UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 19)
Consultations continued today among the nine member nations of the European Common Market on an Arab-sponsored draft resolution calling for independence and sovereignty for the Palestinian people and their right to return to their homes and property. The omission of any reference to the future status of Israel in the draft, or to Security Council Resolution 242 which since 1967 has been considered here to be the basis of any future Mideast peace settlement, has caused considerable concern among the West European delegations.
The draft, which has the support of the non-aligned bloc as well as the Arabs, was unofficially circulated several days ago. The U.S. delegation has not yet been presented with a copy but is aware of its contents. The strategy of the Arab states apparently, is to gain West European support for the draft before approaching the U.S. The European nations have indicated that they could not vote for a document that explicitly calls for the dismemberment of Israel. But if that intention is deliberately left vague or implicit, some European states might vote for the resolution or at least abstain, some observers here felt today.
VOTE EXPECTED THURSDAY OR FRIDAY
The Arab delegations have made no secret of the fact that they are out to garner the largest possible majority for the Palestine resolution. Their goal was reported to be 120 out of the 138 General Assembly votes. Last month’s resolution Inviting the PLO to participate in the Palestine debate was adopted by an overwhelming 105-4 vote. PLO spokesman Shafik Al-Hout said today that the Arabs wanted a very strong pro-Palestine resolution but were prepared to modify it to obtain a larger majority.
A spokesman for the British delegation said the resolution’s proposals have been transmitted to London for study but otherwise declined to comment on it. He confirmed, however, that consultations are continuing with a view that Israel’s continued territorial sovereignty and integrity must be included in the resolution and also reference to Resolution 242.
The Palestine debate is expected to continue until Friday although it was originally scheduled to end Thursday. A vote is expected late Thursday or Friday after which the various delegates will make speeches to explain their votes.
Meanwhile. Egypt, which was expected to sound a voice of relative moderation in the Arab camp, proclaimed all-out support for the Palestinian demands today. The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Samih Anwar, told the General Assembly this morning that his country believes the Palestinians may resort to “all means” to obtain and defend their rights. He accused Israel of trying to create the circumstances that would enable it to launch a new war. He said that Egypt would not hesitate to join the other Arab countries in the face of Israeli aggression.