U.N. Security Council Adopts Resolution Censuring Israel; France Abstains
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U.N. Security Council Adopts Resolution Censuring Israel; France Abstains

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The Security Council today adopted an Anglo-American resolution condemning Israel for its “retaliatory” raid of March 16-17 against Syrian gun positions overlooking Lake Tiberias, which had harassed Israeli fishermen and police patrol boats on the lake. The vote was 10 in favor, none against, and one abstention.

The only abstainer was France, while the United States and Britain joined the Soviet Union and the United Arab Republic in voting for the draft. Since the resolution “reaffirms” a measure adopted by the Council in 1956, it also, in effect, threatens Israel with sanctions if Israel should fail to heed the Council’s new resolution. The 1956 resolution contained such a threat.

The Anglo-American resolution was adopted after Michael S. Comay, Israel’s chief representative here, had delivered a long address in which he sternly attacked the positions taken during the current debate by three of the Big Four Powers here. He charged the Soviet Union with “bias,” alleged that the U.S.A. has adopted “a lopsided” view of the Syrian-Israeli situation, and disagreed with the contention of Britain, which had maintained here that only the United Nations can protect Israel.

The resolutions “deplored the hostile exchanges” of fire between Syria and Israel and called upon both Syria and Israel to refrain “from the threat as well as the use of force.” It then declared that the current Council: “Reaffirm the Security Council resolution of January 19, 1956 which condemned Israeli military action in the breach of the General Armistice Agreement, whether or not undertaken by way of retaliation; determines that the Israeli attack of March 16-17, 1962, constitutes a flagrant violation of that resolution (of 1956) and calls upon Israel scrupulously to refrain from such action in the future.”

Other clauses in the resolution supported proposals made by Major General Carl C. von Horn, chief of staff of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization, which Israel had already rejected. The von horn proposals included the placement of a UN observation boat on Lake Tiberias, which is entirely in Israel territory; and reactivation of Israel’s participation in the Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission which Israel has been boycotting since 1951, claiming Syria was trying to use the MAC as a wedge for the incursion upon Israeli territory and sovereignty.


Only Armand Berard, chairman of the French delegation, came to Israel’s defense today. M. Berard told the Council, as it was preparing to ballot on the resolution, that he would abstain because the Anglo-American draft was “not impartial.” He maintained that the resolution should have taken into account the Syrian provocations that led to Israel’s military action, especially the Syrian shooting at Israeli boats on Lake Tiberias, on March 8, 15 and 16.

Prior to the adoption of the Anglo- American resolution, the UAR withdrew its sponsorship of a Syrian draft which would have condemned Israel even more sharply. Both Israel and Syria had presented resolutions, each condemning the other. Since Israel is not a member of the Council, and no Council member called for a vote on its draft, the Israeli measure died automatically. After adopting the Anglo-American resolution, the Council considered its long debate on the current Israeli-Syrian situation “concluded,” and adjourned.

However, the Council had already heard the Israel Government’s views on the Anglo American draft. Mr. Comay had made those views clear, taking the floor after a speech by Syria’s Salah Terazi. The latter repeated his previous, sharp attacks against Israel, and expressed regret that the Council had not yet come to the point “unfortunately of considering Israel’s expulsion from the United Nations.”


Analyzing the position taken by the Soviet delegation during the current debate, Mr. Comay accused Platon D. Morozov, the Soviet representative, of having swallowed whole the “preposterous” version of Israel’s attack against the Syrian gun positions overlooking Lake Tiberias on the night of March 16-17. Mr. Morozov’s version of the alleged facts, Mr. Comay charged, “is simply the Syrian version down to the last detail.”

Quoting from portions of Mr. Morozov’s statements to the Council last week, when the USSR representative said it would be “quite proper to warn Israel that sanctions will be applied,” the Israeli diplomat said: “It is a grave matter to threaten any member state with sanctions; but it is unpardonable to do so on the basis of gross factual misstatement.”

Mr. Comay cited a statement made during the debate by Adlai E. Stevenson, chairman of the American delegation, who had referred to Israel’s alleged “reversion to a policy of retaliatory raids.” Pointing out that Israel’s March 16-17 attack had followed grave Syrian provocations, Mr. Comay said: “I wish to assure him (Mr. Stevenson) that my Government did not have then and does not have now any policy of retaliatory raids. My Government has the same right and duty as any other government to protect ourselves against attack.”

As to Britain’s position in the debate, Mr. Comay referred particularly to a statement made here last week by Sir Patrick Dean, chairman of the British delegation, who had urged Israel “to consider that the United Nations is a stronger defense of peace in the Middle East and of Israel’s independence, than its own armed forces.”

“It would not be fruitful,” Mr. Comay said, “to debate with Sir Patrick what the relative roles were of the United Nations, and of our armed forces, in defending our independence. Nobody knows better than the United Kingdom under what circumstances the Palestine Mandate ended, and the State of Israel was born. Had we had to rely not on our own strength and courage, but solely on the United Nations Charter, Israel would not have survived two weeks.”


As for the Anglo-American resolution, Mr. Comay pointed out that Mr. Stevenson himself had conceded in his statement here that there had been not only Israeli retaliation but also Syrian provocation. “We have searched the Anglo-American text in vain for reference to that Syrian provocation or for a finding that it is contrary to the letter and spirit of the armistice agreement and cannot be condoned,” he stressed.

The Israeli noted that Charles W. Yost, who has represented the United States at most of the sessions in the current debate, had also, in his speeches here, referred to Syrian artillery fire against the Israelis on Lake Tiberias on March 8, nearly 10 days before the Israeli retaliatory raid. But, said Mr. Comay, “there is a curious silence in the text” concerning this point. “Such mention would no doubt be embarrassing to Syria–but does that justify its omission? Why these elements of balance have vanished is not for us to explain. My Government can only deplore the result.”

Mr. Comay concluded by declaring that now “at the end of the strained debate, ” the Government of Israel “wishes to look beyond present tensions and difficulties toward a better future, in which conflict will give way to cooperation and we and our Arab neighbors will live and work together as neighbors should for the common good of the region we share.”

Sir Patrick, replying to Mr. Comay, told the Council that the Anglo-American resolution was “very carefully worded and tried to take account objectively of all the facts.” Mr. Morozov told the Council he was voting for the resolution without changing the traditional USSR position regarding “the so-called” United Nations Emergency Force, which Russia has never recognized. He said the resolution should serve as “a serious warning” to Israel not to commit any further violations, advising the Council that if Israel committed another violation it would face the entire “arsenal” of sanctions contained in the UN Charter.

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