UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (May. 18)
Ambassador Abba Eban, head of the Israel delegation at the United Nations, today questioned the legality of the complaint against Israel submitted to the U. N. Security Council by Lebanon on behalf of Jordan in connection with the raid on the Jordanian village of Nahalin.
In a communication to the president of the Security Council, Mr. Eban said that as long as Jordan does not agree to settle its disputes peacefully, according to the Charter of the United Nations, its complaint about the Israeli attack on Nahalin “cannot legally figure on the Security Council’s agenda.” Mr. Eban went on,” until Jordan complies with the conditions to be laid down by the Security Council in accordance with Article 32 and Article 35, paragraph 2, of the Charter, there is no legal basis for Jordan’s participation in the Security Council’s discussion.”
(Article 32 and Article 35, paragraph 2, are the rules which say that a nonmember state must agree to peaceful settlement of disputes.)
Mr. Eban declared, in his letter, that there was no doubt that Article 35, paragraph 2, applied to the complaint about Nahalin. He pointed out that though this complaint had been submitted by the representative of Lebanon, it had been done “on behalf of the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”
The Israeli representative also pointed out that Jordan had been illegally invited to the table and that its representative had made a statement before the Council. He said that Abdul Monen Rifai had spoken of “our complaint.” He also quoted Mr. Rifai as saying “my government submitted its complaint against Israel.” Again he quoted the Jordanian representative as saying that he expected special consideration for “our complaint.”
Mr. Eban’s letter was a long one, filling fully three pages of close type. It is in pursuance of his letter of an earlier date in which he asked whether Jordan had agreed to obligations under Article 35, paragraph 2. Most of the letter is taken up in a legal argument that Jordan by refusing to agree to these conditions had been illegally seated and that the Council had not properly adopted its agenda.
The Security Council, scheduled to meet today for further deliberations on Jordan-Israel differences, postponed the meeting indefinitely. Reason for the postponement, according to reliable sources, was the failure of delegations to agree on an approach to the Israeli legal question, raised at the last meeting, as to whether or not Jordan may present its case to the Council.