UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 20)
Israel, in a surprise move today, withdrew a draft resolution it had introduced here last week for the “de-nuclearization of the Middle East,” blaming lock of response from the Arab countries.
Announcing the move in the General Assembly’s Political and Security Committee (First Committee) this morning, Ambassador Arie Eilan of Israel’s UN Mission, said Israel withdrew its draft resolution “with great regret” and warned that “those who have rejected Israel’s after in this committee must bear a very heavy responsibility in the eyes of mankind.”
Eilan cited the “adamant refusal on the part of so many. Arab states to respond to Israel’s calls for de-nuclearization of the Middle East” as the reason for Israel’s decision to withdraw its draft resolution.
The draft called for a conference of all Middle East states aimed at reaching an agreement for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region. It was only the third time that Israel has submitted a draft resolution since it became a member of the UN in 1949. Israeli diplomats have long been calling for such a conference and such calls were included in the speeches by Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and his predecessor, Moshe Dayan, in their addresses to the General Assembly.
SAYS OFFER STILL STANDS
Arab rejection of the Israeli proposal was made clear in their statements in the First Committee this week. But Eilan said, “We shall, however, persevere. The task we have set ourselves is too serious to be abandoned because of the exigencies of the parliamentary situation. Our offer still stands.”
Eilan accused Iraq and Libya of seeking to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. “The whole world knows that Iraq and Libya are making enormous efforts to acquire the nuclear option for the price of oil,” he said. “Do the rulers of those countries ever realize that the particles that make up a nuclear fall-out know not the difference between Jew and Arab, between Moslem and Christian? ” the Israeli envoy asked.
ISRAEL SIGNS ANTI-HOSTAGE MEASURE
In another development, Israel yesterday signed the international convention against the taking of hostages which was, adopted by the UN General Assembly last year. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum, signed the document at UN headquarters on his country’s behalf. Israel had taken an active part in the working group of the General Assembly which drafted the convention.
It states that under no circumstances whatsoever should anyone taking a hostage, whatever reason he gives, be exempt from either prosecution or extradition. It also calls for cooperation between all states in fighting the taking of hostages. The convention is regarded by Israel as an important practical measure in the struggle against international terrorism.