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Youth Draft Resolution Condemns Israel, Supports Palestinians by Vote of 181-73

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A draft resolution supporting the Palestinians’ just struggle for national independence” and condemning “the oppressive and expansionist policies of Israel, which are endangering world peace” was approved today the Commission on World Peace of the United Nations World Youth Assembly. The veto was 181-73. The draft called for “the immediate and unconditional withdrawal” of (Israeli) troops from occupied Arab territories”; endorsed the “humane objective to establish a unitary democratic state in Palestine,” and condemned “imperialistic aggressions.” A resolution incorporating these points is to be submitted at a subsequent session. At a news conference following the vote, 21-year-old Dennis Prager, the world B’nai B’rith Hillel representative at the Youth Assembly, scored the draft resolution and the general atmosphere of the Assembly as “obviously one-sided.” He said a petition has been signed by 33 of the more than 600 delegates protesting the “cynical attempts to manipulate the conference by the Soviet-Eastern European bloc and by representatives of the undemocratic left.” The Assembly’s steering committee is dominated by representatives of that bloc. There are no Americans, Britons or Israelis on the committee. The chairman of the Assembly is Fawaz Najia of the General Union of Palestine Students.

Among the 33–who signed as individuals–were representatives of the World Federation of Church Youth, the International Union of Socialist Youth, the International Jewish Students Organization, and of the delegations from the United States, Israel, Britain, West Germany, Ghana, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Australia. Harmes Prochaska of Austria told the news conference that “I have never seen such an atmosphere of injustice, hatred and prejudice. The Peace Commission is a large supermarket for ideological propaganda and not to be taken seriously.” Theodore Panayietou of Cyprus, president of the National Union of Cypriot Students, protested what he termed the denial of equal speaking opportunities to Israel and other delegations. Israel, rather than the United States, has been the target of most of the “anti-imperialist” hostilities of Arabs, Africans and leftists attending the assembly. The Israeli delegation has reported being “rudely rejected” by Arab delegations on attempts to discuss issues privately. A delegate from the Sudan, which has condemned Israel during the formal sessions, contended yesterday, however, that he was amenable to such private talks but that he had not been invited by the Israelis.

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