Security Council Votes 11-0 with Four Abstentions to Condemn Israel’s Attack on Lebanon

The UN Security Council today approved by an 11-0 vote, with four abstentions, a Zambian resolution condemning Israel for staging a “premeditated” attack on Lebanon May 12 “in violation of the UN Charter.” The resolution also deplored Israel’s alleged failure to abide by previous resolutions prohibiting aggression; stated that the Council cannot tolerate such attacks; warned Israel it would take “adequate and effective” action against subsequent similar attacks, and deplored the loss of life and property in the Israel action. The nations abstaining were the United States, Sierra Leone, Colombia and Nicaragua. Three of the Big Four – Britain, France and the Soviet Union – voted for the resolution. Lord Caradon, the British Ambassador, explaining his vote, said that while his country did not endorse a “wholly one-sided resolution” – which he apparently felt the Zambian resolution was not – said, nevertheless “there is no peace to be won by violence… Violence breeds violence.” He called for the resumption of the Jarring peace mission and for “positive action” going beyond “condemnation, accusation and counter-accusation, misrepresentation, unjustified allegations and delay.”

United States Ambassador Charles W. Yost said the U.S. had abstained because it considered the resolution “unbalanced” in that it took “insufficient” account of aggression from Lebanese territory. The resolution, although condemning Israel, was weaker than the resolution that Syria had been preparing for a week. That resolution would have condemned Israel, provided for sanctions against her under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, and prohibited the delivery of military and civilian aid to member nations occupying other members’ territory (a reference to Israel’s occupation of Arab areas captured during the Six-Day War). Syria apparently had failed to attract an African or Asian co-sponsor to demonstrate non-Arab support for the resolution. Syria’s Ambassador George Tomeh said that although the resolution adopted was not as strong as he had hoped for, he nevertheless endorsed it. He expressed regrets that it did not also contain a call for sanctions against Israel. The absence of sanctions. Mr. Tomeh said, “paralyzes” effective UN action against aggression.

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