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Commonwealth War Graves Commission (Jerusalem War Cemetery)

Volume 650: debated on Friday 1 December 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what action he has taken to assist the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to permit them to obtain access to the Jerusalem War Cemetery to carry out a complete rehabilitation of the cemetery and to arrange for its permanent maintenance; and whether the Jordan and Israeli Governments have agreed the proposals put to them by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, in view of the fact that funds, labour and materials have been provided.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery is on Mount Scopus, an enclave within the Jordanian sector of Jerusalem, for the protection of which the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation has a special responsibility. Negotiations over the cemetery are therefore primarily the responsibility of the Truce Supervision Organisation, although the Israel Government is in de facto control of that part of the area where the cemetery is situated.Her Majesty's Government have every sympathy with the wish of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to carry out repairs to the cemetery and have made repeated attempts to assist the Commission to gain access to the cemetery for the workmen and materials required. Her Majesty's Government have not only consulted the Truce Supervision Organisation many times over the past few years but have also made separate approaches to the Israel and Jordan Governments. The present position is that the Israel Government have made conditions about the access to and proposed arrangements for the repair of the cemetery which are unacceptable to the Jordan Government.Her Majesty's Government are examining with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission other possible solutions. Her Majesty's Government attach great importance to the proper maintenance of this cemetery and hope that political considerations will not continue to hold up this work.