UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 24)
The General Assembly voted Friday 89-8 with 37 abstentions for a resolution reaffirming the “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine” to “self-determination without external interference” and the right “to national independence and sovereignty.” The resolution also reaffirmed “the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return.”
Those voting against the resolution were: Israel, the United States, Bolivia,Chile, Costa Rica. Iceland, Nicaragua and Norway.
Abstentions were cast by: Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark. Ecuador. El Salvador, Fiji. Finland, France. West Germany. Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Ireland, Italy. Japan. Laos, Luxembourg. Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Singapore, Swaziland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and Venezuela.
During the course of the debate which began Oct. 13 with a speech by Palestine Liberation chief Yasir Arafat, delegates representing the nine European Common Market countries and Canada asserted they would either vote against or abstain on any resolution which did not deal with Israel’s future status, or which failed to include a reference to Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The resolution did not refer to any of these.
The resolution was denounced by Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah. The Palestinians at the UN, however, expressed disappointment that the resolution failed to get 120 votes in favor, the target they had set early in the debate. The number of those voting in favor fell far short from the vote of 105-4 in favor of inviting Arafat to address the Assembly, In addition, several African nations abstained in Friday’s vote.
REGAIN RIGHTS ‘BY ALL MEANS’
The resolution also emphasized that “full respect for and the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are indispensable for the solution of the question of Palestine” “recognized that the Palestinian people is a principal party in the establishment of a Just and durable peace in the Middle East”: “appeal to all states and international organizations to extend their support to the Palestinian people in its struggle to restore its rights in accordance with the (United Nations). Charter”; and “requests the Secretary General to establish contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization on all matters concerning the question of Palestine.”
The operative paragraph that is of most concern to Israel and the Jewish people is the one which grants the recognition “of the right of the Palestinian people to regain it rights by all means in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” The phrase, “by all means,” Is taken as the code words for continued terrorism and aggression against Israel. The resolution was supported by all the Arab states, the Soviet Union, Soviet bloc countries, China, Spain, Portugal and many Third World countries.
A SODOM AND GOMORRAH OF VALUES
Addressing the Assembly after the vote, Tekoah termed the Palestine debate “a Sodom and Gomorrah of ideals and values. Even while it was proceeding. Israeli civilians were being murdered in Beisan by PLO agents.” He told the Assembly that “the orgy of hatred and abuse now reaching its climax must raise grave questions about the future destiny of our organization. By trampling to dust its own Charter, by submitting Itself to violence and savagery, by hailing lawlessness. Inhumanity and hypocrisy, the United Nations has plunged into an abyss from which there is no exit.”
Furthermore, Tekoah declared, “these are sad days for the United Nations. These are days of degradation, and disgrace, of surrender and humiliation for the international community.” He stated that Israel “will not be deterred from its course” and that “at no time has the people of Israel felt more certain of the Justice of its cause than now. at no time has it been more steadfast and more united in warding off the assaults of the forces of darkness than today.” Israel, he added, “has no intention to be replaced by the Nazis of the Middle East. The Jewish people will not be swallowed up by the PLO barbarity.”
PERMANENT OBSERVER STATUS FOR PLO
The Assembly Friday also approved a second resolution by a vote of 99-17 with 19 abstentions giving the PLO permanent observer status and the right to take part in international meetings under UN auspices. This resolution, too. made no reference to Israel or its right to exist nor to Resolutions 242 and 338. The United States. Israel. Canada. Britain and most West European nations voted against this resolution. France. Japan and some Latin American countries abstained.
Permanent observer status now is enjoyed only by Switzerland, the Vatican. Monaco. North and South Korea and South Vietnam, which are members of UN specialized agencies. The Palestinians at the UN, along with Arab countries. indicated after the vote on this resolution that they would press to have other “national liberation” movements accorded similar permanent observer status.
In another action Thursday night, a resolution declaring that Arabs and others “under Israeli occupation” were entitled to compensation for the use of their natural resources was approved by a 95-2 vote with 28 abstentions in the General Assembly’s Economic Committee. The resolution also asked Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to report on “the adverse economic effects on the Arab states and peoples of the repeated Israeli aggression and continued occupation of their territories.” The two votes against the resolution were cast by the United States and Israel.