UNITED NATIONS (Sep. 20)
The Security Council held two urgent meetings here during the weekend to deal with the escalating crisis in Lebanon. The first meeting Friday was on the issue of the entry of Israeli troops into west Beirut last Wednesday. The second meeting was yesterday to deal with the massacre of Palestinian civilians in two refugee camps in Beirut by Christian militiamen.
Both sessions concluded with the 15-member Council, including the United States, unanimously adopting resolutions on both issues.
On Friday evening, after a lengthy behind the scenes consultation, the Council adopted a resolution condemning the Israeli incursion into Beirut “in violation of the cease-fire agreement and demanding “an immediate return to the positions occupied by Israel before September 15, 1982 as a first step toward the full implementation of Security Council resolutions.”
Israeli troops moved into west Beirut following the murder of Bashir Gemayel, Lebanon’s President-elect. The resolution adopted Friday night also condemned the murder of Gemayel “and every effort to disrupt by violence the restoration of a strong, stable government in Lebanon.”
Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, left the Council Chamber before the vote on the resolution was taken because, he explained, he had to observe the Rosh Hashanah holiday. But before leaving. Blum told the Council that Israel does not intend to evacuate west Beirut immediately, as the resolution requested.
Blum said that Israel’s forces will “relinquish their positions in west Beirut when the Lebanese army forces are ready to assume control over those positions in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces in order to insure public order and security.”
The Israeli envoy also stated that by entering west Beirut, Israel did not breach the agreement worked out by U.S. special envoy Philip Habib because 2,000 PLO terrorists had remained in Beirut and retained large amounts of weapons in contravention of the agreement that called for all PLO troops to evacuate Beirut.
RESOLUTION ON BEIRUT MASSACRE
Yesterday, the Security Council convened again for an urgent meeting following the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in west Beirut refugee camps by Christian militiamen.
After an acrimonious debate the Council adopted a resolution at 4 a.m. calling on the Secretary General “as an immediate step, to increase the number of United Nations observers in and around Beirut from 10 to 50 and insist that there shall be no interference with the deployment of the observers and that they shall have full freedom of movement.” The resolution condemned “the criminal massacre of Palestinian civilians in Beirut,” but did not assign responsibility to anyone for the massacre.
The Western-sponsored resolution was a far cry from the Arabs demand that the UN should send at least 1,000 troops to supervise the peace in Beirut.
The resolution also requested the Secretary General “in consultation with the government of Lebanon to ensure the rapid deployment of those observers in order that they may contribute in every way possible within their mandate, to the effort to ensure full protection for the civilian population.”
In an oblique reference to Israel’s past objections to the increase of UN observers in Lebanon, the resolution stated that the Security Council “insists that all concerned must permit the United Nations observers and forces established by the Security Council in Lebanon to be deployed and to discharge their mandates.”
Meanwhile, Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar met here today with various representatives, including American Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, to discuss ways to protect the civilian population in Lebanon. Although no official Security Council meeting was scheduled for today, members of the Council were told to be available for a meeting in case of an emergency.