Assembly Resolution Seen As Better Than It Might Have Been but Still ‘one-sided,’ ‘essentially Biase

A resolution adopted by an 86-7 vote in the General Assembly Friday evening was described by officials here as slightly better than it might have been but still a “one-sided” and “essentially biased” document not calculated to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. The United States was one of 31 nations abstaining in the vote. Israeli officials expressed satisfaction with U.S. Ambassador George Bush’s statement after the voting that the paragraph “Inviting member states to avoid actions including aid which would constitute recognition of Israel’s occupation” of Arab territory, would have no effect on American policy.

The officials said that for Israel Bush’s statement was the most important fact connected with the resolution. Nevertheless there were indications, not specifically stated, of disappointment that the U.S. chose to abstain rather than vote against the Egyptian-inspired resolution. Disappointment was also expressed over the support of the resolution by the European Common Market powers, although it was acknowledged here that last minute efforts by Britain and Belgium succeeded in softening the language of the resolution.

It was learned today in Jerusalem that Washington had promised Israel it would vote against any resolution that smacked of sanctions or distorted the meaning of Resolution 242. The U.S. attempted to have a separate vote taken on the “Inviting” paragraph and would doubtlessly have cast a negative vote. When that move failed, the U.S. decided to abstain on the resolution as a whole.

Sources here revealed today that Foreign Minister Abba Eban who was visiting Costa Rica last week, sent a message to British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home Wednesday urging him not to vote for the more extreme draft then circulating in the General Assembly. Eban’s message was credited at least in part with prompting the British delegation, with Belgium, to seek a more moderate version.

(See P. 3 for Abba Eban’s reaction to Assembly resolution, and P. 4 for Yigal Allon’s reaction.)

POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ELEMENT OF SANCTIONS

Britain had given assurances earlier that it would not support any draft that altered the meaning and intent of Resolution 242 and was apparently satisfied that the integrity of 242 was not damaged in the final draft. The latter adhered to 242 insofar as it called for an Israeli withdrawal but with the assertion that all countries in the region be permitted to live in peace with secure boundaries free of the threat of force.

An earlier resolution had included a demand for sanctions against Israel. But the resolution’s 18 sponsors, all sympathetic to the Arab position, were induced to drop that proposal in exchange for support from Britain, France and other European nations. Britain and Belgium also succeeded in deleting another Egyptian-inspired paragraph that referred to “immediate and unconditional withdrawal in accordance with (Resolution) 242.” But the feeling here today was that even the softened version contained the potentially dangerous element of sanctions or at least an excuse to apply sanctions by any party seeking such an excuse. No official statement on the resolution was issued by any government spokesman here today.

(Israel’s UN Ambassador Yosef Tekoah branded the resolution “a product of Arab negativism and shortsightedness” that would “increase friction between the parties and make the attainment of peace more difficult.” He refrained, however, from renouncing support for Resolution 242 as he had warned on Nov. 30 Israel would if the General Assembly passed a resolution distorting the five-year-old measure.)

(Five of the Arab nations favoring tougher treatment of Israel abstained in Friday’s vote. They were Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Southern Yemen and Libya. Six Latin American countries joined Israel in voting no on the resolution. They were Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Uruguay.

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