Behind the Headines Tough Time Ahead for Israel at UN
Menu JTA Search

Behind the Headines Tough Time Ahead for Israel at UN

Download PDF for this date

Israeli diplomats at the United Nations say that they expect “a very tough time for Israel” during the 32nd session of the General Assembly, which officially opens here Sept. 20. But the Israeli diplomats are quick to add that “Israel is planning to fight back” against the Arab offensive. They admit, however, that Israel is going to find herself in very “unpleasant situations” during the three-month-long Assembly and say they have no doubts that the Arabs can have the Assembly adopt any anti-Israeli resolutions they desire.

The Arabs are making no secret of their plan to crack down on Israel during the Assembly. In a series of resolutions adopted by the foreign ministers of the Arab League countries at the conclusion of a four-day conference in Cairo at the beginning of this month, the Assembly is urged to take strong measures against Israel. The Arabs intend to urge the world body to condemn Israel’s settlement policy in the occupied territories and to call for economic and military sanctions against the Jewish State.

Observers at the United Nations note that the Arab foreign ministers rejected an extremist reso lution introduced by Syria calling on the Assembly to suspend Israel’s membership in favor of a more moderate Egyptian resolution to call on the Assembly to condemn Israel for its settlements in the occupied territories.


By adopting the more moderate Egyptian approach the Arabs are hoping to win Washington away from its traditional support of Israel, UN observers note. Furthermore, by presenting a moderate resolution, the Arabs wants to create a situation in which the United States will have no choice but to join in a resolution condemning Israel, thereby creating a situation in which Israel will be completely isolated.

In fact, in the view of reliable sources here, this is going to happen when the Assembly debates a special Egyptian-initiated item on the Agenda regarding the recently established Israeli settlements in the West Bank and on the extension of Israeli services to the population in this area. “After the Carter Administration declared more than once that the Israeli settlements are an obstacle to peace, the U.S. cannot, obviously, vote against a resolution condemning the settlements,” a Western diplomat observed.

The Arab-Israeli conflict and its ramifications are most likely to be the focus of attention throughout the session. The urgency of the Mideast problem will be underlined when the Mideast foreign ministers come here at the beginning of the Assembly session to hold talks with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and meet later with President Carter in Washington. Carter himself will address the Assembly early next month–probably Oct. 4–devoting a major part of his speech to the Mideast.


Major debates in the Assembly–which will no doubt be strident and vituperative–will take place when the items, “Question Of Palestine” and “The Situation In The Mideast” will be discussed. Anti-Israeli resolutions are expected in both cases. Israel is also certain to be attacked and condemned on its treatment of the Arab population in the occupied territories and probably labeled once more as “racist” for its relations with South Africa and on the basis of the infamous resolution equating Zionism with racism.

The Security Council will be occupied with the Mideast on Oct. 24 when the mandate of the United Nations Emergency Force in Sinai expires and on Nov. 30 when the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observers Force on the Golan Heights ends.

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