‘dismal Failure’ for UN Committee on Terrorism

The problem of international terrorism has been tossed back to the General Assembly after the Ad Hoc Committee on International Terrorism failed to reach any agreement on the definition, cause and ways to deal with this problem. Three subcommittees of the ad hoc committee which had been meeting since Aug. 1 behind closed doors ended its work last night and agreed only that there were widely differing views on the issue.

The Israeli delegation, which was not a member of the 35-member ad hoc committee but sat in on the deliberations in the capacity of an observer, issued a sharp criticism of the group after it concluded its work. The delegation termed the work of the committee a “dismal failure” and said that all efforts to examine the problem in a serious manner were “swamped by the demagoguery of Arab representatives and their friends.”

The statement by the Israeli delegation also noted that “it is evident, as confirmed by this latest exercise in futility, that unless Arab states cease to support international terrorism, the United Nations will remain virtually incapable of taking effective action against the scourge of terrorism, and the struggle against it will have to be pursued by responsible governments, acting by themselves and in cooperation with each other.”

During the meetings the United States, Great Britain and other western nations urged measures against international terrorism, including an international commission calling for punishment or extradition of offenders. Arab, African and Communist bloc members rejected proposals which would have implied action or condemnation against what they termed liberation movements. They focused on what they called “state terrorism” practiced by racist and colonial regimes.

The three subcommittees were formed after several weeks of fruitless attempts by the ad hoc committee to reach agreement on the issue of terrorism. One subcommittee worked on defining international terrorism, the second studied its underlying causes, and the third dealt with measures to eliminate the problem. The issue of international terrorism was added to last year’s General Assembly agency by Secretary General Kurt Waldheim after the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich by Arab terrorists.

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