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Arab Move Against Israel at UN Quashed by Largest Margin Ever

The General Assembly voted 88-39 Tuesday to reject an Arab-sponsored move to deny Israel its credentials. There were 10 abstentions and 21 countries were absent. The margin of defeat was the largest ever for the Arabs in their yearly attempt to expel Israel from the world organization.

This year it took the form of an eight-word amendment to a resolution before the General Assembly to accept collectively the credentials of 115 UN member states. The Arabs proposed the phrase, “except with regard to the credentials of Israel,” but the move was overwhelmingly rejected.

Israeli diplomats, while very much satisfied with the outcome, expressed disappointment that the Soviet Union continued to support the Arab attempt to oust Israel. Israel had specifically requested the USSR to change its position at a meeting here Monday between the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Soviet UN envoy, Alexander Belongov.

Two Communist bloc countries, Poland and Hungary, which recently established low-level diplomatic relations with Israel, were among the absentees. The People’s Republic of China abstained, as it has in past years.

The behavior of Jordan was somewhat of a mystery. On Monday, Jordan and Egypt were the only Arab League members that did not add their signatures to those of 19 Arab countries and the Palestine Liberation Organization on a letter to UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar protesting Israel’s membership in the UN. Nevertheless, Jordan appeared on the list of sponsors of the expulsion amendment, apparently having come under severe pressure from the Arab League.

On Tuesday, however, the Jordanian delegation was absent from the roll call, leading Israeli diplomats to express cautious hope that Jordan may yet cast a vote against Israel’s ouster from the UN.

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