UN Resolution Says Mideast Peace is Not Possible Unless Israel Withdraws from All Territories

The General Assembly passed a resolution by a vote of 113-4 with 23 abstentions declaring that “a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East cannot be established without the unconditional withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.” The United States, Canada, Costa Rica and Israel voted against the resolution, which is non-binding, at the Assembly session last Friday.

The measure, which made no reference to Israel’s right to exist, also asked the Security Council to “recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian Arab people, including the right to self-determination and the right to establish its independent Arab state in Palestine.” Under the terms of the resolution, the Council would take steps to bring about the creation of such a state.

The American delegate, William Sherman, criticized the resolution as an attempt to prejudge the nature of a Mideast settlement. He added, however that the Assembly measure represented “the beginning of a more generalized effort of accommodation” because it did not condemn past U.S. initiatives such as the Camp David accords and President Reagan’s Mideast proposals.

In another action, a call for all UN member-states to support preparations for an international conference an Palestine next August passed by a vote of 123-2 with 17 abstentions. Israel and the U.S. voted against it. The conference, to be held in Paris at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, was denounced by Ambassador Yehuda Blum of Israel as “another act of narcissistic excess.” He said both resolutions “deliberately ignore the inalienable rights of Israel and the Jewish community.”

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