JERUSALEM (Aug. 30)
Official sources condemned as unbalanced and one-sided the resolution adopted today in Rome by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) condemning Israel for interception of a Lebanese airliner Aug. 10 and forcing it to land at an Israeli air-base.
The 128-member ICAO general assembly adopted the resolution by a vote of 87-1 with four abstentions. Israel cast the lone negative vote and Ireland, Thailand, Singapore and Bolivia abstained on the resolution which also warned that if Israel repeats the action the ICAO will take measures against her. Today’s condemnation followed similar actions in the United Nations Security Council and the ICAO council in Montreal.
In condemning the ICAO’s resolution today, official sources stressed that the convention did not take into account the background of the interception, nor did the delegates pay attention to the protection given by Arab states to the terrorists who endanger the security of civil aviation. Several Arab countries violated the international law concerning civil aviation many times, the sources pointed out, but no action has ever been taken against them.
However, the general belief in Jerusalem tonight was that the Arab delegations in Rome failed in their efforts to impose sanctions on Israel. Many Western countries, headed by the United States, convinced the Arabs to moderate their draft resolution.
(In Washington a State Department authority stated that the lesson to be learned from the ICAO’s action “is that we must go forward to find means to counter the wave of international terrorism and hijacking, but we must do so within the rule of law.”)
SANCTION MOVES AVERTED BY DISUNITY
William Roundtree, the United States representative, in supporting the resolution said it underscores “the determination of all of us” not to condone such actions and for upholding respect of international law. The Arab states earlier threatened to walk out when Britain sought to modify the Lebanese resolution to read that the ICAO will consider actions in the future rather than that it will act.
Prior to the vote, Arab efforts to have the ICAO impose sanctions on Israel ran into a stumbling block, according to informed sources at the meeting. They said differences between moderate Arab states such as Lebanon and the more hawkish regimes such as Libya prevented the Arabs from forming a united front on the issue. There was an additional difficulty in that a censure motion against Israel would have required a two-thirds majority. Many observers said this was unlikely and the Arabs apparently prefer not to risk the embarrassment of failure by pushing for sanctions. (See late story P.3.)