UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 17)
The 34th session of the United Nations General Assembly will open here tomorrow and Israel is expected to be the target of an attempt by the Arabs to deprive it of its credentials to participate in the proceedings on formal and technical grounds. Israeli diplomats, noting that this tactic was used successfully in the past against South Africa, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the Israeli Mission is aware of the possibility and is taking measures to thwart it.
According to the Israeli diplomats, the upcoming three-month session will be “a battleground against peace in the Middle East” as the Arab extremists and their traditional allies, the Soviet Union and Third World countries, will do everything possible to subvert the ongoing negotiations between Israel and Egypt and the prospects that other Middle Eastern countries, such as Jordan, will join in the negotiations.
Israel Ambassador Yehuda Blum, addressing a luncheon sponsored by the American Jewish Committee on the eve of the upcoming session, said the General Assembly will be even more difficult this year as for as Israel is concerned than the two previous sessions. He recalled that the General Assembly of 1977 and of 1978 both were overshadowed by President Anwar Sadat’s first visit to Israel and the signing of the Camp David agreements, respectively. He said the anticipated attacks on Israel this year will have one major purpose, “to hinder and obstruct, or at least slow down the peace process” currently underway between Israel and Egypt.
PLO SEEKING INROADS
At the same time, the Israeli diplomats said the Palestine Liberation Organization which has gained in public opinion and diplomatic prestige as a result of the Andrew Young affair, will continue to push toward legitimizing itself in the eyes of the international community. The PLO is expected to concentrate on making inroads into U.S. public opinion and diplomacy and will also press its campaign for Palestinian rights, the diplomats said.
“We believe that as long as the peace process progresses in the Middle East, the PLO and its supporters will increase their efforts against it at the UN, ” the Israelis said. Those diplomats also admitted that Israel in some instances will find itself almost “completely isolated” without even the support of the U.S. and Western Europe.
This is considered likely to happen in connection with resolutions before the General Assembly concerning Israeli settlements in the administered territories and Israel’s preemptive attacks in south Lebanon, the diplomats said. But, they added, if the Americans keep to the spirit and letter of the Camp David agreements, Israel need not worry about its major interest: peace.
The Palestinians will culminate their efforts to improve their image on Nov. 29 which has been designated by the UN as Palestine Day. It is the 32nd anniversary of the UN partition decision. The Palestinian cause will be celebrated and featured on that day with documentary films, exhibitions, speeches by UN dignitaries on behalf of Palestinian rights and a special gathering of the General Assembly commemorating the occasion.
ANTI-ZIONIST RESOLUTION PENDING
It is not yet clear if PLO leader Yasir Arafat will attend the General Assembly. Arab sources say there is a strong likelihood that he will appear in person. According to the Israelis, the Arabs will also try to revive the resolution equating Zionism with racism by recalling and referring to that 1975 anti-Zionist resolution in various new resolutions that will come before the Assembly. Israeli diplomats said that while in the past, the Western countries fought against such attempts by the Arabs, they seem unlikely to do so this year.
The Israeli delegation to the 34th General Assembly will consist of about 20 members, seven of whom are permanent members of the Israeli Mission to the UN. Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Sept. 27 in the afternoon.