U.N. Assembly Opens Today; Golda Meir Heads Israel’s Delegation

The United Nations General Assembly opens here tomorrow with two of Israel’s outspoken enemies–Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and President Nasser of the United Arab Republic–prepared to play prominent roles during the Assembly session. This will be Nasser’s first appearance in the United Nations, and his first visit in the United States.

The Israel delegation to the Assembly, composed of 23 members, is headed by Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, who is arriving in New York tomorrow. There are no items on the Assembly’s agenda affecting Israel directly, but there are two items that touch upon Israeli interests indirectly. These are: The continuance of the United Nations Emergency Force which is stationed as a barrier between Egypt and Israel; and the activities of the United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Arab refugees. Arab delegations usually exploit the debates on these items to voice attacks against Israel.

Today, as the special emergency session of the Assembly continued its debate on the explosive Congo problem, Israel was keeping out of the discussions. However, Israel may participate in the Congo debate either tomorrow or possibly even tonight if a late night session takes place on the issue.

Late yesterday afternoon, Ahmad Shukairy, representative of Saudi Arabia, injected Israel and “the Palestine Question” into the Congo debate. He told the delegates that the Congolese province of Katanga is likely to become “another Palestine.” He reiterated loudly old charges that he has made here often about Arabs being “expelled”. from Palestine and about Palestine being taken over by “alien immigration.”

Michael S. Comay, permanent representative of Israel here, and chairman of the delegation, rose to reply. In about 30 seconds, he dismissed Shukairy’s attack, which he called “obsessive with hatred.” Calling attention to the fact that Shukairy had made such attacks against Israel frequently, Mr. Comay said: “Israel will treat these remarks with the contempt which they deserve.”

The posture taken by Mr. Comay in replying to Shukairy was seen by Israel observers here as a preview of what Israel’s attitude will be at this year’s Assembly. When at tacked–Israel will reply. Otherwise, Israel will confine the work of its large delegation to meeting foreign ministers, cabinet members and ambassadors in the corridors and at other places, and cementing Israeli relations especially with African, Asian and Latin American states.

Israel’s delegation is expected to meet with leaders of the Soviet bloc in attendance here on an informal basis, although some talks may be held on a more official basis with some of the heads of Soviet countries. Israel will, of course, ignore the presence of United Arab Republic President Camal Abdul Nasser–unless he attacks Israel. Then he will be answered by Mrs. Moir if she is still here, or by Mr. Comay if the attack comes after she has left.

It is expected that. as usual, the Soviet Union will again attack the legality of the United Nations Emergency Force, and will once more refuse to pay its special UNEF assessment. The budget for next year’s UNEF operations has already been fixed at $19, 384, 800, reduction from this year’s budget of $20, 000, 000 for the maintenance of the force of about 5, 300 officers and men. Not only the Soviet Union but the Arab states are also in arrears on their UNEF assessments. Israel has paid its modest assessment every year since the Force was created in 1956.

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