WASHINGTON (Sep. 30)
The State Department said yesterday that the United States would “firmly oppose any attempt” to oust Israel from the United Nations General Assembly, but stopped short of saying that the U.S. itself would withdraw from that body in the event of Israel’s expulsion.
A State Department spokesman, David Noll was asked for comment following President Carter’s statement in New York yesterday that such an expulsion “would raise the gravest questions” about future U.S. participation in the General Assembly.
Noll read the following prepared statement: “While we have no indication that serious challenge to Israel’s credentials at the General Assembly will be made, obviously this is potentially on extremely serious matter. The United States will firmly oppose any attempt to deprive Israel of its legitimate rights as a respected member of the international community.
“I would note that any such action would be a clear violation of the United Nations Charter which states that all UN members shall be represented in the General Assembly and that only the Security Council con suspend or expel a member state. It is obvious that the principle of universal representation in the General Assembly by all states is essential to the continued functioning of that Assembly as an institution. Any attempt to deny a country its right to participate on political grounds damages the General Assembly and the United Nations itself in a fundamental way whether or not it is successful.”
A State Department source said that the statement read by Noll was prompted by press reports of a movement by certain Arab states at the General Assembly on lines similar to the recent unsuccessful attempt at the UNESCO meeting in Belgrade. In that case, Israel’s credentials were challenged because of its Jerusalem low. After opposition led by the U.S. and Australia, a consensus was reached to accept Israel’s credentials with the understanding that this does not mean that Jerusalem is recognized as Israel’s capital by UNESCO.
ISSUE OF MUTUAL DEFENSE PACT
In other developments at the State Department, spokesman Jack Cannon was asked about Israeli Premier Menachem Begin’s reported statement that Israel was offered a mutual defense pact with the U.S. but did not accept it, but was now willing to consider it and would offer the U.S. bases in the Sinai or elsewhere in Israel.
Cannon replied that “bases in the Sinai are covered by the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty which calls for demilitarization and we would hope that all parts of that treaty will be fully implemented.”
Meanwhile, an independent committee supporting the candidacy of Republican nominee Ronald Reagan said that the war between Iran and Iraq “passes a severe threat to the security of Israel.” Americans for on Effective Presidency, made up of Republicans, Democrats and independents, quoted a one-time assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that “the U.S. strategic position in the Middle East would improve if we took full advantage of the strategic benefits which could flow from the Israeli-U.S. alliance.
W. Scott Thompson, associate professor of international politics at Tufts University, charged that the Carter Administration, by courting “the radical Arab rejectionist states,” had sent “a clear signal to all Gulf states regarding our intentions and commitments.”
“Now is the time for the United States to stand behind its ally Israel and let the Persian Gulf countries and other nations know that Israel’s security is in our vital interest, ” Thompson said.