Soviet Move Silences Israel at Opening of Tense Security Council Debate
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Soviet Move Silences Israel at Opening of Tense Security Council Debate

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After a four-hour wrangle, sparked principally by the Soviet Union, Israel was prevented in the Security Council late today from following Egypt in the presentation of the Israeli arguments against a three-power draft resoultion which Israel previously had identified as an Arab-Soviet document.

The session, which was convened this afternoon one hour late, was adjourned when the Soviet Union, represented by its first deputy Foreign Minister, Vassily V. Kuznetsov, demanded that Israel be forbidden to follow the address previously scheduled to open the debate by Egypt’s Ambassador Mohamed El Kony. Arthur J. Goldberg, chairman of the United States delegation, requested that, in fairness, Israel be allowed to speak immediately after the Egyptian. Finally, after hours of unsuccessful behind-the-scenes arguments, the matter went back before an open session of the 15-member body. Mr. Goldberg moved that Israel be given second place in the debate but lost by vote of eight to seven. A minimum of nine votes is required for approval in the Council. As a result of that vote, Israel was placed sixth or seventh on the list of speakers. Mr. El Kony then delivered the first address in the debate.

The real issue, behind the parliamentary maneuvering, was to give a three-power group in the Council-headed officially by Mali, Nigeria and India–to get the jump on the draft resolution formulated by the U.S. delegation. Israel had already denounced the three-power draft as pro-Arab. In the background was the possibility that, if both the pro-Arab and the U.S., drafts should fail to muster the votes needed for Council passage, Japan would present a compromise which, it was predicted, would still be unacceptable to Israel.

So tense was the series of moves that preceded this afternoon’s session that eight members of the Council, plus Egypt and Israel as principal protagonists, had already inscribed their names on the speakers’ list. The Council members were India, Nigeria, the Soviet Union, Britain, the United States. Ethiopia, Denmark and Canada. India reportedly offered to let Israel speak immediately after the Egyptians did, if Mr. Eban would promise not to mention the three-power draft in his address. The Israelis rejected that offer on the ground that it would not permit any Council member to tell Israel what to discuss and what not to mention.

Mr. Eban was known to have prepared an address in which he would have rejected any United Nations effort to seek a solution of the Israeli-Arab issue without endorsement of direct Israeli-Arab peace negotiations, an end to Arab belligerence, and outright rejection of anything like the defunct 1949 Israel-Arab armistice lines or armistice pacts, which, for 19 years, have led to war and no peace.

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