UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 14)
Israel is currently engaged in an intensive diplomatic campaign at the United Nations and in capitals around the world to thwart an Arab threat to deny Israel its credentials to the 37th session of the General Assembly. At the same time, the United States is also applying diplomatic pressure here to persuade as many delegates as it can not to join the Arab move.
Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick warned publicly last night that the United States would walk out of the General Assembly if Israel’s credentials are suspended. The vote on Israel’s credentials and other UN member-states is scheduled for October 25. The Assembly can deny Israel’s credentials by a simple majority.
Kirkpatrick told reporters she believed that the Arabs will finally retreat from their plan to seek Israel’s suspension. But she made it clear that if Israel is suspended, the U.S. will not hesitate to suspend its own participation in the Assembly.
Such a move by the U.S. would be a severe blow to the UN’s prestige and its ability to operate effectively. Kirkpatrick pointed out that the U.S. pays 25 percent of the UN budget and warned that the payments will be stopped if Israel were suspended.
DIVISION IN THE RANKS
Meanwhile, the Arabs and their allies are divided on whether suspending Israel from the Assembly will serve their cause. Some of the Arab and Moslem delegates are seeking ways to save face and not ask for Israel’s suspension after the Arab League members endorsed the move last Friday.
According to diplomats here, Libya, Syria, Iraq and the PLO are pressing hard to go along with the plan to suspend Israel. Those who oppose the move argue that such a bid would turn Israel from an aggressor in the mind of the international community to that of a victim. They also feel that suspending Israel will be incompatible with President Reagan’s new Mideast plan and the Arabs’ declaration at Fez, Morocco last month.