U.s.s.r Attacks Israel at U.n.; Britain and U.s Scold Israel for Raid
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U.s.s.r Attacks Israel at U.n.; Britain and U.s Scold Israel for Raid

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Israel was today castigated by the Soviet Union, severely scolded by Britain, lectured by the United States and practically absolved of major blame by France when the United Nations Security Council resumed its debate on Syria’s complain against Israel’s retaliatory raid on Syrian positions in the Lake Tiberias area December 11.

The most vicious attack against Israel was made at today’s session by Arkady A. Sobolev, head of the Soviet delegation. He said that Israel had “committed a deliberate and sudden attack” on Syrian territory and that this attack had been “carefully prepared in advance.” He also claimed that Israeli armed forces had violated the demilitarized zone established by the armistice agreement.

Such action by Israel, the Soviet delegate declared, was “a grave violation” of the armistice agreement and of the UN Charter. He emphasized that it was not possible for him to agree with Israel’s explanation that the attack was in reprisal for Syrian firing at Israeli fishing boats on Lake Tiberias. He repeatedly expressed regret over Syria’s “losses,” but not once mentioned Israel’s casualties.

With two draft resolutions before the Council–one sponsored by France, Britain and the United States, while the other is a Soviet effort amending an even more severe Syrian proposal–Mr. Sobolev took exception to the Western resolution. He claimed that the “Big Three” resolution places some of the blame on Syria.


It was not the first time, Mr. Sobolev said, that Israel was attempting to justify its “wholly unjustifiable attacks” by its alleged right to retaliate. He recalled in this context that the Security Council, in resolutions, had severely condemned Israeli action against Jordan in Kibya and Egypt in the Gaza area. In these two cases, continued Mr. Sobolev, Israel had likewise attempted to justify its actions by claiming the right to retaliate. The passage of these two resolutions by the Security Council should have served as a “serious lesson” to Israel and one should have assumed that Israel would have taken account of these resolutions. Regrettably, however, the Lake Tiberias incident showed the opposite.

The Soviet delegate paid tribute “to the restraint exercised by Syria” and insisted that Israel should not only be “severely condemned” by the Security Council but should be “invited” by the Council to pay Syria compensation. He emphasized that the Soviet delegation did not share the attempt by certain delegations to place the blame also on Syria. “The Security Council,” he declared, “could not get away from the necessity to state clearly in its resolution that a totally unprovoked attack against Syria had been committed by Israeli armed forces and that the Government of Israel must be solemnly warned in this connection. Only by doing so could the Security Council help to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future and the strengthening of peace in the area.” Mr. Sobolev asserted.


Sir Pierson Dixon, the British delegate, told the Security Council that the December 11 incident had been “shocking” and “grave.” He commended Syria for the “restraint” it had shown following the attack, He pointed out that Israel had already been condemned for previous attacks at Kibya, Nahalin and Gaza, all of which were “calculated military operations” involving in some instances loss of life “on an appalling scale.”

Emphasizing that “peace cannot be won by violent means, “Sir Pierson declared that attacks like those carried out by Israel “prejudiced the possibility” of getting the full benefits to both sides out of the armistice agreements between Israel and the Arab states. Referring to the December 11 incident as” einous, “Sir Pierson said that Israel’s whole principle of retaliation is “morally and politically wrong,” is “unworthy of her,” and furthermore “does not pay.”

Sir Pierson stressed that retaliatory actions were “totally unjustifiable.” Because of this, he said, his delegation, together with France and the United States, was asking for a condemnation of the Israeli attack as a flagrant violation of the Security Council resolutions, the armistice agreements and Israel’s obligations under the United Nations Charter. He emphasized the warning to Israel contained in the three-power draft resolution. This text, he declared, dispensed impartial justice, something that could not be said of the Soviet amended Syrian resolution. The latter, he contended, was not in order under the Council’s rules. He asked for priority in voting for the three-power proposal.


Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., head of the American delegation, said the United States, in sponsoring the three-power resolution, had underlined its grave concern over the question. The main objective, he said, was to prevent the recurrence of such actions and he felt the Council could not fail to condemn the Israeli action. No government, he declared, should take the law into its own hands. If was very serious, Mr. Lodge stressed, that a member of the United Nations, “indeed a member created by the United Nations,” should be before the Security Council for the fourth time in two years on such a charge Such actions as the one on December 11 only inflamed existing hostility, he said and no declarations of willingness to negotiate could alter this fact.

The United States had given most careful thought to the question of compensation, he went on, but had been unable, in view of the difficulties involved, to propose an adequate solution. The United States, however, did not disagree with the principle of compensation and felt that, in a separate resolution, the Security Council could establish the necessary machinery in this field. What Mr. Lodge though was most important was that both parties should observe their obligations and cooperate in making full use of the machinery of the Mixed Armistice Commission. The United States, he added, was impressed by the suggestions to improve the situation made by General Burns, who, he declared, had the “full backing” of the United States Government.

Herve Alphand of France was the first at this morning’s session to say anything at all of a really friendly nature as far as Israel was concerned. The French delegate was the only one to point out that UN truce chief Gen. Burns himself had reported that Israel had seized Syrian Army documents proving that Syria had planned provocations in violation of the armistice agreement.

Obviously referring to the fact that Syria’s Ahmed Shukairy had told the Council plainly that Damascus does not recognize Israel’s frontiers, the French delegate declared that he was “painfully impressed by certain statements” heard in the Council chamber in connection with this dispute. He reminded the Council that “Syrian armed forces are not entitled” to gun positions on Lake Tiberias and further that Syria cannot “establish by itself a zone on the lake, all of which is Israel territory.”

Dr. Joza Brilej, addressing the Council for the first time this year on behalf of Yugoslavia, one of the new members, took a position which on the whole seemed very close to the stand assumed earlier today by the Soviet delegation. In terms much milder than those used by Mr. Sobolev, Dr. Brilej nevertheless deprecated Israel’s “shocking” attack, expressed sympathy for the Syrian casualties and material losses, commended Syria for its restraint, and expressed the hope that the Security Council would take a “positive stand in regard to the needs for compensation.”

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