Debate on Palestine Issue Begins: Tekoah Condemns UN for Inviting Terrorists Who Seek Israel’s Demis

Yosef Tekoah, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly today during the opening session of the first Assembly debate on the Palestine Question, that Israel would not recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization, condemned the UN for inviting the terror organization, and declared that Israel would continue to pursue the PLO murderers who, he said, seek to annihilate Israel.

Asserting that “today, bloodshed and bestiality have come here to collect the spoils of the United Nations’ surrender.” the Israeli envoy said the real reason that special consideration was being given to the Palestinian question in the Assembly was “the continuous exploitation of this question as a weapon of Arab belligerency against Israel.”

The first speaker today was Yasir Arafat, head of the PLO, who spoke for more than an hour, A spokesman for the Israeli delegation, which boycotted the opening session, expressed outrage over the postponement of Arafat’s speech from 10:30. a.m. to noon today. The spokesman said the 90 minute delay was a deliberate attempt by General Assembly President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Algeria’s Algeria’s Foreign Minister, “to dramatize the appearance of Arafat and prevent Israel from presenting its case.” After Arafat’s speech, the Assembly adjourned until 3:30 p.m. forcing a delay in Tekoah’s presentation, following Syria and Dahomey on today’s speaker’s list

ARAFAT CALLS FOR REPLACING ISRAEL

Arafat received tremendous ovations before and after he spoke and was frequently interrupted by applause. He was escorted to and from the podium by the UN Chief of Protocol, Sinan Korle, of Turkey, an honor normally reserved for visiting heads of state or government. Grinning broadly, Arafat clasped his hands over his head in a boxer’s sign of victory.

Arafat’s speech, delivered in Arabic, was uncompromising, unconciliatory and without any indication of moderation in the PLO’s aims. He said bluntly that the PLO seeks what he repeatedly called a democratic secular Palestine state to replace Israel, and that he was seeking UN and world support for that aim. Calling Israel a racist and exclusivist state, he denied animosity toward the Jewish people and professed respect for their faith.

He contended that the Palestinian Arabs not “uprooted” in 1948 were refugees in their own land, treated as second class citizens by Israel and subjected to all forms of racial discrimination. He rejected charges of terrorism against the PLO, asserting that those “who call us terrorists wish to prevent world public opinion from discovering the truth about us and from seeing the Justice on our faces.” He said he had come to the UN “bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

U.S. officials responded with “no comment” when asked their reaction to Arafat’s speech. It was learned, however, that members of the U.S. delegation had reservations about the extravagant showmanship surrounding Arafat’s appearance here. It was also learned that U.S. Ambassador John Scali would not attend an Egyptian-sponsored reception for Arafat at the Egyptian mission at the UN tonight, No reason was stated.

TEKOAH: ARAFAT PREFERS NAZI METHODS

Tekoah devoted much of his speech to demonstrate that geographically and ethnically, Jordan is Palestine, adding that “without the Palestinians, Jordan is a state without people.” He called “false” assertions that the Palestinians had been deprived of a state of their own or “uprooted” from their national homeland. Most Palestinians he said, live in a Palestinian state and “the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs are citizens of that Palestinian state.”

The Israeli diplomat said that if some problems of the national identity of the Palestinians required solutions, they could be dealt with in the context of negotiations between Israel and “the Palestinian state of Jordan.”

Quoting a variety of statements from PLO sources, Tekoah said repeatedly that the PLO’s ultimate goal was the destruction of Israel and its replacement by an Arab state. He said “Arafat, today, prefers the Nazi method. The Nazis killed millions of Jews in death camps….Arafat kills Jewish children and seeks to strangle the Jewish State under the slogan of creating a democratic Palestine.”

KILLERS HAVE NO PLACE IN DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS

Tekoah declared that the killers of Israeli athletes in Munich and children in Maalot had no place in international diplomatic efforts and that Israel Intended to “see to It that they have no place in them.” He warned that an expected Assembly resolution responding to PLO demands would “encourage the extremists in the Arab world” who call for “continued war” against Israel.

“Israel will pursue the PLO murderers until justice is meted out to them,” Tekoah said. “it will continue to take action against their organization and against their bases until a definitive end is put to their atrocities. The blood of Jewish children will not be shed with impunity. Israel will not permit the establishment of PLO authority in any part of Palestine. The PLO will not be forced on the Palestinian Arabs. It will not be tolerated by the Jews of Israel.”

Tekoah said the question was whether there “should be peace between Israel and its eastern-neighbor” or whether an attempt be made “to establish a PLO base to the east of Israel from which the terrorist campaign against the Jewish State’s existence could be pursued.”

The Israeli envoy said that his government’s decision of July 21 declared that it would work towards negotiations for a peace agreement with Jordan and that in the Jordanian-Palestinian Arab state east of Israel the specific identity of the Jordanians and Palestinians will find expression in peace and good-neighborliness with Israel. “This.” Tekoah declared, “remains Israel’s policy.”

The choice before the Assembly, he said, was between “understanding and continued conflict in the Middle East.” He said Israel was ready to take “the road of peace” but he warned that if the Arabs “espouse continued hostility and aggression, the Arab states will find Israel equally ready.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the UN said that U.S. officials have had contacts with the PLO “on the working level” to “discuss security and logistical arrangements” for the PLO presence. The spokesman said he did not exclude the possibility of “more specific type of contact with the PLO. A UN spokesman said that Secretary General Kurt Waldheim met with Arafat for a half hour before Arafat addressed the Assembly. The spokesman said they discussed the Palestine Question.

NEXT STORY