UNITED NATIONS (Apr. 16)
The Soviet Union unleashed a vitriolic attack against Israel today as the Security Council began its second day of debate on Lebanon’s complaint against Israel’s action last Friday. Yakov Malik, the Soviet Ambassador, denounced the “routine act of aggression against peace-loving Lebanon” and called on the Council not only to condemn but also to take “effective measures” against Israel. He also called on the United States to back off in its support of Israel.
As the debate continued today, and in all likelihood will continue tomorrow before a resolution is adopted, the U.S. continued to seek a “balanced” as opposed to a “one-sided resolution” and hinted that it would either veto or abstain from voting on a resolution condemning Israel without at the same time condemning Lebanon. The Arab-Soviet bloc and China continued to press for a harsh condemnation of Israel.
Some analysts noted that the Soviet Union may press for a tough resolution in order to reassure the Arab nations that its quest for detente will not lead it to abandon its Arab clients and in order to try to outflank China among the Arab and non-aligned nations. It is believed that the USSR, by pressing for a tough resolution, wants to warn the U.S. that its unilateral moves vis-a-vis Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s “shuttle diplomacy” will not be accepted. The USSR is still miffed at being out maneuvered in the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement and the current moves by Kissinger to help the Syrians and Israel to disengage.
Meanwhile, the Israeli-Lebanese issue over the massacre of 18 persons in Kiryat Shemona and Israel’s subsequent raid into southern Lebanon was overshadowed during yesterday’s debate by a new verbal clash between Israel and Egypt.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmy, addressing the Security Council last night accused Israel of aggression against Lebanon and warned that if Israel wants peace, it must stop forthwith all “irresponsible actions.” “Israel, before anyone else, must choose between war and peace.” Fahmy declared. But the Egyptian diplomat did not repeat in his formal statement the threat he made to newsmen here earlier in the day that Egypt would “strike” at Israel if it continued retaliatory action against Lebanon and Syria.
SHOCKED BY EGYPT’S DEFENSE OF MASSACRE
Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, exercising his right of reply, expressed “shock” that Fahmy had come “all the way from Cairo in order to explain away and to defend those who committed the barbaric massacre at Kiryat Shemona.” In his speech to the Security Council, Fahmy said the “sad events” at Kiryat Shemona had to be viewed in the perspective of Israeli “terrorism,” “aggression,” occupation and the denial of Palestinian rights over a period of 26 years.
Tekoah declared that it was regrettable that the representative of a country with which Israel recently signed the first agreement since the Oct. war should make such a pronouncement. “The Foreign Minister of Egypt found it appropriate to say here that Israel should choose between war and peace.” the Israeli envoy declared. “Israel chose peace 26 years ago when it called for peace with its Arab neighbors even while Egypt was leading an invasion of Israel,” Tekoah said.
Malik, in his statement this afternoon, stated that the Soviet Union “most categorically oppose(s) international terrorism.” Stating that the USSR “proceeds from a position of principle against acts of terrorism and against acts of violence which serve no positive purpose but entail the deaths of innocent people,” Malik then proceeded to condemn what he termed Israel’s “barbarous and piratical intrusions” against any state “on any pretext whatever.”