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Mrs. Meir: Israel Will Continue to Defend Itself Despite Icao

The condemnation of Israel by the General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last Thursday was “not a disgrace for Israel,” Premier Golda Meir told the 250-member United Jewish Appeal delegation at a dinner in the Knesset last Friday. She told the delegation, which comprised the “Prime Minister’s Mission” to Israel, that the ICAO resolution, adopted by a vote of 87-1 with four abstentions and 36 countries not voting, and a similar resolution adopted by the ICAO’s council in Montreal a week earlier would not deter Israel from “using the right of self-defense like any other people.”

She termed both resolutions cynical and hypocritical and observed that it is precisely resolutions of this type that encourage the spread of terrorism. Mrs. Meir told the UJA delegation that governments which were responsible for kidnapping passengers from airliners had never been condemned. She referred to the kidnapping of Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella, Congo’s Premier Moise. Tshombe and Sudanese leaders who were later executed.

She explained that she had authorized the interception of the Lebanese airliner because Lebanon had become the hotbed of terrorism and because a number of terrorist leaders, including Dr. George Habash, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was believed to have been aboard the airliner. The Premier stated that Dr. Habash “planned the Munich massacre, the Lod Airport killings and the recent Athens Airport murders.”

She added that nothing happened to the passengers on the Lebanese airliner and asked: Is this the greatest act of terrorism today? Mrs. Meir recalled that Algeria was never condemned for detaining a hijacked El Al plane and its crew and passengers for a lengthy period. Nor, she added, was Libya condemned for giving a hero’s welcome to the terrorists who killed 11 Israeli athletes in Munich last Sept. and then hijacked a plane and forced its pilot to fly to Libya.

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