PLO Opens UN Palestine Debate

A debate on the Palestinian question, a regular feature on the General Assembly’s agenda in recent years, opened here today but drew little attention from diplomats or the media. The first speaker at this morning’s session was Farouk Koddoumi, representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who speaks for it on foreign policy matters.

In a sharply worded speech, Koddoumi attacked Israel and the United States and called for sanctions against Israel for its failure to comply with UN resolutions. He urged that efforts be made for a Middle East settlement that would result in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Koddoumi also charged that the U.S. veto of Security Council resolutions and its continued military support for Israel helped the “Zionist entity” maintain its “arrogant and aggressive” positions. Referring to President-elect Ronald Reagan’s characterization of the PLO as a terrorist organization, Koddoumi, said the next American President had forgotten the history of the organization and its accepted role on behalf of the Palestinians. He called on the Western European countries to recognize the PLO, contending that this would “help restrain the madness in the Israeli position!”

The Palestine debate is scheduled to last until the end of this week. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum, will address it tomorrow. The General Assembly is expected to adopt the recommendations of the Palestinian Rights Committee, as it has in previous years. They call for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, the return of the displaced Palestinians to the homes they left as a result of the 1948 And 1967 wars and for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

In another development here, a three-member UN inquiry group has recommended that the Security Council adopt effective measure “to prevail on Israel to cease forthwith its settlement policy in all its aspects in the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem.” The group consists of the representatives of Portugal, Bolivia and Zambia.

(By Yitzhak Rabi)

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