UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 25)
The 34th session of the General Assembly will open “Palestine Week” tomorrow with a debate on the Palestinian question, the screening of the UN produced film “Palestinians do Have Rights,” and an exhibition at the UN building devoted to the “plight” of the Palestinians – sponsored by the UN but actually designed and organized by the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The Palestine Week will culminate Nov. 29 with the UN-declared “Palestine, Day,” the date when the General Assembly recommended the partition of Palestine in 1947.
Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, commented on the irony of the situation when he noted that while in the sessions of the General Assembly last year and in 1977 the Arabs and their allies concentrated their attacks on the Egyptian-Israeli peace process in a clear effort to sabotage the peace agreement, the impression this year is that even the Arabs are accepting the peace between Egypt and Israel as a “fait accompli.”
ARABS TRYING NEW APPROACH
Speaking with Israeli reporters last Friday, Blum also said that the Arabs this year are trying a new approach in the Assembly, namely, refraining from making long virulent anti-Israel speeches which have become an Arab trademark at the UN – although they continue to press for harsh anti-Israel resolutions.
Accordingly, Blum observed, the debate on the Palestinian question will produce another resolution calling on Israel to cease its occupation of the administered territories and to restore Palestinian rights, including their right to return to their homes and to establish an Independent Palestinian state.
The Israeli envoy said he would participate in the debate on the Palestinian question and that he is scheduled to address the General Assembly Tuesday. He said Israel will argue that the Palestinian Arabs already have their own state, Jordan, and that the Palestinian Arabs are Jordanian citizens.
UN REJECTS ISRAEL FILM
Blum also disclosed that Israel. to counter the UN-produced film on the Palestinians, has obtained its own film, “The PLO,” produced by a Swiss company but that the UN turned down Israel’s request to screen it at the UN. Blum said Israel was told that the Hammarskjold Auditorium, where films are shown, screens only “cultural films” and not political ones. “We asked for another facility in the UN building to screen the film, and they are checking it, but I doubt our request will be granted,” Blum said. The Middle East issue will be on the agenda of the Assembly for another week, when the Palestinian debate is over, with the start of a Mideast debate Dec. 3 to discuss the Arab-Israel conflict in its entirety.
Observers and diplomats here said they believe that the crisis in Iran and the dramatic news it produces daily will obscure the anti-Israel drive in the current Assembly session. One diplomat noted the PLO leader Yasir Arafat, who was said to plan a visit to the UN to attend the debate on the Palestinians, decided not to attend because, among other reasons, of the situation in Iran.