UNITED NATIONS (Jun. 6)
Israel declared in the Security Council today that it would not acquiesce in any attempt to tamper with Resolution 242 or be drawn into any process that would introduce third powers into the Middle East conflict “which only the parties themselves can settle.” Israel’s position was stated by Ambassador Yosef Tekoah at the opening of the Security Council’s general debate on the Middle East.
The session was formally opened by Secretary General Kurt Waldheim who asserted that Resolution 242 was still the basis for the search for peace in the Middle East and “indeed at the moment there seem to be few if any practical alternatives.”
Tekoah was preceded by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed H. el-Zayyat who urged the member states to “refrain from giving aid to Israel which might help her in her continued occupation of Arab territories.” The Israeli envoy was followed by Jordanian Ambassador Abdul Hamid Sharaf who contended that Israel “created the problem” in the Middle East in 1967 and since then has “worked diligently” to close any avenue for its solution. Following the Jordanian presentation and a brief reply by Tekoah, the session was adjourned until tomorrow.
The opening of the debate, which had as its framework a detailed report by Waldheim on the UN’s peace-making efforts since 1967, was marked by relatively mild speeches by the representatives of the adversary states. Tekoah, who prepared his speech several days ago, did not address himself directly to Zayyat’s remarks. The bulk of his speech was devoted to a resume of what he characterized as “the melancholy chronicle of peace-making efforts in the last six years.”
WILL NOT YIELD TO COERCION
He placed the onus of failure squarely on Egypt and said that his country “has repeatedly attempted in the last six years to reach peaceful agreement with Egypt and the other Arab states.” Tekoah said that “The government of Israel has repeatedly declared that it does not wish to freeze the existing situation or to perpetuate the cease-fire lines, but to replace them in peace with secure and agreed boundaries to be established through negotiations with each of its Arab neighbors.”
He accused Egypt and the other Arab states of attempting “to impose their will through the two Great Powers and through the four permanent members of the Security Council.” Anticipating that such efforts would continue to be made during the current Security Council session, the Israeli Ambassador declared:
“Israel Is not a country that would yield to coercion…If there is a message to be retained from that experience (of the last six years) it is that Israel will not be drawn into any process that would introduce third powers, and their own differences, whether as members of committees or participants in consulting groups, into a conflict which only the parties themselves can settle.”
Continuing, Tekoah declared: “Another fundamental premise that emerges from the experience of recent years is that Israel will under no circumstances relinquish the right to establish the boundary of peace in negotiation and agreement nor acquiesce in any other change in the substance, balance or interpretation of Resolution 242. The purpose of Resolution 242 is to establish a new situation and not to restore the one created by the provisional Armistice lines, a situation of vulnerability and peril that resulted in the 1967 hostilities.”
UNCONDITIONAL WITHDRAWAL TO PRE-1967 LINES
El-Zayyat assumed the role of spokesman both for Egypt and the Palestinians. He said that Israel’s “secure boundaries will not be inside Egyptian territory.” asserted that the Palestinian people have a right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, and called on the member states which have recognized Israel to extend similar recognition to the “Palestinian nation” within the boundaries provided by the United Nations partition resolution of 1947.
He asked the Security Council to resolve that Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territories violates that country’s obligations under the UN Charter, and declared that the occupation forces must be immediately and unconditionally withdrawn to the line from which they attacked in 1967 Zayyat further urged the member states to “give the victims of aggression every possible assistance” and deny such assistance to Israel.
In a brief exchange between the Israeli and Jordanian representatives, Sharaf accused Israel of oppressing Palestinians in the occupied territories. Tekoah replied that during the 19 years that Jordan dominated the West Bank it did nothing for the Palestinians. He also accused Jordan of misrule in Jerusalem and said that Israel has since made that city a “city of delight for all people.”