UNITED NATIONS, N.Y (May. 27)
Israel today reiterated its opposition to a United Nations resolution adopted Dec. 19 by the General Assembly which called for establishment of a special three-nation committee to “investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population” in occupied areas.
Its expression of sentiment followed the disclosure today of a note that Secretary-General U Thant had sent to UN member states on May 22 asking for their views on solving the problem created by the inability of the late Assembly president Emilio Arenales of Guatemala to find three states willing to serve on the committee by the time of his death early this year.
Israel indicated after the vote last year that it would not permit any such investigation unless the status of Jews in Arab lands was similarly probed. The Assembly had voted the resolution 60 to 22 with 37 abstentions. The United States was among the opponents. Two other members of the Big Four–Britain, France–abstained; Russia favored the measure.
The issue arose anew today when the disclosure of Mr. Thant’s note indicated that General Assembly’s rules of procedure do not contain any provision covering the present situation. He offered for the member states’ consideration some possible parliamentary solutions to the impasse. One involved a possible special session of the Assembly, which he noted “would involve considerable time, effort and expense.” The Secretary-General asked for replies by June 10 on governmental views.
Commenting on the situation, an Israeli source said the late Assembly president failed to obtain members for the committee “because of the refusal of a great many member states whom he approached to accept such an invitation. Those refusals were in turn the result of the one-sided and arbitrary character of the resolution which was adopted by a minority of UN members.”
Another reason for the absence of cooperation, the source said, was the “real nature” of the resolution–”a transparent maneuver of the Arab-Soviet bloc which had nothing to do with their professed concern for human rights.”
Noting that Mr. Thant had indicated that only changes in existing procedure would make possible further action, the Israeli source said “in the circumstances, such changes would not be justified. Rather, precedents should be followed, and these show that when in the past, for any reason, the Assembly president could not complete any function entrusted to him, the matter took its regular course.”
In a related development, a spokesman for Mr. Thant today denied published reports that the Secretary-General had suggested to the Big Four that a commission be established to study the possibilities of resettling and compensating Palestinian refugees in the Mideast. It was reported that the purported Thant proposal was one of many being considered by a working group of deputies of the Big Four Ambassadors which was said to be considering all aspects of the refugee problem.
The UN spokesman said he had checked out the report (presumably with Mr. Thant) and said there was no knowledge of the reported proposal. He recalled that Mr. Thant had at the outset of the Big Four meetings agreed to provide the envoys with any requested factual material on the subjects under discussion. The big powers were slated to hold another meeting on the Mideast peace settlement question tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in Washington, Charles W. Yost, the U.S. representative to the UN said, yesterday that the success or failure of efforts to bring about peace depends “on the governments and peoples of the Middle East, who are after all, and most of all. masters of their own fate and future.” Mr. Yost spoke to the United Nations Association of the U.S. there. He said that “the resources and the authority of the UN, limited as they may be in the present state of the world, are being and, I am confident, will be fully applied in the pursuit of peace.”