Menu JTA Search

Debate on Palestine Issue Begins: Herzog Lashes PLO for Blocking Peaceful Settlement in the Mideast

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Israel spoke out vigorously today against an anticipated resolution by the Palestine Liberation Organization aimed at blocking a peaceful settlement in the Middle East and easing the way for the ultimate destruction of Israel.

Addressing the opening session of the General Assembly’s debate on the Palestine issue which is expected to continue for the entire week, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Chaim Herzog, declared, “You can either take your place in history as having voted for a negotiating process leading toward peace or as having voted for the PLO policy calling for the destruction of Israel and rejecting any process of negotiation or compromise out of hand.”

Herzog, who followed the PLO representative Farouk Kaddoumi on the rostrum, said that Israel’s unqualified opposition to the PLO and its proposals did not imply that it does not recognize the existence of a Palestine Arab problem. In that connection he cited the remarks of Israel’s Foreign Minister Yigal Allon to the General Assembly last month that Israel was aware of the Palestinian problem. He reiterated that it was Israel’s view that the problem should be solved in the context of a peace settlement between Israel and Jordan.

(See separate story on Kaddoumi’s address.)

PLO SEEKS TO DESTROY ISRAEL

Herzog said that the PLO was calling for Israel’s expulsion from the UN, the imposition of sanctions against it “and in fact, every device calculated to destroy a member nation.” He asked, “Is there any country represented in this hall that would agree to treat with a body whose sole declared purpose was to destroy it and whose aim was to draw concessions so that its destruction would be so much easier?”

The Israeli envoy said that every word in the proposals of the PLO “is designed for one purpose and one purpose only, namely to block and obstruct any move which would be founded on a recognition of Israel’s right to exist and which would envisage an overall solution of the problems in the Middle East based on compromise and mutual recognition.”

Pointing out that the PLO objected strongly to the interim accord between Israel and Egypt, Herzog said that agreement “reflects the only approach which gives any hope for an advance toward peace while the PLO is the proponent of a resolution for the destruction of Israel.”

Herzog rejected as ludicrous Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s call on the General Assembly last week to accord the PLO full representative status at the Geneva peace conference on an equal footing with all other participants. He noted that the Geneva conference was created within the framework of Security Council Resolution 338 which bases itself on Resolution 242.

“This resolution is unreservedly rejected by the PLO.” Herzog stated. “Indeed, not even the government of Syria has accepted Security Council Resolution 242. A specious argument put forward to the effect that the presence of the PLO at the Geneva conference would in itself imply an acceptance of 242 and recognition of the State of Israel is completely invalid when seen against the realities of the situation.” Herzog said. He noted furthermore that the question of participation in the Geneva conference is dependent upon the agreement of all states that are parties in the conference.

TRAGIC RESULTS IN LEBANON

With respect to the PLO’s demand for a secular state in Palestine in which Moslems. Christians and Jews would live together, Herzog asked. “It they believe so much in democracy and secularism, why has no democratic secular state

Referring to the General Assembly’s built-in majority that automatically opposed Israel. Herzog observed that at least 30 percent of the Assembly’s time is devoted to a small country (Israel) of three million people. “This Assembly will live in infamy,” he said, because while Lebanon is bleeding to death the General Assembly is becoming “an instrument of political warfare against Israel.”

The Israeli envoy is lobbying vigorously against the PLO proposals. On Friday he appeared before the representatives of the nine European Common Market countries to urge them not to support anti-Israel resolutions during the Palestine debate. He will make similar representations tomorrow at a forum of Latin American countries. Meanwhile, Israel has registered to speak almost every day during the course of the Palestine debate.

NEXT STORY