The Security Council voted 13-0 last night to condemn Israel for its April 12 commando raid on six Lebanese villages and condemned “all acts of violence” but did not mention the terrorist massacre of 18 persons in Kiryat Shemona a day earlier. The document was denounced as “a singularly gross miscarriage of Justice” by Israel’s UN Ambassador, Yosef Tekoah, who led the Israeli delegation out of the Council chamber minutes before it came up for a vote.
The contents of the resolution were known here several days ago but the vote was delayed until last night because no member nation was prepared to sponsor it at this sensitive juncture in Middle East diplomacy. The United States, which had promised to veto any “one-sided” resolution supported the draft. U.S. Ambassador John Scali said afterwards that the condemnation of all acts of violence applied to the massacre at Kiryat Shemona.
But he expressed regret that a U.S. sponsored amendment which referred specifically to the events at Kiryat Shemona had been defeated earlier by a vote of 7-6 with two abstentions. The final draft was approved by 13 of the 15 Council members. China and Iraq did not participate in the vote.
GROSS MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE
U.S. approval of a resolution that the Israeli Ambassador denounced as “another example of the bias and inequity which prevail in Security Council debates on the Middle East.” was seen in some quarters here as evidence of American unwillingness to antagonize the Arab states on the eve of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s latest trip to the Middle East and at a time when the U.S. is seeking political leverage in that region through the use of substantial aid funds.
Tekoah’s statement before the vote was bitter. He reiterated his charge that Lebanon harbored the terrorists who committed the mass murders in Kiryat Shemona and said that instead of taking measures to end terrorist operations from its territory, Lebanon had lodged a complaint against Israel.
“The resolution speaks of stones and bricks. It does not even mention the massacre of Kiryat Shemona, though we are aware that an attempt has been made to include such reference.” Tekoah said, referring to Scali’s amendment. “Without a reference to the Kiryat Shemona massacre and in all its studied one-sidedness, the resolution and its adoption are a singularly gross miscarriage of justice…My delegation will not be a witness to the travesty about to take place here.” the Israeli envoy said. Whereupon the Israeli delegation left the chamber.
JEWISH LEADERS CRITICAL OF U.S. VOTE
Herman L. Weisman, president of the Zionist Organization of America, today expressed his “profound disappointment” at the failure of the U.S. to veto the Council resolution. Noting that the U.S.
Naomi Levine, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, said: The Council’s censure of Israel without any mention of the butchery at Kiryat Shemona, “is only the latest instance of the anti-Israel bias that pervades the United Nations. It is a dismal reminder that the UN is not an institution for the keeping of international peace but a forum for the venting of political vendettas and a loudspeaker for Arab propaganda: We deeply regret that the U.S. delegate voted for this one-sided resolution. The honorable course for our country’s representative would have been to veto it.”
Rabbi Louis Bernstein, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, said, “Until now, our American government has stood staunchly for the principles of truth and fairness in the United Nations. That our government has now compromised these principles and surrendered to expediency and joined the pack of those courting the favors of petty dictators. imperialists and oil magnates can only dismay those who have held up American policy as a symbol of justice and freedom.”
A delegation representing the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations is scheduled to meet this afternoon with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger where they are expected to express, among other things, their displeasure with the U.S. vote in the Security Council.
SCALI EXPLAINS REASON FOR U.S. VOTE
Late this afternoon Scali explained the U.S. vote by noting that “we would have preferred explicit references to Kiryat Shemona.” However, even without this, “we concluded that the resolution was acceptable because it condemns equally the Israeli reprisal and all acts of violence.” Scali added that the U.S. attached great importance to getting Council approval of that section of the resolution which called on all parties to avoid any action which might endanger negotiations in the Mideast on the eve of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s trip to the area. “This is a useful reminder to all concerned about the need to avoid violence or military action of any kind that might jeopardize our peace efforts.”
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.