JERUSALEM (Oct. 21)
Two Israeli newspapers reported today that Israel may boycott the United Nations Security Council because of the election of Syria to it yesterday.
The reports in Haaretz and Davar came in the wake of the statement by Foreign Minister Abba Eban that Israel would “reconsider her stand” toward the Council if Syria was elected and until it frees the two Israelis detained since the Aug. 29 hijacking of a Trans World Airliner to Damascus.
Haaretz reported that it was likely that Israel would not appear before the 15-member Council under present conditions either as a plaintiff or to answer charges made against her by other states. Official sources in Jerusalem have said in recent days that “a nation which so openly flouts international law and usage cannot sit in justice on others.” Both papers reported that there has been no Cabinet decision on a boycott and that the announcement of a boycott may be delayed.
(Ambassador Yosef Tekoah said at the UN that the election of Syria “does create the question of whether there is any justification for us to participate in the Security Council under such circumstances.” When Mideast questions are before the body, Israel and the Arab states invariably participate in the debate but those Arab states not on the Council, as well as Israel, do not have the right to vote. The lopsided pro-Arab weight of the Council has long been a target of Israeli criticism, and Jerusalem has ignored resolutions which it regards as biased.)
The 126-member General Assembly gave Syria 101 votes, enabling it to take the Asian bloc seat being vacated by Pakistan on Jan. 1, 1970. Syria will remain on the Council as a non-permanent member for two years.
Syria is still technically at war with Israel, as is Algeria which is leaving the Council after a two-year stint. The Israelis had been campaigning to either block the election of Syria or to gain an impressive number of abstentions.
Of the five principal candidates sponsored by geographical blocs for Council membership, Syria received the fewest number of votes. The others named to the Council, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security, are: Poland, 121 votes; Burundi, 118; Sierra Leone, 117; and Nicaragua, 103.
The new Council will include five member states which do not have diplomatic relations with Israel — Russia, Poland, Spain, China and Syria. The present Council has six such members. Some Israelis feel that with the departure of Pakistan, Senegal and Algeria, the balance of the Council may be slightly less unfavorable to them. In a scattering of other votes, for Council membership, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt received one each. Lebanon and Tunisia received two. The balloting was secret.