UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 15)
The Security Council adopted unanimously late this afternoon a resolution condemning Israel for its interception of a Lebanese jetliner and warning that if this type of act is repeated the Council “will consider taking adequate steps to enforce this resolution.”
The resolution, sponsored jointly by Britain and France, also called on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to consider the Council action when discussing adequate measures to safeguard international civil aviation against such incidents. The ICAO general assembly is scheduled to convene Aug. 28 in Rome. The resolution also told Israel to “desist from any and all acts that violate Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The resolution stated that the Council was “gravely concerned that such an act carried out by Israel, a member of the UN, constitutes a serious interference with international civil aviation…” and “…could jeopardize the lives and safety of passenger and crew.” The resolution also charged Israel with violating Lebanese sovereignty and territorial integrity, and with the violation of the 1949 Lebanese-Israeli armistice, the Council’s cease-fire resolution of 1967, the provisions of the UN Charter, the international conventions on civil aviation and “the principles of international law and morality.”
WILL CONTINUE ANTI-TERRORIST STRUGGLE
Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, said after the vote that the resolution was “the customary one-sided text this organ is producing on the Middle East.” He said the Council has never considered “the murders of Israeli children, men and women.”
The government of Israel, he declared, “will continue its struggle against Arab terrorism with determination and unswerving firmness.” Tekoah asserted that the Israeli government “will continue to protect the lives of its citizens. It will give no quarter to the ruthless killer of the innocent. It will pursue them and strike at them until mankind is rid of this bloodthirsty savagery.”
The Israeli diplomat said the UN “is unable to cope with international terror in general and with Arab terrorism in particular.” He observed that Council members are among countries that have refused to try terrorists or have released convicted terrorists. Tekoah warned that terrorist groups harbored in Lebanon and other Arab states must be eliminated. He reminded the Council that when Israel appealed for action against terrorist attacks the result was helplessness on the part of the Council.
U.S. TO OPPOSE ILLEGAL INTERFERENCE
John Scall, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, commented after the vote that he didn’t know if the resolution will prevent further such actions. “I pray that it will,” he said, adding that the U.S. will continue to oppose illegal interference with international civil aviation. “The fact that this resolution confines itself to expressing the Council’s condemnation of a specific incident should serve as no comfort to anyone contemplating illegal acts of violence or terrorism,” Scali stated. He added that the U.S. vote to condemn Israel in no way represented a change in “my government’s views on the problems and possibilities for a peaceful solution in the Middle East.”
Lebanon’s Ambassador Edouard Ghorra, thanking the Council for the unanimous vote, said he would have preferred a stronger resolution but was satisfied that the Council’s action represents international public opinion. He said he regarded Tekoah’s remarks as another statement of defiance by Israel of the Security Council.
Vasily S. Safronchuk, the Soviet Union’s representative, said he too preferred a stronger resolution but hoped the Council action will be useful if it mobilized world public opinion against aggression. He said Israel has isolated herself by trying to dominate the Middle East.
Earlier in the day Ambassador Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru said Israel’s interception of the Lebanese airliner could not be regarded as a case of legitimate self-defense, as defined in the UN Charter. Panama’s representative, Prof, Didimo Rios said the Israeli action endangered lives of those aboard the airliner and was an example of what had been defined by the Ad Hoc Committee on International Terrorism as a form of “state terrorism.” The two Latin American representatives on the 15-member Council were the only speakers during a brief 15-minute morning session.