UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 22)
Concluding four days of debate at an emergency session on the Palestinian question, the General Assembly voted 120-2 Thursday night to endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state “in Palestine” and to condemn Israel for failing to comply with previous UN resolutions that it withdraw from Lebanon and dismantle the Jewish settlements on the West Bank. The United States and Israel voted against the resolution. Twenty countries, mostly Western democracies, abstained.
The resolution called for “the free exercise in Palestine of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination without external interference and to national independence.” The resolution also called indirectly for sanctions against Israel by urging the Security Council to take “practical” measures against Israel if it failed to withdraw from occupied territories and from Lebanon.
The Assembly also decided, in another resolution, to convene an international conference in. Paris next August on the Palestinian question. The vote on this resolution was 123 in favor, with the United States and Israel again casting the only negative votes. Eighteen countries abstained.
Noting that the Paris conference would cost the UN $5.7 million, Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, said it was a scandalous waste of money that could be used to feed hungry mouths instead of “playing up to the vanities of the PLO henchmen.”
The Assembly also voted to observe June 4 as “Innocent Children Victims” day. The vote was 102-2, with the U.S. and Israel opposed, and 34 abstentions. The June 4 date is to mark the day Israel prepared to enter Lebanon. The actual incursion was June 6.
Initially, the Arabs wanted to place a plaque at the UN that would have been dedicated to the “innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children, victims of Israeli aggression.” The plan was dropped at the urging of UN officials who argued that this would be regarded as an affront by Americans in general and New Yorkers in particular.