It is only four years old but has started to play with fire again. Last week the UN General Assembly voted to put into action the third part of the 1947 Palestine plan. Under the program the Trusteeship Council will internationalize Jerusalem, with the U.N. in control. This is a proper solution to a peace-disturbing problem, if the UN can put the plan into effect.
When the assembly voted for this proposal it did go under rights granted it in the UN Charter, rights "to recommend measures for peaceful adjustment of any situation ... which seems likely to impair ... relations among nations." Jerusalem certainly presents such a situation. The Holy City, important because of its size and strategic position, is also held sacred by three religious groups. And two of them have armies with crusader complexes.
There may be some sort of peace at the moment, as opponents of internationalization argued. But that peace will last only until one of the armies decides it is the stronger. And there are always the bomb-planters who cannot wait for official shooting to start. Bi-lateral treaties, even if made with all sincerity by leaders, can never assure unmolested access to Jerusalem's Shrines. If nations are going to allow the UN to use its powers, they must let it decide what is "likely" to destroy peace and act accordingly.
The United States and other minority voters don't think the UN can really act on its vote. They pointed out that failure to implement the decision could be disastrous to the UN, and that at present this failure seems most likely. The UN has no army because member nations can't agree on which country should give what, and how forces should be used--they are worried about losing "sovereignty." And, of course, there is the matter of financing a program that could run way over the budget allotment. Thus, opponents state, the UN should have established the army first.
Internationalizing Jerusalem will probably require fire power as well as will power. The Israeli government is moving its offices to the city, determined never to surrender, and the Arabs have announced they will repulse any attempt to take away their section.
Such a situation is neither new or unexpected. When the nations gave the power of preserving peace to the UN in 1945, they must have known that any successful international organization would need armed force. You can't achieve peace by talk, even if it be broadcast over radio and TV. Granted, the UN's decision may have been premature though correct. If nations are sincere about international government, they must now give the UN what rightfully belongs to it: guns to back its decisions. When you permit a four-year-old to play with fire, it is only fair to give him the wherewithal to put the flames out.