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 UN 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][4] On 8 February, he submitted to the Egyptian and Israeli governments his most detailed plan for an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.[5] 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." 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] Norman Finkelstein writes that Egypt's response was "uniformly interpreted as an affirmative reply to Jarring's aide-mémoire, explicitly stating its readiness" to have a peace agreement with Israel. Israel's refusal to agree to a full withdrawal made, in Finkelstein's view, a diplomatic settlement impossible and war inevitable.[8]

US President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir meeting on 1 March 1973 in the Oval Office. Nixon's National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger is to the right of Nixon.

On 28 February 1973, during a visit in Washington, D.C., the then Israeli prime minister Golda Meir agreed with the then U.S. National Security Advisor 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.[9][10][11][12][13] 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.

An unpublished study, reported in 2010, 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.[14]


  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, Israeli MFA
  4. ^ "REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL UNDER SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 331 (1973) OF 20 APRIL 1973". UNITED NATIONS, Security Council. 18 May 1973. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. THE SEARCH FOR A SETTLEMENT from 1967 to date
  5. ^ Aide-memoire presented to Israel and Egypt by Ambassador Gunnar Jarring Archived 2011-06-01 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ The Jarring initiative and the response, Israeli MFA
  7. ^ Policy, Background: The Components of a Secure Peace, 10 March 1971, Embassy of Israel, Washington DC
  8. ^ Finkelstein, Norman (2003). Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. Verso. p. 158. ISBN 1859844421.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Henry Kissinger (24 May 2011). Years of Upheaval. Simon and Schuster. pp. 252–. ISBN 978-1-4516-3647-5. "She (Golda Meir) would be prepared to have me (Kissinger) continue to explore in private with Hafiz Ismail (the Egyptian delegate) some general principles of an overall settlement" this hint is compatible with Rabin description of Golda readiness for recognizing Egyptian sovereignty in Sinai
  11. ^ P.R. Kumaraswamy (11 January 2013). Revisiting the Yom Kippur War. Routledge. pp. 105–. ISBN 978-1-136-32888-6. In February 1973, Kissinger held talks with Sadat's National Security Advisor, Hafez Ismail. ... memoirs that Kissinger told him that, on the basis of his conversations with Hafez Ismail, Egypt might be ready to start negotiating if Israel acknowledged Egyptian sovereignty over all of Sinai. Rabin consulted with Prime Minister Golda Meir and told Kissinger that Israel authorized him to explore this approach.
  12. ^ Richard Bordeaux Parker (2001). The October War: A Retrospective. University Press of Florida. pp. 64–. ISBN 978-0-8130-1853-9. Dinits evidence
  13. ^ Steven L. Spiegel (15 October 1986). The Other Arab-Israeli Conflict: Making America's Middle East Policy, from Truman to Reagan. University of Chicago Press. pp. 237–. ISBN 978-0-226-76962-2. based on Rabin
  14. ^ Reuven Pedatzur, "Seeds of Peace", Haaretz

Further reading[edit]