UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 13)
“Israel cannot forego its right to self-defense and the duty to protect its citizens merely because Arab governments have thwarted international measures against terrorism. Neither can Israel fore go military defense actions against terrorism said to be improper in normal international conditions.”
This was the view hammered home to the Security Council today by Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, in a forceful defense of Israel’s interception of a Lebanese airliner. Tekoah argued that the interception was an “effort to prevent murder and constituted an “act of self-defense” against “criminals who endanger the very fabric of international relations.”
Tekoah’s remarks were in response to the charges of air piracy brought against Israel by Lebanon and Iraq which had called for the special Council meeting. The Lebanese Middle East Airlines Caravelle had been chartered by Iraqi. Airways and was on its way to Baghdad when it was intercepted by Israel.
Iraqi UN Ambassador Abdul Shaikhly said the Israeli action was a threat to civil aviation and recalled the Israeli attack on the Beirut Airport and the downing last Feb. of a Libyan airliner over the Sinai. He said Israel is a permanent threat to international peace and contended that the Council cannot establish peace and security in the Middle East because of the U.S. veto.
Abdel Meguid, Egypt’s Ambassador, supported Lebanon and said the Israeli act was a continuation of Israel’s expansionist goals. He said it was new evidence that while Israel talks of peace, it acts as an aggressor.
SILENCE REGARDING TERRORIST CARNAGE
Tekoah told the Council that it was meeting to discuss a two-hour detention of an airplane in combating terrorism while “silence was imposed on the Council regarding the carnage in Athens, Khartoum, Munich and Lod.” He said efforts by the General Assembly and the Ad Hoc Committee on International Terrorism to suppress terrorism were torpedoed by the Arab delegations and their supporters.
The Israeli diplomat said Israel intercepted the Lebanese airline because there was reason to believe that the terrorist leaders responsible for the massacre at the Munich Olympics, the recent hijacking of the Japan Air Lines jet and the atrocity at Athens Airport were aboard the plane, especially “the notorious George Habash.” He listed various attacks which he said were perpetrated by Dr. Habash and his organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and said “nothing could be more ridiculous and dangerous than focussing on Israel’s act of self-defense…and letting off scot free the barbaric murderers of Athens, Lod, etc.” He said this is what occurred in several cases in the past.
Vasily Stepanovich Saffonchuck, the Soviet representative, said that the time has arrived for the Council to do more than merely warn and take concrete action against Israel. He said that the USSR will support sanctions against Israel and that the Council must this time take effective steps to prevent Israeli aggression.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned that the Arab states are working on a draft resolution that may be presented tomorrow to the Council. It was also learned that the non-aligned members of the Council were meeting to discuss the issue even before today’s session started. Observers here do not expect the Council meeting to last more than a few days.