UNITED NATIONS (Mar. 2)
The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for two resolutions aimed against a U.S. order to close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s United Nations observer mission in New York, effective March 21.
Both resolutions were supported by 143 countries.
Israel was the only country to vote against the first of them, which calls on the United States “to abide by its treaty obligations and to provide assurances that no action will be taken that would infringe” on the functions of the PLO observer mission.
Israel did not participate in the second vote, which was for a resolution asking the General Assembly to seek an opinion from the World Court in The Hague as to whether the United States, as a party to the 1947 Headquarters Agreement with the United Nations, is obliged under international law to enter into arbitration of the dispute.
An Israeli diplomat explained to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Israel decided not to participate in the vote on that resolution, because it dealt with juridical matters to which Israel is not a party.
The United States did not participate in cither vote. The U.S. ambassador, Herbert Okun, said after the voting that the United States regards the special session of the General Assembly convened to debate the issue as “premature and inappropriate.”
“The U.S. has not yet taken action affecting the functioning of any mission or invitee,” Okun explained. He said that as U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar stated in his report to the General Assembly of Feb. 25, “the U.S. government has made no final decision concerning the application and enforcement of recently passed U.S. legislation, the Anti-Terrorist Act of 1987, with respect to the Permanent Observer Mission to the U.N. in New York.”
‘UNNECESSARY AND PREMATURE’
Okun added, “For this reason, we can only view as unnecessary and premature the holding at this time of the resumed session of the 42nd General Assembly.” The 42nd General Assembly opened last September and continues until next September, though not in regular session.
The dispute with the United States stems from legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Reagan on Dec. 22. The United Nations maintains the law violates the Headquarters Agreement, and it has been seeking to take the matter to arbitration.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Benjamin Netanyahu, was the last speaker in more than two days of debate on the issue, which started Monday, when the special General Assembly session opened.
Mounting the podium only minutes before the voting began Wednesday, the Israeli envoy said the question before the General Assembly is not the closure of the PLO observer mission, but rather “whether the PLO should be in the U.N. in the first place.”
Netanyahu charged that the PLO is dedicated to the eradication of the State of Israel through “armed struggle and violence.” He said this principal idea of the PLO is in sharp contradiction to the basic principles of the U.N. Charter, which calls for non-violent solutions to all conflicts and disputes.
“The PLO is constitutionally incapable of non-violence and reconciliation,” because the only solution to the conflict with Israel that it advocates is a violent one, Netanyahu said. He said the PLO is responsible for international terrorism in the last 20 years “more than any other group or state in the world.”