Behind the Headlines Anti-israel Actions in Europe and Unlaid to Lack of U.S. Firmness

Anti-Israel resolutions voted within 24 hours, first by the Council of Europe last Wednesday and then by the United Nations Security Council last Thursday, are seen here as caused basically by the continued failure of the Carter Administration to assert in clear terms its uncompromising support for the Camp David accords and strong opposition to the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Council of Europe’s resolution was approved 170-0 with 10 abstentions. The UN Council resolution was adopted 12-0 with the United States, the Soviet Union and East Germany abstaining.

Analysts here said that while President Carter and others back the accords and rule out the PLO except on specified conditions, the unabashed pro-PLO sentiment among many within the Administration’s foreign affairs establishment, the official carping about Israel’s support for the Christian militia in south Lebanon, and denunciation in veiled terms of the Israeli stand against agreeing to moves that would create a Palestinian state have emboldened the enemies of Israel and weakened the resolve still further of Europeans to uphold the Middle East’s lone democracy.

The Council of Europe, representing 21 West European national parliaments, condemned Israel’s settlement policy, approved Palestinian “right to self-determination” — code words for a state — and urged the West European governments to “complete or replace” UN Security Council Resolution 242 that is the foundation of the Camp David formulas to define the Palestinians as a political entity rather than as refugees.

“A few more statements like, the (European) Council’s and Egypt will want to pull out of the Camp David process and the Arabs opposing the process will get even tougher in dealing with the Europeans,” a Washington source observed. “We have had an Arab rejectionist camp. Now we have a European rejectionist camp, too. The Europeans haven’t gotten the signal that the U.S. is committed under the Camp David agreement to allow five years for the transitional process on the West Bank and Gaza.”

There has not been “a firm American signal on this,” the source noted. “If the U.S. said that the Camp David process will go on regardless of other tactics elsewhere and that it will not participate in any other process but veto any attempt to modify 242, then the whole hullabaloo in Europe will stop. The argument about Israel’s settlements is totally irrelevant.”

THE MISTAKE EUROPEANS ARE MAKING

The mistake the Europeans are making “is that they think it is necessary to appease the PLO because of the weakness of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Persian Gulf states against PLO machinations backed by Moscow,” the analyst said. “They therefore see that, to get oil, they must appease the PLO but they do not see that if they weaken Israel and allow a state on the West Bank, that state will in the long run throttle their oil supply since the Soviets will take hold, through the PLO, of the Middle East oil and do from the Palestinian state what it cannot do from Afghanistan.”

The U.S., by abstaining on the UN resolution that denounced Israel’s “aggression” in Lebanon and its aid to the Lebanese Christian militia led by Maj. Saad Haddad, again showed it is unwilling to fight by a veto the “completely one-sided and distorted picture drawn in the UN against Israel and the problems in Lebanon,” another source observed.

While the UN Security Council resolution deplored Israel’s incursion into Lebanon, the resolution did not mention that Israel’s action followed a terrorist attack on Kibbutz Misgav Am on April 7 during which three Israelis were killed; and while the resolution pointed to the killing of two Irish members of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which it blamed on Haddad’s Christian militia, it did not mention that UNIFIL members were responsible for killing two Moslem brothers in Haddad’s militia.

U.S. VETO TERMED INADEQUATE RESPONSE

Commenting on the U.S. abstention on the resolution, Maxwell Greenberg, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, said it was a “weak and inadequate response to the biased and gross inaccuracy of the resolution. A veto would have killed the resolution; an abstention allowed its adoption, giving a victory to those who ignore the destruction of Lebanon by Syria and the PLO.”

Henry Siegman, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, welcomed U.S. Ambassador Donald McHenry’s characterization of the resolution “as on unbalanced and inadequate response to the problem” in south Lebanon, but added that “We regret that the logic of this understanding did not lead to an American veto of a resolution which in its motivation and its terms was blatantly prejudiced and partisan.”

Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, said: “By refusing to exercise its right of veto, the White House has encouraged PLO terrorism, given the green light to those countries eager to follow the example of Austria in conferring legitimacy on Yasir Arafat, heightened Israel’s diplomatic isolation and turned its back on the Camp David accords.”

While the Soviet Union also abstained on the UN resolution, its reasoning was basically different. The Soviet delegate said he abstained because the resolution was insufficiently anti-Israeli. The U.S. took its position after the resolution was altered from “strongly condemns” to “strongly deplores” the Israeli positions.

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