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Scranton Denounces Palestine Committee Report; Says U.S. Will Vote ‘no’ on Resolution Calling on Gen

November 24, 1976
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States today strongly condemned the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. U.S. Ambassador William W. Scranton called the committee’s report “totally devoid of balance with conclusions that are unworkable and recommendations which prejudice the outcome of negotiations” and “frankly and bluntly, that make the UN look ridiculous.” He declared flatly that the U.S. would vote “No” on a resolution calling on the General Assembly to endorse the report. The voting will take place tomorrow. (See separate story from UN on anti-Israel resolutions adopted today.)

The report of the 20-member committee recommends Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories by June, 1977 and the establishment of a Palestinian entity under the aegis of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Scranton stated, in his address to the General Assembly today, that the “legitimate aspirations” of the Palestinians are one of the central issues in the Middle East conflict. The committee’s report is based on that premise but “without consideration of other vital and absolutely essential issues,” in the Middle East, he said.

“There is no mention of the right of an Israel to exist in the Middle East,” the American envoy said. “The need for the Palestinians to accept the legitimacy and reality of the State of Israel is utterly ignored. The maintenance of normal and peaceful relations with Israel within the framework of an overall peace settlement is not mentioned.”

Moreover, Scranton pointed out, “nowhere in the recommendations is there the stipulation that the Arab states as well as Israel must join in ending the state of war and in arriving at a peaceful settlement in the area. Even these few examples make clear the one-sidedness and lack of balance in the committee’s report,” Scranton said.


He also charged that the committee’s recommendations “pre-judge the outcome of negotiations–negotiations that must take place between the parties themselves in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,” He said the General Assembly cannot impose a solution “It is senseless because it will not work.”

Scranton rejected the recommendation that Israel pull out of the occupied areas by next June. That demand conflicts with Resolutions 242 and 338 which call for “negotiations between the parties concerned for the purpose of settling all outstanding problems.” he said. He also objected to the recommendations proposing that the Palestine committee’s mandate be extended for another year. “No constructive purpose will be served by this action” and it would not contribute in any way to future negotiations between the parties themselves,” he said.

Referring to another recommendation that the committee’s report be re-submitted to the Security Council, Scranton maintained that no progress would be achieved thereby toward a resolution of the-Middle East conflict. He noted that the Security Council considered the Palestine committee’s report when it was submitted last June and was vetoed by the U.S.

Concluding, Scranton said: “Recently we have been reading and hearing about the possibility of another effort for peace in the Middle East, I am one of those who believes that such an opportunity exists. I hope and pray it will be undertaken. For the General Assembly cannot impose peace in the Middle East dispute. Lasting peace can come only through negotiations by the parties directly involved. The talking should stop and the negotiating begin. The framework for these negotiations exists–the framework established by the UN. Diplomatic channels are open. This Assembly should get on with its other work.”

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