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Tekoah Hits Thant Initiative on Committee to Probe Condition of Occupied Arab’s Areas

Secretary-General U Thant has been accused by Israel of using “dubious means” that were illegal and “unwarranted” toward a “dubious end” in offering an initiative for a United Nations-sponsored inquiry into the condition of Arabs in occupied territories.

Mr. Thant had circulated suggestions among all 126 UN members in May on how to resolve the unprecedented problem of finding three members for a committee to conduct the probe. Emilio Arenales, president of the last General Assembly, died in April before he could get three countries to form the committee.

Last week, Mr. Thant said that a majority of the member states–67–agreed to his suggestion that the 17 Assembly vice presidents confer to pick one of their number to name the committee. They will meet tomorrow. Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s UN Ambassador, replied that the whole proposed procedure was “without a legal basis at any of its stages.” Israel opposed the resolution to establish the committee last winter and said there can be no investigation of the Arabs’ condition unless the status of Jews in Arab lands is similarly probed.