Jarring Mission

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The Jarring Mission refers to efforts undertaken by Gunnar Jarring to achieve a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors following the Six-Day War in 1967. He was appointed on 23 November 1967 by United Nations Secretary General, U Thant, as Special Envoy under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 to negotiate the implementation of the resolution.

The governments of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon recognized Jarring's appointment and agreed to participate[1] in his shuttle diplomacy, although they differed on key points of interpretation of the resolution. The government of Syria rejected Jarring's mission on grounds that total Israeli withdrawal was a prerequisite for further negotiations.[2] After denouncing it in 1967, Syria "conditionally" accepted the resolution in March 1972.

Jarring's report was presented to the public on 4 January 1971.[3] On February 8, he submitted to the Egyptian and Israeli governments his most detailed plan for an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.[4] Egypt responded by stating that it would "only be willing to enter into a peace agreement with Israel" after Israel agreed to a set of 7 terms including the "withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from all the territories occupied since 5 June 1967." [5] Israel responded that it "views favourably the expression by the UAR of its readiness to enter into a peace agreement with Israel and reiterates that it is prepared for meaningful negotiations on all subjects relevant to a peace agreement between the two countries."[6] Another government statement said "As its condition for peace, Egypt would have Israel restore its past territorial vulnerability. This Israel will never do." [7]

However, on 28 February 1973, during a visit in Washington, Golda agreed with Henry Kissinger's peace proposal based on "security versus sovereignty" : Israel would accept Egyptian sovereignty over all Sinai, while Egypt would accept Israeli presence in some of Sinai strategic positions.[8]

The talks continued under Jarring's auspices until 1973, but bore no results. After 1973, the Jarring mission was replaced by bilateral and multilateral peace conferences.

The impasse in Jarring's efforts appears to be related to differing interpretations of the security council resolution. Israel insisted that any efforts should be undertaken with the goal of direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab states; and that no territory concessions could be contemplated without the prospect of a lasting peace. The Arab states and the Soviet Union maintained that there would be no direct talks with Israel (in keeping with the Khartoum Resolution), and that withdrawals were a pre-condition for any further talks.

At the time of his appointment, Jarring was the Swedish ambassador to the Soviet Union and he maintained his ambassadorship during the mission. Critics since then have pointed out that Jarring had to manage a difficult conflict of interest since he had to maintain his duties as Swedish ambassador to the Soviet Union while trying to facilitate talks in which the Soviet Union had its own interests.

A recent unpublished study of the Jarring mission claims that Jarring's efforts actually paved the way for the future peace talks, and thus were not as insignificant as it is common to assume.[9]


  1. ^ "See Security Council Document S/10070 Para 2."
  2. ^ Resolution 242: Response from the affected parties www.sixdaywar.org
  3. ^ The Jarring Mission- First Phase- Excerpts from Report by Secretary General U Thant- 4 January 1971 mfa.gov.il
  4. ^ Aide-memoire presented to Israel and Egypt by Ambassador Gunnar Jarring
  5. ^ The Jarring initiative and the response
  6. ^ The Jarring initiative and the response
  7. ^ Policy, Background: The Components of a Secure Peace, 10 March 1971, Embassy of Israel, Washington DC
  8. ^ Yitzhak Rabin (1996). The Rabin Memoirs. University of California Press. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-520-20766-0. security versus sovereignty"...Israel would have to accept Egyptian sovereignty over all the Sinai, while Egypt ,in turn, would have to accept Israeli military presence in certain [Sinai] strategic positions. 
  9. ^ Reuven Pedatzur, "Seeds of Peace", Ha'aretz electronic edition

Further reading[edit]

  • Touval, Saadia (1982). The Peace Brokers: Mediators in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948-1979. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-10138-8.