UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 30)
Israel charged at the Security Council last night that the 15-member Council was convened because Lebanon, which requested the meeting, was trying to divert attention away from the growing chaos and unrest in the north and central parts of Lebanon.
Claiming that “there was not the slightest justification” for last night’s meeting, Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, told the Security Council that Lebanon’s “house was literally on fire in its capital of Beirut.” He said that the Council was called into session as a result of Syrian pressure and domestic rivalries in Lebanon.
Lebanon’s UN Abassador, Rachid Fakhoury, who opened last night’s meeting, called for implementation of past Security Council resolutions to get Israel’s troops out of south Lebanon. In a sharply worded statement, the Lebanese representative assailed the continued Israeli occupation of South Lebanon.
He charged that the civilian population in south Lebanon has been living under “a continued state of terror” because of the “excesses of Israeli occupation.” He demanded that Israel “lift its siege” of south Lebanon.
Blum reiterated Israel’s claim that it wants to withdraw from Lebanon as soon as proper security arrangements to prevent terrorist attacks against Israel are set. But, he added, “Israel will not sit by and permit anyone to incite, arm and direct terrorists to mount attacks against it.”
Diplomatic sources at the UN said today that Lebanon will ask the Council to adopt a resolution calling for immediate and complete Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and demanding that Israel relax its measures against the civilian population in south Lebanon. According to the sources, the Lebanese will seek a relatively moderate resolution, without even condemning Israel, in order to avoid a United States veto.
The Security Council was scheduled to continue its debate this afternoon. The debate will probably be concluded next week.