Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Anti-israel Resolution Virtually Certain of Adoption in the UN

July 28, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A draft resolution sponsored by 29 states, proposing that the United Nations General Assembly call an Israel to withdraw totally from all Arab territory occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War, is scheduled for a vote this week and virtually certain adoption.

The draft resolution was formally proposed Friday night after its backers discarded a proposal, contained in earlier drafts, to create a UN force or some other machinery to supervise and control Israeli withdrawal “from all the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since June, 1967.”

The action by countries backing a Palestinian state came after reports that the United States had failed to persuade the nine-member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) to vote against the draft resolution. The nine member states, in an apparent effort to underline their independence from the United States, indicated they would abstain on the vote.

The draft to be submitted this week to the Assembly also lacked an earlier proposal for a boycott of Israel and for the turnover of occupied areas, first to the UN and then to the Palestine Liberation Organization. But the draft does reaffirm the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state and insists on the PLO as the bargaining agent for Arabs in the occupied territories.


Since the draft has nothing to say about Israel’s right to exist, it was understood that, barring an unexpected change, the nine EEC countries would not vote for it. While the General Assembly is expected to approve the modified draft version by a heavy majority, observers noted that the Assembly has no power to enforce it. Israel has made it clear it will ignore the resolution. The Assembly was called into emergency session after the United States vetoed last April a Security Council resolution endorsing Palestinian statehood.

The debate Friday, the fourth day of the emergency Assembly session, was marked by a United State walkout, the second U.S. walkout in UN history. William Vanden Heuvel, the deputy U.S. representative, led the walkout after Iran’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Al Shams Ardekani, began a bitter attack on U.S. policies and “parasitic Israel.”

The U.S. deputy representative, referring to the walkout, said “we owed it to the hostages,” the 52 Americans held in Teheran since the U.S. Embassy was seized last Nov. 4. The U.S. delegation returned to the session after the Iranian statement was completed. The first U.S. walkout took place on Oct. 15, 1965 when the then Ambassador, Arthur Goldberg, reacted to a sharp verbal attack by Cuba with a departure from the chamber.


Vanden Heuvel, in his address to the Assembly, focussed on the draft resolution’s failure to include any reference to Israel’s right to exist. The proposals contained in it, he said, are “totally one-sided and totally unrealistic.” They “make no attempt to understand, much less accept, Israel’s concern for its security. Nor do they make any attempt to understand, much less reflect, a realistic procedure for moving toward peace through concrete agreements.”

The American representative reiterated the U.S. position that the Palestinian people “should have the opportunity to secure for themselves…. the right to responsible political expression” and that the Camp David formula remains the only viable avenue of negotiations.

The closest he come to admonishing Israel was a call to “those who would foster peace to take no steps that would undermine or perceive to be as undermining the prospect of achieving a negotiated settlement.” He added that this “applies equally to Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab countries, indeed to all of us represented here.”

Egypt, at the Friday session, denounced both Israel and Egypt’s critics. Boutros Ghali, Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister, declared that a pending bill in the Knesset to make Jerusalem Israel’s permanent capital, could endanger the logging peace talks. Ghali called the Knesset bill “a flagrant violation of international law” and charged Israel with “greedy ambitions, inflexibility and anachronistic and fanatical arguments.”

(In Jerusalem, Israel Radio said Friday that Egypt will recall its Ambassador if Premier Menachem Begin goes through with his intention to move his office into East Jerusalem. According to the radio report, which quoted Western European sources, President Anwar Sadat would regard the move as a unilateral step toward annexation of East Jerusalem.)


It was reported, meanwhile, that UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, addressing a dinner given by the Arab League Friday night, called for the establishment of a Palestinian state and reiterated his view that the Palestine Liberation Organization must be brought into the peace process. On July 7 Waldheim said in Tunis that the PLO’s participation in the peace talks was of prime importance, but he made no mention of a Palestinian state at that time.

Recommended from JTA