Issues Affecting Israel Placed on Agenda of U.N. General Assembly
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Issues Affecting Israel Placed on Agenda of U.N. General Assembly

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Three points of specific concern to Israel — and several other items of interest to Jewry in general — are on the provisional agenda of the 17th session of the General Assembly, issued here today. The Assembly is scheduled to convene September 18.

The matters of direct interest to Israel refer to the United Nations Emergency Force, on guard against Arab-Israeli conflicts in the Gaza Strip and at Sharm el-Sheikh, overlooking the Gulf of Akaba; and the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

The 79-point agenda contains two separate items dealing with UNEF. One deals with the routine annual report of UNEF operations and the annual budget for maintenance of the Force. The other refers to the advisory opinion handed down by the International Court of Justice which ruled last week, 9-5, that all member states must share in the costs of UNEF and of the U.N. operations in the Congo. A stiff fight on approval of the Court’s ruling is expected here, since the decision is aimed sharply at the Soviet and Arab countries which have, thus far, refused to pay their shares of the UNEF costs.

As to the Arab refugee question, there will also be two separate reports. One will be by the Palestine Conciliation Commission and its special Middle East envoy. Dr. Joseph E. Johnson, who has been charged for the second successive year with the task of finding some possible easement of the Arab refugee problem in consultation with the Arab states affected and with Israel. Both the Davis and the Johnson reports are certain to involve heated debates.


This year’s Assembly faces a major decision in connection with the Arab refugee problem. The current mandate of the agency caring for the refugees expires June 30, 1963. Since the United States Government pays about 70 per cent of the UNRWA budget, and has to date spent more than $250,000,000 to aid the refugees through UNRWA alone, the Washington Administration’s plans in regard to UNRWA could well be decisive here. Thus far, however, the U.S. delegation has announced none of its plans regarding the continuation of the UNRWA after its term expires.

In connection with the refugee debate, it is also likely that another resolution may be introduced by African and Latin American delegations, calling for direct, face-to-face peace negotiations between the Arab states and Israel. Sixteen members introduced such a resolution last year, but the draft was defeated when the Western powers, led by the United States, refused to back it.

The agenda items of interest to the world Jewish community at large deal mainly with human rights. There are three distinct items on the agenda in this field. One concerns possible progress in the adoption of two international covenants on human rights, a subject under debate here for nearly nine years. Another proposes a U.N. declaration on the right of asylum. The third would condemn racial prejudice and national and religious intolerance in the countries of all member states.

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