UNITED NATIONS (Mar. 20)
The U.N. General Assembly met in a special session Friday to discuss for the second time this month the closing of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s observer mission to the United Nations.
Diplomats said that the Arabs pressed for the session to condemn the United States following an order issued March 11 by the U.S. Justice Department ordering the PLO mission be closed by March 21.
Diplomats conceded Friday that the assembly meeting is “redundant” inasmuch as the General Assembly voted 143-1 on March 2 for a resolution calling on the United States to allow the mission to remain open under the U.N. Headquarters Agreement. Israel cast the only negative vote and the United States did not vote.
An American official told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Friday that the United States does not intend to participate in the current debate and has not decided whether to participate in the voting. He claimed that the whole purpose of the meeting is “to embarrass the United States.”
A spokesman for Israel’s mission to the United Nations said Israel does not plan to participate in the debate.
At the opening of the debate Friday, Ambassador Ahmad Ghezal of Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the Arab states, called the U.S. decision to close the PLO mission “a flagrant violation of international law.”
He said that the United Nations must take steps to insure that the PLO had adequate facilities.
On Thursday night, more than 250 members of the North American Jewish Students Network demonstrated across the street from the PLO’s observer mission here and read a symbolic “eviction notice” to the PLO.
On Sunday, some two dozen members of the militant Jewish Defense Group staged a protest outside the PLO mission. Members of the group threw rocks at the building, but apparently caused little damage.
Thursday’s student demonstration followed a rally of solidarity with Israel at Park East Synagogue attended by some 700 students. Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed the rally, calling for continued support of world Jewry for the people of Israel.