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human & civil rights | imperialism & war

Remembering Folke Bernadotte, Assassinated

UN mediator was assassinated by Israel 60 years ago.

IN MEMORY OF COUNT FOLKE BERNADOTTE, UN mediator, murdered on 17 September 1948.

On 20 May 1948, the United Nations appointed as first official mediator in its history Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg, of the noble Swedish family of Bernadotte. He was assigned to Palestine. Among his activities during the first Palestinian war of 1948 was to pave the way for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to assist Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. In negotiations with the Israelis he worked for recognition of the Palestinian refugees' right of return. In particular, on 17 June 1948 he requested that the Israelis enable the return of 300,000 refugees. On 17 September 1948, together with UN observer Colonel André Serot, he was shot by militant leaders of the Jewish terrorist group Lehi, the so-called Stern Gang. The reason for the murder was Bernadotte's public declaration that the Palestinian refugees must be allowed to return to their homeland. His proposals for the solution of the refugee problem were the basis for Resolution 194, passed on 11 December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly, in which the right of return of refugees on both sides was established. A few months after the assassination, despite the overwhelming evidence of their guilt, the perpetrators were granted general amnesty by the Israeli government. (from: Wikipedia)

"In 1863, when Henri Dunant started the work of the Red Cross, he used as organizational motto: Inter arma caritas -- amidst weapons (i.e. in war), mercy. Later events, not least the experience of World War II, revised the motto to: Post armis caritas -- after weapons, mercy. The time will come when mankind can say: Pro armis caritas -- instead of weapons, mercy." Folke Bernadotte