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Sharp Differences Voiced in Human Rights Commission over Action on Israel

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Members of the United Nations Human Rights Commission voiced sharp criticism of the Commission’s action last Friday in demanding that the Israel Government halt the destruction of homes of suspected terrorists, according to the transcript of the session, which was made public today. The action, carried by a vote of 17 to one with seven abstentions, was criticised subsequently as not truly a concensus of the Commission’s views, as a misuse of procedure and as a political action. There are 32 members of the Commission.

Morris B. Abram, the American delegate, told the Commission that the results of the vote did not bear out the contention that the Commission action represented a concensus of the opinions of its members. Sir Samuel Hoare, the British delegate said that his delegation had had to consider whether there was ground for “convicting a government and calling upon it to mend its ways.” The situation, he pointed out, involved an occupying power and the question of whether the act was necessitated by military reasons caused his delegation some perplexity.

Anton Prohaska of Austria complained that the discussion had been transformed into a political issue and Waldo Waldron-Ramsey, of Tanzania protested the difficulty of castigating a state on the basis of newspaper reports. Andrea Aguilar Mawdsley of Venezuela, charged that the consensus procedure had been abused and that the members of the Commission had not been given sufficient time to study the facts.

B. Quentin-Baxter, of New Zealand, said the situation should have been left to the Security Council. Per-Olof Forshell of Sweden said the Commission action would interfere with the peacemaking efforts of the Secretary-General and his special envoy, Ambassador Gunnar Jarring. The representatives of France, Argentina and Guatemala stressed that they had voted for the action out of humanitarian reasons only and without consideration of political questions.

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