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Israel in 11th-hour Move to Stop Afro-asian Draft; Latin American Draft Submitted

The third and final Middle East draft resolution was submitted to the General Assembly this morning as the Israeli delegation worked furiously behind the scenes to block it and the earlier Afro-Asian-Yugoslavian draft. The new draft, sponsored by 20 Latin American countries, voices “full support” for the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 242; endorses the Gunnar V. Jarring peace mission; calls for resumption of the Jarring talks “as soon as possible”; recommends an extension of the Mideast cease-fire “for at least three months,” and asks Secretary General U Thant to report within two months on the progress of the Jarring talks. This draft is deficient, by Israeli standards, in that it makes no reference to Egyptian violations of the standstill provisions of the cease-fire agreement. Its sponsors are Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela. Israel’s principal target, however, continues to be the Afro-Asian draft submitted last Thursday, largely because it emphasizes the occupation of Arab territories, wrongly interprets Dr. Jarring’s mandate, does not condemn belligerency, and makes no reference to Egyptian missile violations.

An Israeli spokesman asserted today that his delegation was engaged in “an 11th-hour struggle to make absolutely sure that this worst and most damaging draft resolution is defeated.” He noted that half of its sponsors do not even recognize the State of Israel (Since the introduction of the Afro-Asian draft by 16 nations, it has picked up five more sponsors–Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia, Mongolia, the People’s Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone. The Nigerian delegation proposed an amended text today, but the Israeli spokesman said the revisions did not alter the “pro-Arab” thrust of the measure.) In the Assembly plenary today, Jordanian Ambassador Muhammad H. el-Farra demanded that Israeli withdrawal begin with Jerusalem. Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, in his reply, declared that territorial boundaries were subject to negotiation, and again assailed the “partisan” Afro-Asian draft as a major threat to the United States peace initiative and to the Jarring mission itself–even if Egypt were to “rectify” her missile violations. Israel is known to favor a delay on the voting, which could come by tomorrow. In any case, she is attempting not merely to dissuade other nations from backing the Afro-Asian measure but to get them to oppose it instead of abstaining.

U.S. PLAN ACCEPTABLE WITH RESERVATION; ITALY, BELGIUM SUPPORT RESOLUTION 242

Israel is hoping that the three resolutions under consideration–the Afro-Asian, the American and the Latin American–will be decided by a two-thirds vote, and that Arab attempts to gain a majority rule vote will be beaten back. By this afternoon Israel had not formally announced how she would vote on the U.S. and Latin measures, but it was believed she would accept the American plan despite reservations over what she terms its vagueness about the Egyptian violations. The U.S. draft recommends only that the parties “(take) into account the obstacles and difficulties which have arisen since the cease-fire standstill agreement went into effect.”) It is technically possible for more than one draft resolution to pass. Meanwhile, there was further Israeli opposition last night to the speeches in recent days by British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home and British UN Ambassador Sir Colin Crowe. An Israeli spokesman at the UN said that in view of Britain’s assertion that a Mideast peace cannot be imposed by outside powers, “it is hard to understand why they think it is useful now to enter the negotiations themselves and thereby prejudice their outcome and set the prospect of peace some distance backwards.” The spokesman added that “No Israeli government will accept the kind of role which Sir Alec Douglas-Home outlines, since he proposes, in effect, to restore the situation which brought about the explosion in 1967.”

A British spokesman insisted today that the Douglas-Home and Crowe statements were “wholly consistent” with Resolution 242 and did not recommend an imposed settlement. (UN observers said the Afro-Asian draft was more acceptable to the United Kingdom with its amendments, but there was no word on how Britain would vote.) The U.S. is understood to consider the Afro-Asian draft as “one-sided” and “pro-Arab,” with the Latin American draft more acceptable despite “some defects.” U.S. diplomats feel a one-third-plus-one bloc can be obtained to block the Afro-Asian measure. In the Assembly debate late yesterday afternoon. Ambassador Piero Vinci of Italy called for “full implementation” of Resolution 242 and reactivation of the Jarring mission “as soon as possible” to head off “potentially the most dangerous (situation) in the world.” In support of Israel. Mr. Vinci urged the Assembly to avoid “any provision that could be interpreted by anyone as an interference in the functions exercised by the Security Council” and to avoid “upsetting the delicate balance of principles and provisions” of the Council’s Nov. 22. 1967 resolution. Ambassador Edouard Longerstaey of Belgium also urged the Assembly not to upset the “fragile compromise” of Resolution 242. Italy and Belgium thus joined the U.S. as Israel’s strongest–if not only–supporters in the fight to protect Resolution 242 from “erosion.”

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