Arabs Switching Tactics This Year in Drive to Unseat Israel at U.N.

As predictable as the change in seasons, summer giving way to fall in the United Nations has meant, at least for the past eight years, an Arab-initiated move to revoke Israel’s U.N. credentials.

The annual drive has yet to succeed, and each year, in fact, voting has swung progressively in Israel’s favor. Last year, 95 countries voted to table the resolution while 37 supported its consideration. In 1988, the vote was 95-41.

But this year, perhaps in recognition of the shifting seasons in world relations and expectations the Soviet Union will vote to uphold Israel’s membership, the Arab bloc is considering a switch in tactics that would instead move to reaffirm Israel’s obligation to uphold U.N. resolutions issued by the Security Council and General Assembly.

Besides having a better chance of winning support, such a resolution would draw attention to the Israeli-administered territories and might call for Israel’s withdrawal from those areas, captured during the Six-Day War of 1967.

The resolution, expected to be brought before the General Assembly this week, would also be a reminder of Israel’s refusal to receive the U.N. mission slated to investigate the Oct. 8 riots on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, in which at least 17 Arabs were shot dead by Israeli police.

The U.N. investigation was requested in an Oct. 12 Security Council resolution backed by the United States and reaffirmed last week in a second unanimous Security Council vote.

SECRETARY-GENERAL PREPARING REPORT

Israeli officials here have released a statement condemning the possible vote in the U.N. General Assembly. It links the new approach to Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat’s realization that it will again be impossible to have Israel unseated in the United Nations.

“So the PLO came up with another trick, mainly to turn Israel into a second-rate member state of the United Nations,” an Israeli press spokesman said, reading from the statement.

The statement also says that if the motion passes, it will only divert world attention from Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait and will serve to damage the United Nations’ international role.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar is preparing his report to the Security Council concerning the Temple Mount shootings, which is expected to be presented sometime this week.

Israeli officials have tried to have Israel’s own investigation findings accepted by the secretary-general in lieu of a U.N. inquiry, but this has so far been viewed as insufficient to fulfill the requirements of the Oct. 12 resolution.

Israel’s own report, issued last Friday, blamed the Arabs for inciting the riots, which started with the stoning of Jews worshiping at the Western Wall below and ended in Israeli police firing with automatic weapons on the thousands of demonstrating Arabs. But it criticized the “uncontrolled” use of live ammunition.

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