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42nd Session of the UN Assembly: Another Opening, Another Onslaught

Despite the escalating war between Iran and Iraq and the growing danger that the seven-year-old hostilities between the two countries might engulf the whole region in flames, the 42nd session of the United Nations General Assembly is expected to devote little time, if any, to this cruel and costly war that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Instead, the Assembly, which opens here September 15, will continue its “tradition” of passing scores of anti-Israeli resolutions and spending valuable time — and money — on hearing venomous speeches against the Jewish State and, at times, against the whole Jewish people.

Diplomats and UN officials said here this week that it is almost certain that the Arabs would try to oust Israel from the General Assembly by proposing, as they have been doing unsuccessfully in recent years, to deny Israel its credentials.

Last year the proposal to deny Israel’s credentials was sponsored by the Arab League. It was defeated by a vote of 86-41. “Despite the fact that the attempt to oust Israel is defeated repeatedly, we expect the extremists among the Arab states to take the same initiative again. Maybe Iran will take the lead against Israel this year,” an Israeli diplomat said.

The diplomat pointed out that while moderate Arab countries, such as Jordan, Oman and Morocco are known to oppose Israel’s ouster, they are, nonetheless, compelled to join the move in a show of Arab solidarity and patriotism.

RULE OF THE SOVIET UNION

“What concerns us most, however,” the Israeli diplomat said, “is that the Soviet Union has been voting every year in support of Israel’s suspension. On the one hand, the USSR demands to participate in an international peace conference on the Mideast, to be held under UN sponsorship. On the other hand, Moscow votes to deny Israel’s credentials and oust it from the General Assembly. This is an absurdity,” the Israeli diplomat said.

Israel, the diplomat disclosed, has already discussed this “contradictory situation” with Soviet officials. “We expect them to show their good will this year and actively oppose the Arab move,” the diplomat said.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM

Israel plans to launch a major campaign against international terrorism in this year’s Assembly. To begin with, Israel will distribute at the beginning of the Assembly session a newly compiled booklet listing all the acts of terror and violence that took place in the Middle East in the past year. According to Eyal Arab, Israel’s spokesperson at the UN, the booklet will consist of “tens of pages with a list of hundreds of terrorists acts committed in the last year in the Mideast.”

Arab said that the purpose of the booklet is “to demonstrate to the world that the problems of the Mideast as a region are not all the result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. There are many other problems in the Mideast — Iran-Iraq conflict, Lebanon, Chad and Libya — and the UN must realize that it must stop its obsession with Israel and turn and deal with the other issues facing the Mideast.”

Israel will also confront, during the three-month-long Assembly, an attempt by Syria to use Arab voting power in the UN to define the term “terrorism.”

Syria has proposed the convening of “an international conference to define terrorism and differentiate it from the struggle of peoples for national liberation.”

The Syrian proposal will be discussed by the UN Legal Committee (the Sixth Committee) which is headed this year by none other than Libya. The irony here, of course, is that both Syria and Libya are known for participating in acts of international terrorism. Both governments were implicated by European courts for participating in terrorist acts.

“The Syrians are trying to legitimize terrorism,” a Western diplomat said. The Israeli government has started to campaign against the Syrian ploy at the UN and various Western capitals. According to diplomats and observers here, the Syrians are likely to have a sufficient number of votes to support their view of terrorism.

The Israelis are hopeful that a trend that has been developing in recent years will continue in the course of this Assembly as well. “There is a growing decline in support for Arab anti-Israeli resolutions at the UN, a decline that amounts to 10 percent every year,” Arab said. “We hope to witness the same process this year,” he said.

MEETINGS BEGIN SEPT. 21

The Assembly begins its general debate, the most illustrious part of the session, attended by scores of heads of states and hundreds of high-ranking diplomats, on Monday, Sept. 21. President Reagan will address the Assembly that day to be followed the next day by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres will address the Assembly Sept. 29. Peres, however, is scheduled to arrive in New York on Sept. 20 for a 10-day visit here during which he will meet with Shevardnadze, Secretary of State George Shultz, and other diplomats who will be here to attend the Assembly.

The Israeli delegation to the Assembly, headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s UN Ambassador, will be strengthened by new diplomats for the duration of the session, bringing its size to about 20 members.

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