UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 25)
The General Assembly is expected to accept en bloc today the credentials of Israel and 89 other countries for participation in its 37th session. But the battle between Israel and the Arab states and their allies continued in the form of letters circulated by both sides as official UN document.
A letter signed by 43 Moslem, Communist bloc and Third World countries contained a nine point “reservation” over Israel’s credentials, charging, among other things, Israel’s consistent flouting of UN resolutions pertaining to the Palestinians and the Middle East.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum, countered with a letter, also addressed to General Assembly President Imre Hollai, of Hungary, denouncing the Arab letter as “a gratuitous and completely unfounded attack” on the credentials of the Israeli delegation which “were found in due form by the Credentials Committee.” He called the Arab letter “one manifestation of” their “obsessive hatred of Israel.”
ARABS RETREAT FROM OUSTER EFFORTS
The Arabs had decided two weeks ago to seek Israel’s suspension from the General Assembly. They retreated from that last week after the United States warned that if Israel were expelled it would walk out and terminate its payments to the world organization.
Today’s letter was circulated in lieu of the ouster attempt. It was officially designated a “reservation” rather than an objection to Israel’s credentials but stated that “The present reservation should not in any manner prejudice our position concerning the Israeli presence in the General Assembly.” Egypt was the only Arab state that was not a signatory to the letter.
It charged that Israel “flagrantly and persistently violated the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations” and that “Israel has consistently defied with impunity UN resolutions relevant to the question of Palestine and the Middle East.”
The letter referred to the General Assembly’ declaration that Israel “is not a peace-loving member-state” and charged that “it has carried out neither its obligations under the UN Charter nor its commitment under General Assembly Resolution 273 of May 11, 1949.” The latter was the resolution admitting Israel to membership in the UN.
OTHER ACCUSATIONS BY THE ARABS
The Arab letter also accused Israel of failing to implement Security Council and General Assembly resolutions concerning Jerusalem “which it has illegally annexed and claims as its capital” and of refusing to adhere to the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions that it rescind its annexation of the Golan Heights.
According to the letter, “The credentials of the Israeli delegation issued in Jerusalem implicitly alleged that the delegation represents the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the Golan Height in contravention of international law and the relevant resolutions of the UN.”
Israel was further charged with refusal to implement UN resolutions “concerning the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people” and to withdraw “from Palestinian and other occupied Arab territory, including Jerusalem.” The letter referred to “Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and the crime of genocide it committed against the Palestinians in Lebanon.”
BLUM DENOUNCES THE LETTER
In his rejoinder, Blum called the Arab letter “a crude and transparent attempt to abuse the credentials procedure in order to introduce matters completely extraneous and irrelevant to it.”
Blum added: “It (the letter) constitutes one more manifestation of the obsessive hatred toward Israel of certain states which, ever since Israel was established in 1948, have been bent on my country’s destruction and in the process have flagrantly violated both general international law and the (UN) Charter.”
Referring to the nine points of “reservation” Blum said: “It is evident that the contentions advanced in the letter under reference would be irrelevant to the credential procedure even if they are true — which they are not.” The Israeli envoy listed four points of his own:
*”The reports of the Credentials Committee is not the occasion for any country to engage in polemics of the kind appearing in the letter under reference,”
*”Such unjustified aspersions cast on credentials which are in due form and have been accepted as such by the Credentials Committee are in violation of the letter and spirit of the UN Charter,”
*”The approach reflected in that letter is also incompatible with the principles guiding the UN, including the duty incumbent on all members of the UN to use it, as the Charter enjoins, as a ‘center for harmonizing the actions of nations,”
*”This approach does not merely redound to the general discredit of the UN system as a whole; it is also liable to affect adversely the ability of the UN to perform its primary function for the maintenance of international peace and security.”
STEPS FOR APPROVING CREDENTIALS
According to procedure, the Credentials Committee will inform the General Assembly plenum that it has reviewed the credentials of member-states and ask for objections. If there are no objections, the credentials are approved and accepted automatically.
The Arab letter of reservation, while not an objection, could be used as a document in a new attempt to oust Israel when the General Assembly convenes for its 38th session next year.