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Israel Trying to Head off UN Assembly Session on Palestine

July 16, 1980
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Israel is engaged in a last-minute effort in major capitals around the world to head off a special emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly on Palestine, scheduled to begin next week, sources here told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.

But, the sources said, Israel stands no chance of avoiding the meeting which the Arab states and their supporters have been planning for some time and which they intend to use as a major offensive against Israel. According to these sources, the foreign ministers of leading Third World countries will participate in the special session in support of Arab and Palestine Liberation Organization claims against Israel.

The session was requested by the Arabs after a similar bid in the Security Council was vetoed by the United States. It will be held under a “united for peace” procedure which allows the General Assembly to assume some of the tasks of the Security Council when the latter is deadlocked by a veto.


A working paper in preparation for the upcoming debate, inspired by the PLO, was circulated here. It calls on Israel “to completely withdraw its forces from all the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and urges that such withdrawal from all occupied areas should start no later than 15 November, 1980.”

The working paper, which is a prelude to a draft resolution, also requests the Secretary General “to establish the necessary UN force to supervise and confirm the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories, including Jerusalem.” It calls further for the implementation of the right of the Palestinians for statehood and their return to their homes and property which they left or to receive compensation.


An Israeli spokesman at the UN said that Israel will charge that the special meeting of the General Assembly is “illegal” and ignores the rules of procedure of the UN. The spokesman said, “We see in this upcoming session a continuation of the exploitation of the UN by the Arabs in their war against Israel.” He noted that in the last few months, Israel has been condemned at the UN at least seven times.

Under UN rules, the Secretary General is required to canvass all member states before a special session can be called. A majority of 77 countries is necessary. So far only 10 have responded, nine of them supporting a special session. A UN spokesman said today that the U.S. replied in the negative.

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