Arabs May Offer Moderate Draft Resolution in Security Council Which the U.S. May Find Difficult to V
Menu JTA Search

Arabs May Offer Moderate Draft Resolution in Security Council Which the U.S. May Find Difficult to V

Download PDF for this date

Prospects increased today that the Arabs and their supporters will come up with a relatively moderate draft resolution in the current Security Council debate on the Middle East which the U.S. would find difficult to veto on grounds that it impairs progress toward peace and which, according to sources here, is aimed at creating a rift between Israel and the U.S.

The anticipated resolution would ask for recognition of the “national rights of the Palestinians” and thereby open the way for PLO participation at a reconvened Geneva conference, the sources said.


Meanwhile, an Israeli official confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that Security Council President Salim Ahmed Salim of Tanzania has been in contact with Israel’s UN Ambassador Chaim Herzog urging him to participate in the Council debate which Israel is boycotting because of the presence of the PLO. It was learned that Herzog and Salim may meet during the debate to discuss the issue. But Israeli sources here insisted today that Israel is determined not to attend the sessions.

The Council voted 11-1 last night to seat the PLO delegation. The U.S. cast the only negative vote. Britain, France and Italy abstained. The vote was procedural and not subject to veto. The delegates who favored admitting the PLO to participation with the rights of a UN member state except the right to vote, explained today that their position was based on what they regarded as “precedents” for such action. U.S. Ambassador Daniel P.Moynihan, however, insisted that the seating of the PLO was “illegal” because the PLO was not a state, did not recognize Israel and did not accept Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis of peace negotiations.


Shortly before midnight last night two bombs were discovered at the Iraqi UN Mission. Police sources indicated they were similar to the three pipe bombs discovered at the entrance to a subway service tunnel under the UN library building yesterday morning. The two bombs at the Iraqi Mission were found after an anonymous caller telephoned WCBS-TV at 11:08 p.m. that there were bombs at the Mission. The caller, a man, identified himself as a representative of the “Jewish Underground Army.”

More than an hour later, CBS radio received a call from a man who said he represented the “Jewish Armed Resistance Strike Movement” of the Jewish Defense League. The caller, apparently unaware that the bombs had been discovered and dismantled, said, according to CBS leaders, “We would like to accept responsibility for the bombing of the Iraqi Mission.” He also said “We would also like to say it is quite possible several more bombs are placed around the city. We are not saying this is definite but the UN had better watch out.”

The bombs at the Iraqi Mission were found propped against a door leading to the Mission’s basement entrance. According to police, they were wrapped in black plastic sheeting and were concealed in a shopping bag. Seven persons in the building at the time were evacuated. Meanwhile, a UN spokesman announced that three more bomb threats were telephoned to the UN last night and this morning.


Intensive private consultations continued here this morning as the Security Council prepared to resume its Middle East debate at 3 p.m. this afternoon. The Council sessions are expected to be presented shortly with either amendments to Resolutions 242 and 338 or additional provisions which will call not only for the recognition of Palestinian rights but for PLO participation at Geneva.

The new proposals may also demand Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied territories within one year and a return to its pre-June, 1967 borders under penalty of UN sanctions. Still another possible resolution is one calling for the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, sources said. If the U.S. finds itself unable to veto all of these possible resolutions. Israel would be more diplomatically isolated than ever before, which, apparently, is the Arab aim, the sources said.

The U.S. has said it would veto any resolution that it sees as impairing progress toward peace. It may thus block a measure calling for Israel’s evacuation from all occupied territories since Resolution 242 does not make such a demand, at least as it is interpreted by the U.S. and other Western countries and Israel. It calls only for Israel’s eventual withdrawal from “territories” within the framework of a peace settlement.

The resolution also does not mention the Palestinians but calls for a just settlement of the refugee problem in general. A provision specifically referring to Palestinian rights may, however, be acceptable to the U.S. since Washington has acknowledged the existence of such rights although it refuses to recognize the PLO as representative of the Palestinian people.


Moynihan declared last night that “the PLO is not a state, does not administer a defined territory, does not have the attributes of a state and does not claim to be a state.” He said that while the U.S. acknowledges that a settlement must take into account the “legitimate interests” of the Palestinians, the definition of these interests was a matter for negotiations. He said, however, that the Council was eroding its influence by seating the PLO just as the General Assembly eroded its prestige by its votes last year to condemn Zionism as racism.

However, delegates who supported seating the PLO cited three precedents. One was that the General Assembly’s Nov, 10 resolution stated that the PLO be a participant in all international forums on peace in the Middle East sponsored by the UN.

Another precedent they referred to was the Security Council’s Nov. 30 resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UN DOF) on the Golan Heights which also set up the Middle East debate that commenced yesterday. At that time, the then President of the Security Council, Soviet Ambassador Yakov Malik, stated that it was the consensus of the majority that the PLO be invited to participate in the debate.

The third precedent was the Dec. 4 session of the Security Council convened to debate the Dec. 2 Israeli air raids on terrorist strongholds in Lebanon to which the PLO was invited. Moynihan contended that these were ad hoc sessions that did not set any precedent for PLO participation in a formal Council debate on the Mideast. Moynihan also challenged Malik’s statement of the consensus of the majority as having no legal standing.


After last night’s vote, the PLO representative Farouk Kaddoumi took the speaker’s stand to attack Israel’s “imperialist Zionist” actions and denounce the U.S. for supporting Israel. He demanded that the Security Council recognize the “inalienable national rights” of the Palestinian people and reiterated the PLO “covenant” that calls for the replacement of Israel by a “secular democratic state” in all of Palestine. He reiterated the PLO’s rejection of Resolution 242 because it refers to refugees instead of Palestinian rights.

The Soviet Union stated in a letter to UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim last night that “the main result of the Security Council discussion of the situation in the Middle East must be the creation of the necessary conditions for the resumption and effective work of the Geneva conference.” The letter from Malik was a formal presentation to Waldheim of the Soviet Union’s communique issued in Moscow Jan. 9.

That communique stated that the Security Council must base its discussions on Resolutions 242 and 338 and also “should fully take into account those decisions of the UN General Assembly which relate directly to this question.” Assembly resolutions called, among other things, for PLO participation in all UN-sponsored Middle East peace forums and for the right of the Palestinians to “return to the homes and property from which they were uprooted.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund