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Dag Hammarskjold

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“Dag Hammarskjold had now come into the same position as Folke Bernadotte seven years earlier. Israel did not want peace, it wanted war to gain more land, and the U.N. Secretary General stood in its way. When pressure from England and the United States was put on Israel, Ben Gurion responded that no land was to be given up, regardless of what the U.N. or other nations said. The policy laid out by Ben Gurion and his supporters stated that peace was important, but more land was needed, since a larger land mass was the only security for Israel. That this land was to be taken from another nation, made no difference to Ben Gurion, the entire Palestine that Israel now occupied had been taken by force from the people who had lived there for the last 2,000 years.

During the month of January, 1956, Hammarskjold flew into Jerusalem and was meeting with Prime Minister Ben Gurion and foreign minister Moshe Sharett. They had promised the Secretary-General of the United Nations that Israeli troops would be removed from the El Auja zone.

When Hammarskjold returned to New York in February, he found out that Israel was stalling on this promise. In a sharp reply to Sharett on February 28, Hammarskjold wrote: “On my return . . . I learned to my disappointment and great concern that for several weeks you delayed and now raise difficulties in implementing the agreement on El Auja. I fail to see that anything has happened which invalidates your unconditional acceptance of the proposals of 3 November, again confirmed when I was in Jerusalem. It is certainly needless for me to recapitulate the proposals ‘in principle,’ severe criticism was directed by you against Egypt for its delay in agreeing to the suggested arrangements.”

Just like Bernadotte, Hammarskjold had now collided head on with the Zionist leaders of Israel and ultimately this would lead to his death. The world situation in 1956 was very unstable. President Eisenhower had suffered a heart attack on September 23, 1955, but recovered. He was in the process of running for a second term in the White House, which meant that most of his energies were spent in raising money for his election campaign and campaigning.”



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July 2024