UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Jun. 25)
The Security Council will resume its emergency session on Lebanon’s latest complaints against Israel at ten o’clock tomorrow morning, presumably prepared to act on resolutions framed since it adjourned late last night. Lebanon is seeking “a very strong condemnation” of Israel for “persistent acts of aggression” and has the support of the Soviet Union, China and France among the Council’s permanent members and of Yugoslavia, Somalia and Sudan. The United States indicated however that it would oppose any one-sided condemnation of Israel.
The Security Council met at the urgent request of Lebanon Friday, debated for three hours then and again for five hours Saturday. Ambassador George Bush, the US Ambassador to the UN, made it plain that he wanted any resolution to be fair and balanced and to look beyond the immediate incidents and at least give some hope of direction toward peace. He said the Security Council should indicate concern for the terrorists acts, as well as acts by Israel and compassion for the dead and wounded on both sides. He said the US would offer a draft resolution to accomplish those ends.
ATTACK FOLLOWS MANY INCIDENTS
Lebanon’s complaint against Israel stemmed from Israeli incursions three times last week against terrorist strongholds in the so-called “Fatahland” region of southeastern Lebanon where terrorist activity flared up last week for the first time since Feb. 25. Israeli forces raided “Fatahland” Tuesday following a bazooka attack on an Israeli tourist bus, a mining incident in which two Israeli soldiers were injured and a sniper attack that wounded two other Israeli soldiers. Israeli air, ground and artillery forces struck at “Fatahland” again Wednesday when an Israeli patrol captured five high ranking Syrian intelligence officers and one Lebanese officer apparently on a joint reconnaissance mission. The Israeli immigrant township of Kiryat Shemona near the Lebanese border, came under Katyusha rocket attack Thursday, causing damage but no casualties. Israeli warplanes and artillery attacked terrorist positions again the same day. Beirut claimed 18 civilians were killed and 12 wounded.
During the lengthy debate in the Security Council, the Lebanese Ambassador, Edouard Ghorra engaged in a sharp exchange with the Israeli envoy, Ambassador Yosef Tekoah. The Soviet Ambassador, Yacov Malik, claimed that despite the fact that “important international problems were being solved on a realistic basis, the Zionists had shown no interest in using this improved international climate to solve the problem in the Middle East.” Huang Hua of China denounced Israel for “wanton provocation” and urged the Security Council to “stand for justice and uphold the principles of the UN Charter” by supporting Lebanon “as well as the Palestinian and other Arab people against Israeli aggression.”
TEKOAH CHARGES DOUBLE STANDARD
Tekoah accused the Security Council of applying a “double standard,” taking action not when Jewish blood was spilled but only when Israel, as a last resort, struck back. He said the Israeli Air Force and artillery had “reacted in self defense” against the main concentrations of Arab terrorists in “Fatahland.” He called on Lebanon to abide by its international obligations and put an end to the “criminal activities” by terrorists on its soil thus making it unnecessary for Israel to act.
Tekoah accused the Soviet Union of playing a negative role in the Middle East. “supporting Arab aggression” and providing the Arabs with unlimited supplies of arms. But the Israeli envoy made an unusual bid for China to understand Israel’s position. “In the dawn of recorded history there had been two nations in Asia-China in the East and Israel in the West,” Tekoah said. “China knows that history did not begin with Arab efforts to oust the Israelis from the Middle East. The people of China will recognize Israel’s fundamental rights of peace and co-existence,” he said.
Earlier in the debate, Lebanon demanded that Israel return the five Syrian officers captured on its territory. Tekoah said the five officers had been on a reconnaissance mission organized jointly with the Lebanese Army “to collect military data and work on guidelines for future operations” against Israel. He said the nature of their mission was disclosed in papers found on the prisoners. The Syrian Ambassador, George Tomeh, claimed the five officers were not POWs since they were not on a military mission.
(Foreign Minister Abba Eban told the regular weekly Cabinet session in Jerusalem today that Israel regards as “one-sided” a proposed draft he indicated was now under consideration by the United Nations Security Council, a resolution which purportedly condemns Israel for its weekend attacks on Lebanon while deploring all violent activities, The Foreign Minister, reporting on Israeli efforts at the UN to “balance” whatever resolution the Council approves, ascribed authorship of the “one-sided” draft resolution to several European countries. He said such a resolution would encourage the Arabs to continue their aggression against Israel.
The second part of the purported draft deals with exchange of prisoners, expressing “satisfaction” about the contacts already established between the parties but it reportedly expresses the hope that the five Syrian officers captured by the Israeli force that moved into Fatahland on Wednesday will be released promptly. It was indicated that Israel’s UN efforts are concentrated on persuading the Security Council to leave the matter of prisoner exchanges to the International Red Cross.)