Israel to Attend Geneva Session, but Will Boycott Arafat Speech

Israel will attend the U.N. General Assembly’s session next week in Geneva, where its annual debate on Palestine has been moved so that Yasir Arafat can be heard.

Israel’s acting ambassador to the United Nations, Yohanan Bein, will address the assembly, Haaretz reported Tuesday. But when the Palestine Liberation Organization chairman delivers his speech, the Israeli delegation will walk out.

Arafat was denied an entry visa by the U.S. State Department to address the General Assembly in New York.

The debate on Palestine, to have opened there on Dec. 1, was postponed until Dec. 13. The assembly voted overwhelmingly last Friday to shift the session to Geneva, where Arafat is welcome.

There had been some doubt whether Israel and the United States, the only nations to vote against the move, would attend. The U.S. State Department indicated last week that the American delegation would be in Geneva.

In New York, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Mission to the United Nations confirmed that Bein will attend the meeting in Geneva.

The Israeli envoy will attempt to refute a broad consensus in Europe that the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers last month took significant steps toward the recognition of Israel, acceptance of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and the renunciation of terrorism.

An Israeli information team, headed by Moshe Raviv, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s information bureau, will attend the Geneva session.

At the United Nations in New York, meanwhile, Bein addressed the General Assembly on Tuesday during its annual debate on “the situation in the Middle East.”

The theme of his remarks was that the region’s troubles do not arise from the Arab-Israeli conflict but rather from “the wars, subversions and assassinations which Middle Eastern states practice with such alacrity.

“Israel baiting,” he said, “is the only instance in which they find fraternal fulfillment.”

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