JERUSALEM (Dec. 7)
Foreign Minister Yigal Allon today vigorously defended the draft resolution Israel introduced to the UN General Assembly yesterday calling for resumption of the Geneva conference “without delay” with the participation of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the two co-chairmen, the U.S. and the USSR.
But he confirmed what other sources said here earlier that Israel would withdraw the resolution if amendments distorting its intent were brought to a vote. Such resolutions were introduced yesterday by India, Sri Lanka and Yugoslavia and similar ones may be submitted by other countries.
Allon made his statement on a radio interview as controversy mounted here over the strategic value of Israel’s surprise initiative. Its condemnation by the Likud opposition was expected. But the sharpest criticism was expressed by Israel’s former Ambassador to the UN, Yosef Tekoah, now president of Ben Gurion University in Beersheba.
Tekoah contended that by initiating the proposal, Israel abandoned a basic principle–that the General Assembly, which has consistently adopted anti-Israel resolutions in recent years, was not an acceptable international forum for such a move. But now Israel has given it a “kosher” certificate, he said.
ISSUE IS DIPLOMATIC, NOT THEOLOGICAL
Allon responded that the matter was not theological–merely diplomatic. “We don’t boycott the UN.” he said. “It is a fact that we are still in. There is no rule that says that by rejecting anti-Israel resolutions in the General Assembly we boycott the organization and once we initiate a proposal we abolish the boycott. Nobody has developed a strategy that means Israel should not originate suggestions.”
He added that “Each situation should be considered per se. The great achievement of the Israeli draft resolution was that vis-a-vis the Arab peace offensive which is not ineffective, we clarified Israel’s suggestion to go to Geneva.”
ISRAEL’S MOVE SEEN AS SUCCESSFUL
Allon said he was convinced that the Israeli move was successful. He said that UN Ambassador Chaim Herzog had reported to him by telephone last night that after the resolution was submitted “many came to praise the Israeli move, including the Ambassador of the U.S.” Allon said he did not think the matter had justified coordination with the U.S. at the ministerial level. He said that Herzog showed the text of the draft to U.S. Ambassador William Scranton who “praised the initiative and, I believe, reported to Washington.”
Reacting to news reports from Washington. Allon said he did not know if Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger was disappointed by Israel’s move. “If Kissinger is angry, then I am sorry, but I don’t change my mind,” Allon said. He said he was confident that if the resolution had been allowed to remain intact, without pro-Arab amendments, the U.S. would have voted for it.
RESOLUTION HAS NO JUSTIFICATION
Tekoah, a severe critic of the UN, said on a radio interview today that he deeply regretted Israel’s action. He said that Israel has always argued that the General Assembly was not morally capable of making decisions on the Middle East conflict and now “we gave a ‘kosher’ certificate to the General Assembly.” He termed the initiative “a drastic change in the basic policy of the State of Israel toward the UN” and insisted that there was no justification for Israel to have enhanced the General Assembly’s prestige by introducing its resolution.
Tekoah added that it should have been clear from the start that Israel would have to withdraw the proposal. Asked if he did not think the resolution was justified as a response to the peace offensive of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Tekoah said the state should not sacrifice its basic policies for the sake of propaganda.
INITIATIVE ORIGINATED WITH ALLON
It was learned here that the Israeli initiative originate with Allon as a response to the Arab peace offensive. Allon realized the complication involved in reaching a decision when the General Assembly sums up its Middle East debate later this week and decided that Israel would issue a “simple and clear” call for resumption of the Geneva peace talks in their original form, sources said.
Accordingly, he conferred by telephone with Herzog and afterwards drafted the proposal which was presented to Premier Yitzhak Rabin. Friendly countries were informed of the impending move and asked to support it. The resolution, believed to has the first ever initiated by Israel in the General Assembly calls for the resumption of the Geneva conference without preconditions and with the participation of the original invitees. It makes no mention of the PLO.
The amendments offered by pro-Arab states call for PLO participation in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 337 adopted last Nov. 10. Israel called for resumption of the Geneva conference on the basis of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The amendments. it was said here, would serve only Arab interests and would not encourage resumption of the Geneva conference.