JERUSALEM (Jan. 27)
The Foreign Ministry issued a statement this morning praising the United States’ veto of the Security Council’s draft resolution as “an important contribution to the preservation of stability in the region and to the advancement of negotiations and peace efforts.”
The statement, released here before dawn as soon as the results of the voting were known, took note of the fact that Britain, Sweden and Italy abstained and thus had “not lent their hands” to the draft “which, had it been passed, would have irreparably shaken the only agreed basis for any settlement as expressed in Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.”
AFFIRMATIONS NOTED WITH SORROW
The statement “noted with sorrow” that “this harmful move obtained the support of such friendly states as France, Japan, Panama and Rumania.” The latter country was one of the six sponsoring states of the draft measure that demanded Israel’s withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The others, which, along with the Soviet Union France and Japan voted for the resolution were Pakistan, Tanzania, Panama, Guyana and Benin (formerly Dahomey). China and Libya did not participate in the voting.
The Foreign Ministry’s statement asserted that the aim of the draft resolution had been, in effect, to abrogate Resolutions 242 and 338 “and thus to advance the aims of the Syrian-PLO conspiracy to foil the negotiating process by abandoning the principle of negotiation and agreement between equal parties.” The statement said that Israel’s decision to boycott the Security Council debate which began Jan. 12 was vindicated by the events of the debate itself.
Israel held firm to the view that the Security Council and its resolutions could not be a substitute for negotiations under Resolutions 242 and 338. The Foreign Ministry statement ended with a call to reconvene the Geneva conference “in its original format and under the original letter of invitation.”
VETO SERVES U.S., ISRAELI INTERESTS
In a radio interview, Foreign Minister Yigal Allon also expressed appreciation for the U.S. veto. He noted that it served American as well as Israeli interests in that it had blocked the Soviet-backed Syrian-PLO tactic at the UN. He acknowledged that it was “not easy” for the U.S. to find itself isolated, but believed that the U.S. would continue to oppose the hard-line Arabs in their efforts to undermine the negotiating process.
Israel, for its part, he said, must continue to call for the reconvening of Geneva so that if the conference fails to reconvene, the blame would squarely fall upon the Arab extremists who refuse to attend it under its original terms of reference.
The general feeling among observers here was that the Council debate turned out better for Israel than predicted. Although a U.S. veto was assured by the one-sided, hard-line nature of the draft proposed by the Arabs and only slightly modified by the Third World states. Israel was concerned that support for the draft by America’s allies would give the PLO a moral victory.
Of the Western allies, only Britain was expected to abstain. The addition of Italy and Sweden to the abstention column was therefore regarded as a plus and a “ray of light” in the bleak proceedings of the Council. On the other hand, France and Japan were perceived here as having moved even further toward a pro-Arab position.
(At the UN, Israel’s Ambassador Chaim Herzog applauded the American veto in a brief statement issued after the vote. He called the U.S. action “an important contribution toward stability in the Middle East.” However, he found it deplorable that states friendly to Israel had confirmed a resolution that, in effect, was aimed at negating Resolutions 242 and 338. The U.S. veto was also praised by David M. Blumberg, president of B’nai B’rith and Bertram H. Gold, executive vice-president of the American Jewish Committee.)