UNITED NATIONS (Jul. 11)
The United States is expected to take a strong stand against international terrorism and possibly defend Israel’s rescue of hostages in Uganda during the Security Council debate on the Israeli operation which continues tomorrow morning.
This was indicated when Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger told a news conference in Washington yesterday that the U.S. has “no second thoughts” about President Ford’s message of congratulations which he sent to Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin July 4 after the Israeli forces returned with the rescued passengers and crew of the Air France plane. Ford’s message said: “The American people join me in expressing our great satisfaction that the passengers of the Air France flight seized earlier this week have been saved and a senseless act of terrorism thwarted.”
Kissinger also told the news conference that the U.S. will seek Security Council support for a strong resolution aimed at stamping out international terrorism. He said-if a consensus cannot be achieved then “we will put it forward on our own. The question of terrorism must be addressed. It is intolerable that innocent people are held hostage.”
The Secretary of State also told the news conference that the American position on the raid will be detailed by its Ambassador to the United Nations, William Scranton. Also scheduled to speak at the Council debate this week is West Germany which is reportedly ready to take the lead in fighting against terrorism when the General Assembly convenes in September.
HERZOG: ISRAEL IS NOT THE ACCUSED
The Security Council debate, which was scheduled at the request of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which wants Israel condemned for violating Ugandan sovereignty, opened Friday night with Israeli Ambassador Chaim Herzog declaring that Israel was not the accused but the accuser. Herzog charged Ugandan President Idi Amin with complicity in the hijacking episode and attacked nations who support or tolerate international terrorism.
Israel was not “in the dock” as the accused, Herzog told the Council. “On the contrary, I stand here as an accuser on behalf of the free and decent people in this world,” he said. “I stand here as an accuser of this world organization, which has been unable because of the machinations of the Arab delegates and their supporters to coordinate effective measures to combat the evil of world terrorism.”
Herzog said that “mankind will judge (the Security Council) by its behavior on this occasion because never before has the issue (of terrorism) been so clear-cut” as when Israel “recognized its duty to defend its nationals abroad.”
Ugandan Foreign Minister Juma Oris earlier urged the Council to condemn what he called “Israel’s barbaric, unprovoked, unwarranted aggression.” Oris also demanded full compensation from Israel for the loss of lives and property during the Israeli raid.
UGANDA’S COMPLICITY OUTLINED
But Herzog charged that Amin had “been in the conspiracy from the beginning.” He said when the plane landed in Uganda. It was surrounded by Ugandan troops accompanied by five armed Arab terrorists” who embraced and kissed the four hijackers and then joined in the guard duties and negotiations. He said Ugandan troops helped guard the plane to give the hijackers a rest.
Herzog also charged that Amin embraced the hijackers and that Ugandan troops gave weapons to the terrorists. He said the report by the first group of 100 freed hostages who were flown to France that Amin ordered and supervised the separation of Israeli and non-Israeli passengers made it apparent that the Israeli government had no alternative but to try to rescue the hostages itself.
“The weight of evidence before us reveals prior knowledge and active connivance on the part of the government of Uganda in this whole episode,” Herzog declared. The rescue operation was planned and executed by Israel “and we are proud of it.”
Herzog also accused Libya, a member of the Council, and the country in which the hijacked plane first landed before going to Uganda, of complicity. He said Libya “has acted as paymaster of international terrorist movements” and “it is a disgrace to this world organization that the representative of this world sponsor of terrorism is seated as a member of the Security Council, the purpose of which is to encourage the maintenance of international peace and security.”
Herzog said the hijackers were “Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists.” The terrorists had identified themselves as members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Herzog said was “one of several terrorist groups joined together to form the PLO.”
INCREASED CONCERN FOR MRS. BLOCH
The four-hour Council debate ended on a dramatic note which increased the concern for the safety of Mrs. Dora Bloch, the 75-year-old missing Israeli hijack victim. Oris, replying to a demand from Herzog that Uganda produce the woman, said that Mrs. Bloch was returned to Entebbe Airport from a hospital before the Israeli rescue mission.
Herzog, showing visible concern, declared that Oris’ claim was a “blatant untruth.” He said it “gives rise to very considerable concern” since a British representative in Uganda said he had visited Mrs. Bloch in the Uganda hospital last Sunday after the Israeli raid, and when he had returned an hour later with food was told she was gone. Kissinger in his news conference yesterday also said that Mrs. Bloch was removed from the hospital by two Ugandan policemen after the raid.
The British representative at the Council debate Friday said that Amin had met with British High Commissioner James Hennessy in Kampala Friday and that Britain would have no comments at the UN until the results of the Uganda meeting were announced. Hennessy was on his way back to London today.
Herzog in his prepared speech before the Council Friday challenged Uganda to produce Mrs. Bloch. “Here you have the unbelievable, macabre spectacle of a state waging a war against a 75-year-old ailing lady,” he said. “If the government of Uganda was not implicated (in the hijacking) let it now and forthwith produce Mrs. Bloch.”
Calling on the Council to act to save the woman, who holds both Israeli and British citi- zenship, Herzog said: “I ask my colleagues, African and others here, who are joined to condemn Israel for exercising its inherent right of self-defense, do you or do you not condone the horrifying behavior which is reflected in this act of chivalry on the part of President Amin against Mrs. Dora Bloch, aged 75? For once, have the courage of your convictions and speak out, or be damned by your own silence.”