UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 24)
Ambassador Yosef Tekoah of Israel accused the Arab governments last night of having provided military, financial and other support for terrorist organizations for more than two decades. He said that was why they sought to prevent the General Assembly from discussing the issue of terrorism. The Israeli diplomat observed in his remarks that such “heinous outrages” as the Lod Airport massacre last May 30 and the killing of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes at Munich Sept. 5 were clearly part of “a concerted campaign affecting the entire international community.”
Tekoah spoke after the General Assembly, by a vote of 57-47, defeated a Yemeni-sponsored measure to shelve discussion of terrorism until next year. There were 22 abstentions. Also speaking after the vote was Ambassador George Bush of the United States who expressed gratification that the shelving measure was beaten. The action of the Assembly would hearten all those who believe that the UN could and would act positively on all moral issues, Bush said.
Sherif Abdul Hamid Sharaf of Jordan, who abstained on the motion, noted that his government had repeatedly condemned political assassinations, kidnapping of diplomats, hijackings and other terrorist acts affecting people unconnected with the issue or the area from which the acts originated.
OTHER EFFORTS DEFEATED
The rough going the anti-terrorist item had getting on the UN agenda was attributable in part to the bitter opposition of the Arab states, the Soviet bloc and the Chinese, and in part to the fear by some Black African states that anti-terrorist measures might be directed against what they consider the legitimate struggle against colonial powers in Africa.
A hard core of Arab and African nations with Communist and Asian support sought Friday to keep the item off the agenda. Some countries sought the creation of a special committee to study the issue of terrorism, a move that would have effectively kept it away from the current Assembly session. At one point during the debate. Bush remarked that “If the nations of the world cannot debate the pressing global problems of the day and seek their solutions…what purpose do we serve here?”
The Assembly’s General Committee voted 15-7 Friday to include Item 99 – Secretary General Kurt Waldheim’s proposal – on the Assembly’s agenda. The item was entitled “Measures to prevent terrorism and other forms of violence which endanger or take innocent human lives or jeopardize fundamental freedoms.” Surprisingly, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia abstained. After the defeat of the Yemeni measure, a somewhat softened version of a draft originally proposed by Waldheim was placed on the Assembly agenda by a vote of 66-27 with 33 abstentions. It was assigned to the Assembly’s Sixth Committee.
During the debate yesterday, China defended the actions of Arab terrorists, contending that it was perfectly just for oppressed nations and peoples to use revolutionary violence against “imperialism, colonialism, racism and Israeli Zionism.” Alarcon Quesada, the Cuban delegate maintained that violence was a social phenomenon arising from historical factors and in response to “reactionary violence and aggression.” He said the UN should be concerned about the violence of the colonialists and racists in Africa, of the “fascist oppressors” in some Latin American countries and of “Zionists against the Palestinians and the peoples of the Arab territories occupied by Israel.”