GENEVA (Jul. 29)
Israel’s first-time admission to a regional commission of the United Nations improves the chances for peace in the Middle East, Israel’s U.N. ambassador said at a news conference here Monday.
The envoy, Yitzhak Lior, was commenting on Israel’s acceptance by the U.N. Economic and Social Council, known as ECOSOC, to be a full member of its Economic Commission for Europe.
Israel formally took its seat on the Geneva-based Commission on Friday.
“Any departure from the traditional pattern of singling out Israel for discriminatory treatment increases, among other things, the chances for a peaceful settlement of the Middle East conflict,” Lior said, referring to the 32-14 vote by ECOSOC on July 23 which admitted Israel to membership on the panel.
It was rare victory for the Jewish state in the world organization. Nevertheless, according to Lior, “Israel’s unique problems in this forum are far from being over.
“But this step in the right direction inspires a measure of optimism,” he said.
ECOSOC has five regional commissions. Geographically, Israel belongs in the Economic and Social Council for Western Asia. But in 1973, that body decided to restrict its membership to countries utilizing the services of ECOSOC’s office in Beirut, a decision taken for the obvious purpose of excluding Israel.