UNITED NATIONS (Oct. 2)
Tunisia demands that Israel pay reparations for the loss of life and damage caused by its air raid yesterday on Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters near Tunis and that international sanctions be imposed against Israel, according to a draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council by Tunisia today. A copy was obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The draft, which is subject to changes before the Security Council votes, demands that Israel be strongly condemend for the raid; requests that Israel desists from such attacks in the future; demands that Israel pay reparations; and calls for sanctions against Israel to prevent such acts on its part in the future.
According to diplomats here, the U.S. is almost certain to veto the Tunisian draft when it comes up for a vote. The European members of the Security Council, however, are said to be ready to support the draft if minor changes of wording are made to soften the text. The Europeans oppose the call for sanctions.
It is not clear when the Security Council will vote because of the long list of scheduled speakers. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Binyamin Netanyahu, will address the Security Council this evening.
CONCERTED ARAB ATTACK ON ISRAEL
The debate was opened today by the Tunisian Foreign Minister, Beji Caid Essebsi, who denounced the Israeli raid as a flagrant violation of international law and the UN Charter. He declared that Tunisia has repeatedly condemned terrorism in all its forms, that no act of terrorism has been committed by his country and no Tunisian was involved in any such act.
Essebsi said nothing could justify Israel’s attack. The Foreign Minister of Kuwait, Jaber Al-Sabah, accused Israel of committing “dastardly acts” in order to blow apart efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the Middle East conflict. He described the raid as a “blatant act of aggression” and sharply criticized the United States for supporting and justifying it.
The representative of Egypt, Ahmed Tawfik Khalil, said that the Israeli raid undermined the peace process in the Middle East. He noted that the attack allegedly was in reprisal for the murder of three Israelis in Larnaca, Cyprus on September 25, despite the PLO’s immediate declaration that it was not responsible for the killings. According to the Egyptian, Israel planned the raid and organized it over a fairly long period, implying that the Cyprus murders were only a pretext.
The PLO’s representative, Farouk Kaddoumi, said that by justifying the raid, the U.S. has displayed a lack of credibility to play a constructive role in Middle East peace negotiations. He called for sanctions against Israel to protect international peace and security.
DIPLOMATIC REPERCUSSIONS CONTINUE
The Israeli raid continued to have diplomatic repercussions. Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Vahit Halefoglu, abruptly cancelled his scheduled meeting today with Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Turkish sources said the reason was the air attack on Tunisia.
The Foreign Ministers and heads of delegations of more than 40 non-aligned nations, meeting outside UN auspices here yesterday, strongly condemned the raid, calling it a “barbaric and cold-blooded attack” against the Tunisian capital.