UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Nov. 16)
The United States strongly criticized Israel today at an urgent Security Council meeting for its retaliatory raid against Jordan last Sunday in a condemnation which, however, referred to the causes which led Israel to act.
The Council was called into session at the request of Jordan for the second meeting in two months on issues arising from the tense situation on Israel’s borders. Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg, chief of the United States delegation, told the Security Council that Israel’s action was “clearly a violation” of the armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan. He urged the Security Council “to speak out firmly” against a policy of retaliation. He added that “the destructive raid” by Israel could not be “justified or excused” by the guerrilla raids in which “Jordan has not been implicated.” Mr. Goldberg said the Israeli raid had taken a “deplorable toll in lives” and declared that the U.N. machinery “must be utilized” by both Arabs and Israelis.
A Security Council meeting, called in October at the request of Israel on a complaint against Syrian-based guerrilla raids, worked out a six-power resolution asking Syria to strengthen efforts to halt the guerrilla raids. Approved by 10 of the Council’s 15 members, the resolution was vetoed by the Soviet Union on November 4.
Ambassador Michael S. Comay, Israel’s permanent delegate to the U. N., told the Council that nothing “constructive” would come from condemnation of one specific action. He said Syria had promoted organized raids into Israel in a “popular war of liberation” across Syria’s borders and those of neighboring Arab states. He said each state must take responsibility for acts of terrorism emanating from its territory and that Jordan had failed to do so.
He said the Sunday raid was “a defensive action” carried out by a small force instructed to prevent casualties, an action undertaken “most reluctantly” after much forbearance. Secretary General U Thant read a brief report on the raid to the Council from U.N. military observers in the area and said a complete report was expected shortly from Lt. Gen. Odd Bull, chief of staff of the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization.
Ambassador Muhammed El-Farra, the permanent Jordanian delegate, called on the Council to take “punitive” action against Israel “forthwith.”
Lord Caradon, the British representative, and Roger Seydoux, the French delegate, similarly noted the guerrilla raids as a factor and similarly held that the raids could not “justify” the Israeli action, which both called a violation of the U.N. armistice agreements. Nikolai Federenko, the Soviet delegate, said the Council “must severely condemn Israel as the aggressor” and take “effective measures” against further “aggressive actions by Tel Aviv.”