The Daily Compass

THURSDAY, MAY 19, 1949

Tangier And Jerusalem


Those who try to put stumbling blocks on Israel’s road have renewed the issue of internationalization of Jerusalem. Not that they really desire an international regime in Jerusalem of the holy places; they want only to obstruct Israel, and they hoped (in vain) to bar Israel’s entry into the United Nations by demanding that this problem be settled first. And since Israel does not oppose the internalization of the Old City of Jerusalem with its holy places, they, the begrudgers, demand that “Jerusalem with its surroundings” should be internationalized, which would place over 100,000 Israelis under a rule not their own.

What does the practice of international rule in other places show? The temporary division of Berlin into Russian, English and American zones, the permanent international areas in Shanghai, and the international regime of Tangier are examples, rather sad examples, of what mixed rule of an area or a city can achieve. And since a plan for an international regime for Jerusalem could come closest of all to the existing regime in Tangier, we should investigate this in some detail.

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Tangier in Morocco on the Strait of Gibraltar was the first port of Morocco until it came under international rule. It suffered much from the jealousies of the European powers and it became downtrodden, neglected, impoverished.

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Tangier—the city with its surrounding area totaling 225 square miles—is ruled under the charter of “permanent neutral internationalization.” The legislative power is vested in an International Legislative Assembly of 26 members.

The decisions of the Legislative Assembly are subject to ratification by the Committee of Control. This Committee is composed of the consuls of the signatory powers; it has the right of veto as well as other powers.

The administration rests in the hands of an Administrator and two assistants, all of whom are of different nationalities; they carry out the decisions of the Legislative Assembly subject to approval by the Committee of Control.

The Sultan of Morocco retained his power over the Moorish and Jewish populations; he is represented by a Moorish minister—the mendoub. The Administrator’s and Mendoub’s spheres by necessity overlap.

Justice is administered in mixed courts by judges of different nations (in Tangier there are 50,000 Moslems, 7,000 Jews, 15,000 Spaniards, over 1,000 French, over 1,000 Britons, 4,000 others). The Moslem and Jewish subjects have their own courts. The mixed courts act on the basis of the statute of 1925. The United States and the Italian Governments did not regard this statute as binding on their subjects and did not recognize any tribunal of Tangier as having jurisdiction over their citizens.

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In 1927 Spain and France negotiated concerning changes in the rule of Tangier; in 1928 a convention was called to redistribute the representation in the international regime. Italy entered the regime on equal terms with Britain. Belgians were granted judgeships in the mixed courts.

Then came the Second World War. With the fall of France in 1940, Spanish troops occupied Tangier and Spain celebrated the event. But with the end of the war a conference was called in August, 1945, at Paris, and the United States, the USSR, France, and the United Kingdom ordered Spain to evacuate the zone. Spain announced that she had occupied Tangier in order that the armies of the Axis should not occupy it. The four powers also decided that a new convention should be called to regulate the international regime in Tangier and that the United States and the USSR should be invited to collaborate in the regime.

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Does not he international regime in Tangier provide a good lesson? Tangier and its trade are stagnant, its population is bewildered between the French Administrator, Spanish or British Subadministrators, Moroccan Mendoub, the International Legislative Assembly, the consular Committee of Control, the mixed courts of many languages, the mixed police, the polyglot customs officers, all functioning in a chaos aggravated by ever repeated international conventions and diplomatic conferences, by changing statutes, by the uncertain future.

Would you want this curse laid on Jerusalem?