language and literature. Correspondence with Samir ‘Amr, 14 Apr. 2014.


Egypt-Israel General Armistice Agreement – Cablegram from UN Acting Mediator

“I have the honour to inform you that an armistice agreement between Egypt and Israel has been signed this morning, 24 February at Rhodes.

The text of the agreement is as follows:

EGYPTIAN-ISRAELI GENERAL ARMISTICE AGREEMENT

The Parties to the present agreement, respondent to the Security Council Resolution of 16 November 1948 calling upon them, as a further provisional measure under Article 40 of the Charter of the United Nations and in order to facilitate the transition from the present truce to permanent peace in Palestine, to negotiate an armistice: having decided to enter into negotiations under United Nations Chairmanship concerning the implementation of the Security Council Resolutions of 4 and 16 November 1948: and having appointed representatives empowered to negotiate and conclude an armistice agreement:

The undersigned representatives, in the full authority entrusted to them by their respective Governments, have agreed upon the following provisions.

With a view to promoting the return of permanent peace in Palestine and in recognition of the importance in this regard of mutual assurances concerning the future military operations of the Parties, the following principles, which shall be fully observed by both Parties during the armistice are hereby affirmed:

1. The injunction of the Security Council against resort to military force in the settlement of the Palestine Question shall henceforth be scrupulously respected by both parties

2. No aggressive action by the armed forces land, sea or air of either party shall be undertaken, planned, or threatened against the people or the armed forces of the other: It being understood that the use of the term planned in this context has no bearing on normal staff planning as generally practised in military organizations

3. The right of each party to its security and freedom from fear of attack by the armed forces of the other shall be fully respected

4. The establishment of an armistice by armed forces of the two parties is accepted as an indispensable step toward the liquidation of armed conflict and the restoration of peace in Palestine.

1. In pursuance of the foregoing principles and of the resolutions of the Security Council of 4 and 16 November 1948 a general armistice between the armed forces of the two parties by land, sea and air is hereby established

2. No element of the land, sea or air military or para-military forces of either party, including non-regular forces, shall commit any warlike or hostile act against the military or para-military forces of the other party, or against civilians in territory under the control of that party: Or shall advance beyond or pass over for any purpose whatever the armistice demarcation line set forth in Article 6 of this agreement except as provided in Article 3 of this agreement and elsewhere shall not violate the international frontier or enter into or pass through the air space of the other party or through the waters within three miles of the coastline of the other party.

1. In pursuance of the Security Council’s resolution of 4 November 1948, and with a view to the implementation of the Security Council’s resolution of 16 November 1948, the Egyptian Military Forces in the Al Faluja area shall be withdrawn.

2. This withdrawal shall begin on the day after that which follows the signing of this agreement, at 0500 hours GMT and shall be beyond the Egypt Palestine frontier.

3. The withdrawal shall be under the supervision of the United Nations and in accordance with the plan of withdrawal set forth in annex one to this agreement.

With specific reference to the implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council of 4 and 16 November 1948, the following principles and purposes are affirmed:

1. The principle that no military or political advantage should be gained under the truce ordered by the Security Council is recognized.

2. It is also recognized that the basic purposes and spirit of the Armistice would not be served by the restoration of previously held military positions or changes from those now held other than as specifically provided for in this agreement, or by the advance of the military forces of either side beyond positions held at the time this Armistice Agreement is signed.

3. It is further recognized that rights, claims or interests of a non-military character in the area of Palestine covered by this agreement may be asserted by either party, and that these, by mutual agreement being excluded from the Armistice negotiations, shall be, at the discretion of the parties, the subject of later settlement. It is emphasized that it is not the purpose of this agreement to establish, to recognize, to strengthen, or to weaken or nullify, in any way, any territorial custodial or other rights, claims or interests which may be asserted by either party in the area of Palestine or any part or locality thereof covered by this agreement, whether such asserted rights, claims or interests derive from Security Council resolutions, including the resolution of 4 November 1948 and the memorandum of 13 November 1948 for its implementation, or from any other source. The provisions of this agreement are dictated exclusively by military considerations and are valid only for the period of Armistice.

1. The line described in Article 6 of this agreement shall be designated as the armistice demarcation line and is delineated in pursuance of the purpose and intent of the resolutions of the Security Council of 4 and 16 November 1948.

2. The armistice demarcation line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either party to the armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine questions.

3. The basic purpose of the armistice demarcation line is to delineate the line beyond which the Armed Forces of the respective parties shall not move except as provided in Article 3 of this agreement.

4. Rules and regulations of the Armed Forces of the Parties which prohibit civilians from crossing the fighting lines or entering the area between the lines shall remain in effect after the signing of this agreement with application to the armistice demarcation line defined in Article 6.

1. In the Gaza-Rafah area the armistice demarcation line shall be as delineated in paragraph 2B(1) of the memorandum of 13 November 1948 on the implementation of the Security Council Resolution of 4 November 1948 namely by a line from the coast at the mouth of Wadi Hasi in an easterly direction through Deir Suneid and across the Gaza Al Majdal highway to a point three kimometers east of the highway, then in a southerly direction parallel to the Gaza Al Majdal highway, and continuing thus to the Egyptian frontier.

2. Within this line Egyptian forces shall nowhere advance beyond their present positions, and this shall include Zeit Hanun and its surrounding area from which Israeli Forces shall be withdrawn to north of the armistice demarcation line, and any other positions within the line delineated in paragraph 1 which shall be evacuated by Israeli Forces as set forth in paragraph 3.

(Note: Place names are subject to confirmation from Rhodes)

3. Israeli outposts, each limited to platoon strength may be maintained in this area at the following points: Deir Suneid on the north side of the Wadi, Map Reference 10751090 (name unclear), Map Reference 10500982 (name unclear), Map Reference 09870924 (name unclear), Map Reference 09720887 and (name unclear), Map Reference 09320821. The Israeli outpost maintained at the cemetery, Map Reference 08160723 shall be evacuated on the day after that which follows the signing of this agreement. The Israeli outpost at Hill 79, Map Reference 10451017 shall be evacuated not later than four weeks following the day on which this agreement is signed. Following the evacuation of the above outposts new Israeli outposts may be established at Map Reference 08360700 and at a point due east of Hill 79 east of the armistice demarcation line.

4. In the Bethlehem-Hebron area, wherever positions are held by Egyptian forces, the provisions of this agreement shall apply to the forces of both parties in each such locality, except that the demarcation of the armistice line and reciprocal arrangements for withdrawal and reduction of forces shall be undertaken in such manner as may be decided by the parties, at such time as an armistice agreement may be concluded covering military forces in that area other than those of the parties to this agreement, or sooner at the will of the parties.

1. It is recognized by the parties to this agreement that in certain sectors of the total area involved, the proximity of the forces of a third party not covered by this agreement makes impractical the full application of all provisions of the agreement to such sectors. For this reason alone, therefore, and pending the conclusion of an armistice agreement in place of the existing truce with that third party, the provisions of this agreement relating to reciprocal reduction and withdrawal of forces shall apply only to the western front and not to the eastern front.

2. The areas comprising the western and eastern fronts shall be as defined by the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization, on the basis of the deployment of forces against each other and past military activity or the further possibility thereof in the area. This definition of the western and eastern fronts is set forth in annex two of this agreement.

3. In the area of the Western front under Egyptian control, Egyptian defensive forces only may be maintained. All other Egyptian forces shall be withdrawn from this area to a point or points no further east than El-Arish to Abu Agheila.

4. In the area of the Western front under Israeli control, Israeli defensive forces only, which shall be based on the settlements, may be maintained. All other Israeli forces shall be withdrawn from this area to a point or points north of the line delineated in Paragraph 2 (A) of the Memorandum of 13 November 1948 on the implementation of the Resolution of the Security Council of 4 November 1948.

5. The defensive forces referred to in Paragraphs 3 and 4 above shall be as defined in Annex Three of this Agreement.

1. The area comprising the village of El Auja and vicinity, as defined in Paragraph 2 of this Article, shall be demilitarized, and both Egyptian and Israeli armed forces shall be totally excluded therefrom. The Chairman of the mixed Armistice Commission established in Article 10 of this Agreement and United Nations observers attached to the Commission shall be responsible for ensuring the full implementation of this provision.

2. The area thus demilitarized shall be as follows: from a point on the Egypt-Palestine frontier five kilometers north-west of the intersection of the Rafah-El Auja Road and the frontier Map Reference 08750468, south-east of Khashm El Mamdud, Map Reference 09650414, thence south-east to Hill 405, Map Reference 10780285, thence south-west to a point on the Egypt-Palestine frontier five kilometers south-east of the intersection of the old railway tracks and the frontier, Map Reference 09950145, thence returning north-west along the Egypt-Palestine frontier to the point of origin.

3. On the Egyptian side of the frontier, facing the Al Auja area, no Egyptian defensive positions shall be closer to El Auja than El Gouseima and Abu Agheila.

4. The road Kba Gouseima Auja shall not be employed by any military forces whatsoever for the purpose of entering Palestine.

5. The movement of armed forces of either party to this agreement into any part of the area defined in Paragraph 2 of this article, for any purpose, or failure by either party to respect or fulfil any of the other provisions of this article, when confirmed by the United Nations representatives, shall constitute a flagrant violation of this agreement.

All prisoners of war detained by either party to this agreement and belonging to the armed forces, regular or irregular, of the other party shall be exchanged as follows:

1. The exchange of prisoners of war shall be under United Nations supervision and control throughout. The exchange shall begin within ten days after the signing of this agreement and shall be completed not later than twenty-one days following. Upon the signing of this agreement, the Chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission established in Article Ten of this agreement, in consultation with the appropriate military authorities of the parties, shall formulate a plan for the exchange of prisoners of war within the above period, defining the date and places of exchange and all other relevant details.

2. Prisoners of war against whom a penal prosecution may be pending, as well as those sentenced for crime or other offenses, shall be included in this exchange of prisoners.

3. All articles of personal use, valuables, letters, documents, identification marks, and other personal effects of whatever nature belonging to prisoners of war who are being exchanged shall be returned to them, or if they have escaped or died, to the party to whose armed forces they belonged.

4. All matters not specifically regulated in this agreement shall be decided in accordance with the principles laid down in the International Convention relating to the treatment of prisoners of war, signed at Geneva on 27 July 1929, the Mixed Armistice Commission established in Article Ten of this agreement shall assume responsibility for location of missing persons, whether military or civilian, within the areas controlled by each party, to facilitate the expeditious exchange. Each party undertakes to extend to the Commission full co-operation and assistance in the discharge of this function.

1. The execution of the provision of this Agreement shall be supervised by a Mixed Armistice Commission composed of seven members of whom each party to this Agreement shall designate three, and whose chairman shall be the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization or a senior officer from the observer personnel of that Organization designated by him following consultation with both parties to this Agreement.

2. The Mixed Armistice Commission shall maintain its headquarters at El Auja, and shall hold its meetings at such places and at such times as it may deem necessary for the effective conduct of its work.

3. The Mixed Armistice Commission shall be convened in its first meeting by the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization not later than one week following the signing of this Agreement. Decisions of the Mixed Armistice Commission, to the greatest extent possible, shall be based on the principle of unanimity.

4. In the absence of unanimity, decisions shall be taken by a majority vote of the members of the Commission present and voting. On questions of principle, appeal shall lie to a special committee, composed of the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization and one member each of the Egyptian and Israeli Delegations to the Armistice Conference at Rhodes or some other senior officer, whose decisions on all such questions shall be final. If no appeal against a decision of the Commission is filed within one week from the date of said decision, that decision shall be taken as final. Appeals to the Special Committee shall be presented to the United Nations Chief of Staff or the Truce Supervision Organization, who shall convene the Committee at the earliest possible date.

5. The Mixed Armistice Commission shall formulate its own rules of procedure. Meetings shall be held only after due notice to the Members by the Chairman. The quorum for its meetings shall be a majority of its Members.

6. The Commission shall be empowered to employ observers, who may be from among the military organizations of the parties or from the military personnel of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organizations, or from both, in such numbers as may be considered essential to the performance of its functions. In the event United Nations observers should be so employed, they shall remain under the command of the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization.

Assignments of a general or special nature given to United Nations observers attached to the Mixed Armistice Commission shall be subject to approval by the United Nations Chief of Staff or his designated representative on the Commission, whichever is serving as chairman.

7. Claims or complaints presented by either party relating to the application of this agreement shall be referred immediately to the Mixed Armistice Commission through its chairman. The Commission shall take such action on all such claims or complaints by means of its observer and investigations machinery as it may deem appropriate, with a view to equitable and mutually satisfactory settlement.

8. Where interpretation of the meaning of a particular provision of this agreement is at issue, the Commission’s interpretation shall prevail, subject to the right of appeal as provided in paragraph 4. The Commission, in its descretion and as the need arises, may from time to time recommend to the parties modifications in the provisions of this agreement.

9. The Mixed Armistice Commission shall submit to both parties reports on its activities as frequently as it may consider necessary. A copy of each such report shall be presented to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for transmission to the appropriate organ or agency of the United Nations.

10. Members of the Commission and its observers shall be accorded such freedom of movement and access in the areas covered by this agreement as the Commission may determine to be necessary provided that when such decisions of the Commission are reached by a majority vote United Nations observers only shall be employed.

11. The expenses of the Commission other than those relating to United Nations observers, shall be apportioned in equal shares between the two parties to this agreement.

No provision of this agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine Question.

1. The present agreement is not subject to ratification and shall come into force immediately upon being signed.

2. This agreement, having been negotiated and concluded in pursuance of the resolution of the Security Council of 16 November 1948 calling for the establishment of an armistice in order to eliminate the threat to the peace in Palestine and to facilitate the transition from the present truce to permanent peace in Palestine, shall remain in force until a peaceful settlement between the parties is achieved, except as provided in Paragraph 4 of this article.

3. The parties to this agreement may, by mutual consent, revise this agreement or any of its provisions, or may suspend its application, other than Articles 1 and 2, at any time. In the absence of mutual agreement and after this agreement has been in effect for one year from the date of its signing, either of the parties may call upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations to convoke a conference of representatives of the two parties for the purpose of reviewing, revising or suspending any of the provisions of this agreement other than Articles 1 and 2. Participation in such conference shall be obligatory upon the parties.

4. If the conference provided for in Paragraph 3 of this article does not result in an agreed solution of a point in dispute, either party may bring the matter before the Security Council of the United Nations for the relief sought on the grounds that this agreement has been concluded in pursuance of Security Council action toward the end of achieving peace in Palestine. This agreement supersedes the Egyptian-Israeli general cease fire agreement entered into by the parties on 24 January 1949. This agreement is signed in quintuplicate, of which one copy shall be retained by each party, two copies communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for transmission to the Security Council and to the United Nations Conciliation Commission on Palestine, and one copy to the Acting Mediator on Palestine.

In faith whereof the undersigned representatives of the contracting parties have signed hereafter, in the presence of the United Nations Acting Mediator on Palestine and the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization. Done at Rhodes, Island of Rhodes, Greece, on the twenty-fourth of February 1949.


Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement, 24 February 1949 - History

Not surprisingly, this study shows that a strong imbalance of power in favour of Israel characterises the relations between Israel and Egypt after the war of 1948. This resulted in an agreement on Israeli premises. The common understanding that the armistice agreement was reached exclusively due to the untiring efforts of the UN mediator Ralph Bunche on Rhodes is incorrect. He had to a large extent the potential of a successful mediator but he did not possess the power necessary to make the parties reach an agreement. The negotiations would undoubtedly have broken down but for pressure put on the parties by other actors.

Bunche turned to the UN and the U.S. government for help. Trygve Lie, President Harry S. Truman and the U.S. State Department were actively involved in the negotiations. The Security Council refused to assist Bunche. The U.K. government early made it clear that it did not want to be involved. The influence of these actors strengthened the imbalance of power between the negotiating parties due to the fact that pressure almost exclusively was put on the weaker party, Egypt. As a consequence, the agreement reached was strongly in favour of Israel.

The non-territorial consequences of the negotiations were of crucial importance in the case of Israel. They concern the importance of precedence with regard to further agreements with the Arab states and the question of recognition of the state of Israel.

With regard to the recognition, one may discuss whether Egypt recognised Israel implicitly during these negotiations. This is controversial, as it is commonly understood that Egypt did not recognise the state of Israel until 1978. It has been a well-concealed fact that the Arab-Israeli agreements were negotiated face to face. This study shows that Egypt, by entering into direct negotiations, did recognise the fact that Israel was an entity that it had to interact with. Egypt certainly did not recognise Israel de jure. Whether or not Egypt s actions may be seen as implying de facto recognition is a question of definition.


Cease-fire line vs. permanent border

The agreements left about 78% of 1948 mandatory Palestine in Israeli hands. The rest of the area (the Gaza Strip and West Bank) was occupied by Egypt and Jordan respectively until 1967. See the related articles Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt and Occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan.

The armistice agreements were intended to serve only as interim agreements, until they would be replaced by permanent peace treaties. However, no peace treaties were actually signed until decades later.

Excepting the agreement with Lebanon, the armistice agreements were clear (at Arab insistence) that they were not creating permanent or de jure borders. The Egyptian-Israeli agreement stated "The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary, and is delineated without prejudice to rights, claims and positions of either Party to the Armistice as regards ultimate settlement of the Palestine question." [1] (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/arm01.htm)

The Jordanian-Israeli agreement stated: ". no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims, and positions of either Party hereto in the peaceful settlement of the Palestine questions, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations" (Art. II.2), "The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto." (Art. VI.9) [2] (http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/arm03.htm)

In the Knesset then Foreign Minister and future Prime Minister Moshe Sharett called the armistice lines "provisional boundaries" and the old international borders which the armistice lines, except with Jordan, were based on, "natural boundaries". [3] (http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign%20Relations/Israels%20Foreign%20Relations%20since%201947/1947-1974/2%20Israel-s%20position%20on%20its%20frontiers) . Israel did not lay claim to territory beyond them and proposed them, with minor modifications except at Gaza, as the basis of permanent political frontiers at the Lausanne Conference.[4] (http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign%20Relations/Israels%20Foreign%20Relations%20since%201947/1947-1974/3%20Attitude%20of%20the%20parties%20on%20the%20territorial%20issue)

After the 1967 Six Day War Israeli leaders warned against turning the armistice lines into permanent borders on the grounds of Israeli security:

  • Prime Minister Golda Meir noted the pre-1967 borders were so dangerous that it "would be treasonable" for an Israeli leader to accept them (New York Times, December 23, 1969).
  • The Foreign Minister Abba Eban said the pre-1967 borders have "a memory of Auschwitz" (Der Spiegel, November 5, 1969).
  • Prime Minister Menachem Begin described a proposal for a retreat to the pre-1967 borders as "national suicide for Israel."

Egypt-Israel General Armistice Agreement – “modus vivendi” to the agreement

The undersigned, acting on behalf of their respective Governments, have agreed upon the following provisions.

1. In the map 1/ attached to this modus vivendi:

(a) the "A" zone is delineated as follows:

It is the zone between the demarcation line and a line from M.R. 10170 – 11160 in a strait line to point M.R. 10690 – 10740 at the railway crossing and then in a straight line to M.R. 10795 – 10640, to point 72,9 M.R. 10900 – 10565, to point 95,7 M.R. 10880 – 10480, to point 82,2 M.R. 10810 – 10410 and then to the demarcation line at point 95,1 M.R. 10695 – 10240 (all points inclusive to Egyptian side).

(b) The "B" zone is delineated as follows:

It is the zone between the line delineated in paragraph (a) above and the Egyptian fighting line north of BEIT LAHAYA.

(c) The "C" zone is delineated as follows:

it is the zone between the demarcation line and a line from point M.R. 08935 – 08590 in a straight line to point 79,6 M.R. 09035 – 07970, M.R. 08970 – 07790 and from this point to the demarcation line at M.R. 08735 – 07670 (all points inclusive to Egyptian side).

In this modus vivendi the words "the principal agreement" refer to the Egyptian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement signed at Rhodes on the 24th of February 1949.

1. The Egyptian forces, within the limitations imposed by Article VII of the principal agreement (which relates to the reduction and withdrawal of forces) will control the zones "B" and "C" by patrolling.

The strength of the patrols in each of the zones "B" and "C" will not exceed at any one time 30 men armed with light automatic weapons.

2. The Israeli forces, within the limitations imposed by Article VII of the principal agreement (which relates to the reduction and withdrawal of forces) will control zone "A" by patrolling.

The strength of the patrols will not exceed at any one time 30 men armed with light automatic weapons.

3. The limitations imposed by Article V of paragraph 4 of the Egyptian-Israeli General Armistice Agreement will not apply to Israeli civilians in zone "A" and to civilians under Egyptian control in zones "B" and "C".

This modus vivendi is of a purely local character and will not affect in any way the provisions of the principal agreement. In particular nothing in modus vivendi shall be interpreted as constituting a modification of the post of either party relating to the armistice demarcation line as defined in paragraph 1, Article VI of the principal agreement.

This modus vivendi shall remain valid so long as the principal agreement itself remains in force.

In the event of a difference arising as to the exact delineation of the zones above mentioned, the final decision will be according to the attached signed map.

This modus vivendi is signed in quintuplicate, of which one copy shall retained by each party, two copies, communicated to the Secretary-General of United Nations and one copy to the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization.

IN FAITH WHEREOF the undersigned representatives , on behalf of their respective Governments, have signed hereafter in the presence of the Chairman of the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice Commission.

Done at EL AUJA on the twenty-second day of February One thousand nine hundred and fifty.

(Lieutenant-Colonel Mahmoud Riad Mohamed)

(Lieutenant-Colonel Kalman Keet)

* See Official Records of the Security Council, Fourth Year, Special Supplement No. 3.

1/ Note by the Secretariat: The attached map consists of two sheets, with zones "A" and "B" appearing on Sheet 1, and zone "C" on sheet 2.


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