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Tekoah: Assembly Vote on Terrorism Resolution Coup De Grace to UN

December 20, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah excoriated the United Nations last night for succumbing to Arab states which support terrorism and charged that the outcome of the debate on terrorism “is virtually a coup de grace to the stature and role of the United Nations in international life.” The Israeli diplomat addressed the General Assembly just prior to the vote approving the resolution on terrorism co-sponsored by 15 African-Asian nations and Yugoslavia last week in the Assembly’s Sixth (Legal) Committee.

The resolution calling for withholding UN action against terrorism pending a 40-state study of its root causes was adopted last night by a vote of 76-36 with 17 abstentions. This vote was almost identical with that of the Sixth Committee vote of 76-34 with 16 abstentions. As in last week’s vote, the United States, Israel, Britain, Canada, Italy and Japan were among the opponents.

Tekoah declared that three months after the debate on terrorism began “the General Assembly is concluding its deliberations on this problem in failure, frustration and futility.” The world body, he stated, “can no longer pretend to be what it is not. In the present circumstances our organization cannot claim to represent international law and morality.” The Israeli noted that it was expected that UN members, in particular the Arab states which support international terrorism, “would attempt to prevent the inscription of the item on the agenda and then try to sabotage its constructive considerations.”

But what was far more ominous, Tekoah observed, was the fact that governments “opposed to international terrorism, and even some which had suffered from it, should have been drawn into voting against their own interests.” He also charged that “certain delegates have been even threatened with letter bombs and other forms of intimidation” to keep them in line. In view of the vote on terrorism and previous votes dealing with the Middle East. “even the most idealistic and hopeful find themselves constrained to conclude that if the United Nations is unable to deal effectively with terrorism it obviously cannot cope with matters more controversial and more complex.”


United States Ambassador George Bush also questioned whether the UN “has the ability to respond to the needs of mankind.” The outgoing envoy scored the Arab-sponsored resolution on terrorism and declared that it was “aimed at raising rather than lowering the level of violence in our troubled world.” Bush predicted that the tragic failure of the UN to come to grips with terrorism would force nations to look outside the world body for decisive action to deal with the threat of terrorism. He added that the U.S. would continue to seek a solution to terrorism through the machinery of the UN.

Other delegates spoke in terms of regret and disappointment. Sir Colin Crowe of Britain expressed criticism of what he termed a “seriously defective resolution” which contained language that “could be taken to suggest that recourse to violence may be legitimate in the exercise of the right to self-determination.”

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