Israel-Lebanon Armistice Agreement, 23 March 1949

Israel-Lebanon Armistice Agreement, 23 March 1949
:
The negotiations took place in Rosh Hanikra, the border station on the Israel-Lebanon frontier. There were few problems, progress was rapid, and on 23 March the agreement was signed. It ratified the international border between former Palestine and Lebanon as the armistice line. Israeli forces withdrew from a number of Lebanese villages seized during operations in October 1948. Text of the agreement.

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 resolution of 16 November 1948; and having appointed representatives empowered to negotiate and conclude an Armistice Agreement;

The undersigned representatives, having exchanged their full powers found to be in good and proper form, 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 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

With a specific view to the implementation of the resolution of the Security Council of 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 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, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations.

Article III

1. In pursuance of the foregoing principles and of the resolution of the Security Council of 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 V of this Agreement; 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.

3. No warlike act or act of hostility shall be conducted from territory controlled by one of the Parties to this Agreement against the other Party.

Article IV

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

2. 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.

3. 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 V.

Article V

1. The Armistice Demarcation Line shall follow the international boundary between the Lebanon and Palestine.

2. In the region of the Armistice Demarcation Line the military forces of the Parties shall consist of defensive forces only as is defined in the Annex to this Agreement.

3. Withdrawal of forces to the Armistice Demarcation Line and their reduction to defensive strength in accordance with the preceding paragraph shall be completed within ten days of the signing of this Agreement. In the same way the removal of mines from mined roads and areas evacuated by either Party, and the transmission of plans showing the location of such minefields to the other Party shall be completed within the same period.

Article VI

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 take place at Ras en Naqoura within twenty-four hours of the signing of this Agreement.

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 VII 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 VII

1. The execution of the provisions of this Agreement shall be supervised by a Mixed Armistice Commission composed of five members, of whom each Party to this Agreement shall designate two, 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 the Frolltier Post north of Metulla and at the Lebanese Frontier Post at En Naqoura 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 majority vote of the members of the Commission present and voting.

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, other than the Preamble and Articles I and II, is at issue, the Commission's interpretation shall prevail. 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 area 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 VIII

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 III, 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 III. 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 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.

Done at Ras En Naqoura on the twenty-third of March nineteen forty-nine, in the presence of the Personal Deputy of the United Nations Acting Mediator on Palestine and the United Nations Chief of Staff of the Truce Supervision Organisation.

For and on behalf of the Government of Israel

Signed:
Lieutenant-Colonel Mordechai Makleff Yehoshua Pelman Shabtai Rosenne

For and on behalf of the Government of the Lebanon

Signed:
Lieutenant-Colonel Toufic Salem Commandant J. Harb

 

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. 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 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

To: Dr. 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. 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.

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. 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 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

To: Dr. 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

To: Dr. 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


HOME/ TIMELINE / DOCUMENTS/ MAPS/ CONTACT US