UNITED NATIONS (Jul. 22)
The General Assembly convened in special emergency session today to consider the Palestinian question. It was clear from the outset that the session will be dominated by virulent anti-Israel statements and extreme declarations in line with the positions of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
That tone was set this morning in the major address by Farouk Khaddoumi, head of the PLO’s political department, who attacked both Israel and the U.S. and warned that this session of the General Assembly is the last chance “before the explosion” to enable the people of Palestine to achieve self-determination and statehood.
Khaddoumi, who is regarded as the PLO’s “foreign minister,” devoted a large part of his speech to rejection of the Camp David agreements “between the Egyptian regime and the government of the terrorist, Menachem Begin.” He charged that since Camp David, Israel has “hysterically intensified all its racist, aggressive practices on all levels.” He accused Israel of oppressing the Palestinians and plundering the natural resources of the West Bank.
BLASTS U.S. FOR SUPPORTING ISRAEL
Khaddoumi also blasted the U.S. for supporting Israel. He said the present General Assembly session represented a “rebellion” against the “veto weapon” used by the U.S. in the Security Council since 1974 to abort efforts toward the implementation of Palestinian rights.
At least 100 speakers have registered so far to participate in the debate which is expected to last for five working days. It will continue for the four remaining days of this week. A date for the fifth and final days of debate has not been set yet.
Israel was absent from the opening today because of Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning: Israel’s Ambassador Yehuda Blum is expected to address the General Assembly tomorrow morning. The U.S., scheduled to speak today, will also address the Assembly tomorrow. It had already made known its opposition to the convening of this emergency session.
The session was officially requested on July I by Ambassador Falilou Kane of Senegal who is chairman of the Committee on Palestinian Rights, but it is known to have been inspired by the PLO. Observers here said that the resolution to be adopted at the close of the debate is likely to increase Israel’s isolation.