Foreign Minister Abba Eban said today that last night’s Security Council resolution condemning Israel for raids on Lebanon was further proof of the Council’s “one-sidedness” and “imbalance.” He specifically rejected the resolution’s call for the release of one Lebanese and five Syrian officers captured in Lebanon by Israeli forces Wednesday. Israel will not agree to their return except within the framework of a general prisoner-of-war exchange, Eban told newsmen here.
The Foreign Minister’s remarks were the first official reaction here to the resolution condemning “the repeated attacks of Israeli forces on Lebanese territory and population” which the Security Council adopted by a 13-0 vote. The United States and Panama abstained on grounds that the resolution did not equally condemn Arab acts of terrorism as it had the Israeli attacks. A US resolution that placed equal weight on the actions of both sides was with drawn before the voting. The resolution called on Israel “to desist forthwith from any violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon” and expressed “the strong desire” that appropriate steps would be taken for the immediate release of the captured officers.
CENSURE EXPECTED, SAYS EBAN
Eban said that when Israel decided on its action against terrorists in Lebanon it took into account a probable censure by the Security Council. Eban noted that half the members of the Council do not have diplomatic relations with Israel and the others tend to adapt themselves to this situation. He said that Soviet and Arab tactics are to formulate blatant drafts and the others say they are helping Israel by forwarding resolutions of their own which are less extreme. Last night’s resolution was drafted by Western European nations. Its language was less harsh than that demanded by the Arabs, a factor that averted a US veto but opened it to sharp criticism by China and some what milder criticism by the Soviet Union. The US Ambassador, George Bush, said it did not meet the criteria laid down for US approval.
Eban said Israel should not minimize the fact that the resolution was not adopted unanimously. He noted that the history of the Security Council shows that resolutions on which one of the major powers has abstained have little chance of being implemented. However, he said Israel would lodge protests in the capitals of certain nations considered friendly to it which nevertheless supported the resolution. (Israel’s UN Ambassador Yosef Tekoah denounced the resolution after the vote. He called it “an affront to the victims of Arab atrocities and a travesty of Justice.” He warned that It could have “grave repercussions” on the Middle East situation if it encourages the terrorists to continue their attacks.)
Eban said Israel had two purposes when it decided to attack terrorist strongholds in Lebanon last week. He said the first was to demonstrate to the Lebanese authorities that the presence of terrorists in Lebanon undermines their sovereignty and security and involves them in fighting with Israel. The second objective, he said, was to point out to Lebanon that despite the international backing it can muster, it has to confront Israel if it continues to permit terrorist operations from its territory.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.