Security Council Majority Seen As for Condemnation of Israel for Beirut Raid
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Security Council Majority Seen As for Condemnation of Israel for Beirut Raid

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Consultations among members of the United Nations Security Council seeking an agreed position on the Lebanese complaint against Israel for the attack on the Beirut Airport Saturday night continued today in advance of the Security Council’s resumed session tonight. The Council, which met in emergency session last night, heard a series of speeches roundly condemning Israel and a demand by the Soviet Union that sanctions be invoked against Israel and that country be ordered to punish the “pirates” responsible for the attack.

Representatives of the United States, Great Britain and France condemned the Israel reprisal last night but it was considered highly unlikely here today that the United States and Britain would go along with the Soviet demand for invocation of sanctions. Delegation conferences today revolved around the three issues: the compensation demanded by Lebanon, condemnation of Israel and sanctions.

Observers stressed the statement by Ambassador J.R. Wiggins during the session last night that the United States was prepared to support prompt action by the Security Council in condemning Israel for the Beirut attack. A condemnation resolution, it was believed, would command a substantial majority of the Council. The question was, however, whether the Soviet Union would insist on pressing for sanctions.

A working paper, understood to have the American delegation’s approval, was being circulated among the Security Council members today. The paper proposed a draft resolution providing for condemnation of Israel, compensation for the Lebanese and a warning to Israel against reprisal actions. If the Soviet Union were not to insist on a resolution invoking sanctions, it was believed that a resolution of this nature could be adopted at tonight’s session. If the Russians insist on sanctions, however, the Security Council deliberations may be prolonged and may even go over into the new year.

After January 1, the composition of the Security Council will be changed. Friends of Israel like Canada, Denmark and Brazil will give up their seats on Dec. 31, as will Ethiopia and India. India, which does not have full diplomatic relations with Israel, has been particularly hostile. The new members will be Finland, Colombia, Nepal, Spain and Zambia.


Edouard Ghorra of Lebanon, the first speaker, told the Security Council last night that condemnation of Israel would not be sufficient. He urged the Council to invoke sanctions against Israel and to order it to pay compensation to Lebanon.

Shabtai Rosenne of Israel gave a detailed report on the attack on the Israeli airliner in Athens. He said the gunmen were members of a terrorist organization based on Lebanese soil and operating quite openly with the full knowledge and blessings of the Lebanese Government. He described the attack on the Beirut airport as an act of self-defense and declared that Israel would exercise its right of defense against attacks wherever and whenever they might be made.

Ambassador J. R. Wiggins of the United States condemned the terrorist attacks on the Israeli airliners but charged that the Israeli reaction was out of all proportion and was as unacceptable form of international behavior. The attack, he said, had introduced a new element of danger in the Middle East. He called for meaningful arms limitation and intensified support of the Jarring mission and pleaded with Israel to admit its error and express its regrets. He said the United States was prepared to support prompt action by the Security Council to condemn the Israeli action.

(The American Jewish Committee issued a statement regretting the nature of Ambassador Wiggin’s statement. It said that “no violence in the Middle East should be condoned” but it pointed out that Israel had never been able to obtain relief in the Security Council because of the Soviet veto. It said that “an even-handed policy by the United States would be to oppose violations of the cease-fire from any source. It would be unfair for our government to agree to a condemnation by the Security Council of the recent Israeli action without any reference to the act of December 26 which involved not only destruction of Israeli property but the loss of life.”

(The American Israel Public Affairs Committee protested to Secretary of State Dean Rusk against the “partisan attitude” of the United States in condemning Israel’s Beirut reprisal after ignoring the Arab terrorism that provoked the raid. Chairman Irving Kane, of Cleveland, in a telegram to Mr. Rusk, said the U.S. reluctance to censure Arab terrorism “emboldens the perpetrators to attempt even more reckless and catastrophic exploits.”

He called the U.S. response to Mideast violence “less than even-handed” and urged that U.S. policy “begin to take into account the basic cause of these tragic circumstances – the refusal of the Arab states to end their illegal state of war against Israel and to enter into a genuine peace settlement.”)

The Soviet delegate, Yakov Malik, denounced Israel and called the attack a criminal aggressive act perpetrated in a gangster like way and a monstrous act of piracy. He criticized the United States as “the protector” of Israel and said there was a connection between the announcement of the sale of the Phantom planes to Israel and the attack at the Beirut airport.

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