UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 16)
Four anti- Israel resolutions were overwhelmingly adopted by the General Assembly today. Three of them condemned Israel’s practices in the occupied Arab territories, its establishment of settlements there and its alleged mistreatment of the Arab population. The fourth demanded that Israel pay compensation to Syria for its alleged destruction of the Golan Heights town of Kuneitra.
Addressing the Assembly before the voting, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Chaim Herzog, charged that the draft resolutions “obscure the truth instead of highlighting it” and that they “only serve to prolong the dispute instead of resolving it.”
The resolutions were based on the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israel’s Practices Affecting Human Rights of the Population of the Territories Occupied by Israel. Israel has refused to recognize or cooperate with the special committee which consists of Senegal, Yugoslavia and Sri Lanka, countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel.
NATURE OF THE RESOLUTIONS
The first resolution was adopted by a vote of 129-3 with four abstentions. The negative votes were cast by Israel, the U.S. and Haiti. It strongly deplored Israeli measures altering “the demographic or geographic” character of the territories occupied since 1967 and declared invalid Israel’s change of the legal status of Jerusalem and measures taken by Israel for the “expropriation” of Arab land.
The second resolution was approved by 134-0 with Israel and Haiti abstaining. It reaffirmed that the Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in wartime should apply to all territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.
The third resolution deplored Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the special committee or allow it access to the territories. It also condemned Israel for its policies of “annexation and settlement” and for alleged interference with religious freedom in the territories. The vote was 100-5 with 30 abstentions. The countries opposed were Israel, the U.S., Nicaragua, Haiti and Costa Rica.
The fourth resolution strongly condemned Israel for its alleged destruction of Kuneitra and supported Syria’s demand for compensation. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 97-3 with 36 abstentions. Only Israel, Nicaragua and Costa Rica were opposed. The U.S. abstained.
HERZOG REJECTS CHARGES
Herzog, in his pre-vote address, defended Israel’s policies in the administered territories. “The truth is” he said, “that in the administration have created the foundation from which to advance further toward the solution of the Palestinian-Arab problem on a basis of growing understanding.”
He declared that Israel rejects “out of hand” all condemnations in the third resolution and rejects the thesis that the establishment of settlements is an obstacle to peace. “An obstacle to peace is not what Israel is doing after having waited for well nigh three decades. The obstacle to peace is Arab refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s right to sovereignty in its ancient homeland,” he said, and the refusal by the Arabs to negotiate with Israel.
Referring to the specific charges about Kuneitra, Herzog noted that it had been a front line town for almost six years during which two wars were fought over it in addition to the damage that occurred as a result of the war of attrition between the two wars. He said damages were also inflicted on Israeli cities and villages as a result of Syrian operations and shelling. But while Israel repaired the damage, the Syrians, hoping to score “a propaganda point,” did not repair the damages inflicted on Kuneitra, Herzog said.