UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 6)
The Palestine Liberation Organization has presented the U.N. Security Council with a list of financial losses Palestinians have incurred as a result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
While the document does not make a formal request for financial assistance, observers believe it could set the stage for the PLO to request compensation in the event of an Iraqi defeat.
While some countries, such as Jordan, have submitted specific requests for financial assistance, the Security Council is not empowered to give money, although it can appeal to member states and U.N. agencies to offset a country’s financial losses.
If the PLO were to make a formal request for assistance, it might run into trouble, say U.N. sources, citing the fact that the PLO only has observer status at the United Nations and is not a member state.
Losses sustained by the PLO and Palestinians in the wake of the Aug. 2 invasion and the ensuing economic sanctions against Iraq total $1.3 billion, according to the document, which was issued by Nasser al-Kidwa, the PLO’s alternative permanent U.N. observer.
This includes $747 million for lost workers’ remittances, exports from the administered territories and aid from the Gulf states.
The PLO letter, dated Oct. 16, was criticized by the director of U.N. affairs for B’nai B’rith International, who said it was the PLO’s supportive stance of the Iraqi invasion that caused the Gulf states to cut their contributions to the PLO.
“Arafat does remind me of the fellow in the Jewish folktale who, after killing his parents, asked the judge for mercy on the grounds he was an orphan,” said Harris Schoenberg.
“In fact, PLO forces under Arafat’s lieutenant, Abul Abbas, have reportedly been helping the Iraqis to loot the country,” he added.
CREDENTIALS VOTE POSTPONED
Meanwhile, the General Assembly has agreed to an Arab request to postpone consideration of a report from its credentials committee. The Arabs reportedly requested the delay so they could introduce a motion criticizing Israel for failing to comply with U.N. resolutions.
Over the past eight years, the normally routine approval of countries’ credentials has meant an Arab-initiated motion to strip Israel’s membership in the General Assembly. The vote is always tabled indefinitely, as a result of a counter-motion submitted by one of the Scandinavian member nations.
The Arab bloc, realizing support to revoke Israel’s credentials has been declining yearly, is apparently counting on the two recent Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel to ease passage of a motion that would approve Israel’s credentials while condemning the Jewish state for not adhering to those resolutions.
The resolutions, both of which were supported by the United States, criticized Israel’s handling of the Oct. 8 riots on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, in which Israeli police killed at least 17 Arabs and wounded more than 130 others.
They also demanded Israeli cooperation with a U.N. investigatory mission, which the Israeli government refused to receive.