WASHINGTON (Aug. 21)
The 128-member General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) today was represented as likely to penalize Israel in Rome next week because the Israelis intercepted and forced down a Lebanese airliner Aug. 10.
American sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Assembly by a simple majority could adopt the penalties similar to those imposed on South Africa in 1971 and Portugal earlier this year, not on aviation grounds but “on strictly political grounds.” South Africa was condemned for its apartheid policy and Portugal for its colonial rule.
“The Arab nations and their allies can easily command such a majority in ICAO to force such a decision,” a source said. The penalties, it was said, could deprive Israel from attending ICAO meetings and receiving ICAO documents and communications except those specifically required by ICAO conventions such as those involving the safety of aircraft and location of signals.
The effect would be to keep Israel out of the regional planning sessions for air navigation and specialized and technical activities conducted by ICAO in specific areas. However, Israel could still participate in the ICAO assembly on worldwide technical matters.
ICAO, however, cannot expel a member country unless the United Nations General Assembly has recommended it or the General Assembly itself has expelled a state. This has never happened, and it is assumed that the United States would not allow any move to expel Israel. The U.S. had objected to proposals for such action against Portugal and South Africa. ICAO is an agency of the United Nations.
U.S. FOUGHT OFF HARSHER RESOLUTION
At the ICAO council session in Montreal, which was held behind closed doors for four hours yesterday, the U.S. apparently fought off a harsher action against Israel. The JTA was informed that the U.S. representative, George Wolfe, argued strongly that the council must conform substantively to the Security Council action against Israel on Aug. 15. The UN body unanimously condemned Israel but did not apply sanctions.
Lebanon, which had presented the action to the ICAO council as it did to the Security Council, argued in the ICAO forum for stiffer penalties, but Wolfe insisted on modification to which Lebanon acceded to the point where the resolution was acceptable to the U.S., U.S. sources told the JTA. Wolfe is the Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission at ICAO and Air Navigation Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.