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Israelis Walk out of U.N. Meetings; Protest Hanging of Jews in Iraq

Israeli delegates to the United Nations this morning walked out of all U.N. committees in protest over the hanging of two Jewish youths yesterday in Baghdad. They will not participate in any United Nations work today. When the Special U.N. Political Committee opened its meeting. Ambassador Abba S. Eban, chief Israeli delegate, read the following statement:

“The delegation of Israel wishes to explain why it will not participate in this meeting. A week ago the Government of Israel addressed an urgent appeal to the President of the U.N. General Assembly to intercede with the Government of Iraq, in the interests of humanity and of regional harmony, to spare the lives of two Jews who had been condemned to death.

“The president of the General Assembly responded to this appeal and requested the head of the Iraqi delegation to convey the representations of the Government of Israel to the Government of Iraq. On several subsequent occasions the president of the Assembly informed me that the head of the Iraqi delegation had promised to convey the reply of his government. The United Nations received its reply yesterday when these two young Jews were hanged in a public square of Baghdad. They had previously been subjected to many weeks of barbaric acts of torture.

“The Special Political Committee will note the manner in which the mediation by the president of the General Assembly was treated. It will also note that this execution was carried out in such a manner as to ensure public degradation of human dignity. As an expression of grief and protest against this revolting action, the delegation of Israel will withdraw from this meeting and leave its seat empty. The delegation of Israel will not take part in any meetings today.”

The same statement was read by Israeli delegate Emile Najar in the U.N. Social. Humanitarian and Cultural Committee, which is debating the draft covenant on human Rights. The Iraqi delegate, replying to the statement read by Ambassador Eban, told the Special Political Committee that the matter raised by the Israeli representative had nothing to do with the work of the Political Committee and is solely the concern of the Iraq Government. Whereupon Mr. Eban stated that he raised the point in order to explain why his delegation could not participate in any U.N. meetings this morning. All Israeli delegates then left the committee room.

After the Israeli delegates left, the delegate of Guatemala proposed that the Special Political Committee suspend its session today “because of an unforeseen situation”–namely the absence of one of the states directly interested in the Palestine refugee question. When the chairman put the matter to a vote it was defeated 24 to three, with 20 abstentions. Voting for the motion were Guatemala. Uruguay and Iceland.

Prof. Rodriguez Fabregat of Uruguay, explaining his vote for adjournment of the season, said that the executions could only aggravate relations between the states involved. He added that his delegation had been prepared to try to obtain commutation of the death sentences. At this point the chairman ruled Prof. Fabregat out of order, but the Uruguayan delegate retorted that the chairman’s remarks were “uncalled for,” and that “we are not here for our own personal comfort, but to fight for the unity of human beings.” The committee then proceeded with the discussion of the Palestine Arab refugees.

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