UNITED NATIONS,N.Y. (Dec. 28)
With the United Nations General Assembly scheduled to resume its sessions tomorrow after a brief recess, it was learned here today that the principal activity of the Arab delegations at the Assembly will be a drive to win United Nations recognition of the “Palestine Liberation Organization” which is now recruiting a fighting force among Arab refugees to “liberate Palestine.”
Israeli sources believe that it appears unlikely that the Arab delegations in the UN will be able to win widespread support for a proposal which is in effect a plan to cripple and dismember a member state of the United Nations. Such a project, it was pointed out, is counter to the UN Charter, to the basis of the Mixed Armistice Commissions and the UN commitment to the preservation of national sovereignty. Informal meetings with heads of many delegations at the UN had indicated they were responsive to these factors.
Israelis, however, do not consider the battle against such recognition as won. The present situation in the United Nations points to the conclusion that the only strength possible for Israel in the UN under the existing circumstances is defensive strength.
In the UN Security Council a situation exists at present where the Arabs can count on mobilizing a veto to defeat any resolution they oppose, since the Soviet bloc countries are always backing them. A roughly similar situation exists in the General Assembly. A combination of the Arab bloc countries plus the Soviet bloc countries and other member nations which blindly follow the Arab lead could make it impossible for the Assembly to adopt a stand opposed by the Arabs. However, Israel can win sufficient support in the Assembly and in the Security Council to defeat Arab anti-Israel positions.
Israel’s goal, it was indicated here today, is therefore to create a wall in the United Nations against hostile Arab pressure. Israeli circles feel that there is also moral value for Israel in the rejection by UN organs of specific anti-Israeli proposals, such as the one offered last week by Morocco in the Security Council.
MIDDLE EAST NOT CONSIDERED A MAJOR AREA OF WORLD TENSION
Another matter of continuing concern to Israel is that of membership in the bloc of developing nations, known as the “Group of 77.” A majority of a nine-power committee meeting to determine the criteria for membership in the group is understood to favor objective criteria. If this is the final yardstick adopted, Israel should have no trouble gaining admittance to the group. Two of the members of the committee, however, are Arab states.
The issue is expected to come to a head next month when the nine-power committee will probably submit a majority report favoring objective criteria along with a minority report urging an exclusive regional approach aimed at excluding Israel without mentioning it by name.
Talks with the United Nations delegation heads indicate that there is general feeling here that the Middle East is not among the major areas of tension in the world today. This fact, it is believed, points up the urgency for Israel to maintain internal stability because the lack of it would be an invitation for interference by outside powers.
The fact that the Arabs have virtually abandoned all humanitarian considerations in connection with the Arab refugee question was noted here as an additional argument against proposals for the large-scale admission by Israel of the refugees. The Arab delegations have limited their General Assembly discussions of the refugees to its use as a tool or weapon against Israel. It is difficult to understand what the Arabs hope to gain by this switch in strategy which, it was pointed out, amounts to asking other United Nations delegations to support Arab plans to use the refugees to destroy Israel as a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations.
The Israel-Arab issue is expected to be on the agenda of the General Assembly in February when the world body hears the annual report of the Commissioner of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The Arab delegates have indicated they plan to extend the discussion from the question of the refugees to include the whole range of Arab-Israel differences. This is understood to be a prospect which Israel faces with equanimity.