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U.S. Insists Vote in Council Condemned Raid, Not Israel, Which Remains ‘friend, Ally’

June 22, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United States has made it clear that it regards the Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s June 7 air attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor to be a condemnation of the act itself but not of Israel which, according to the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Jeane Kirkpatrick, “We in the Reagan Administration are proud to call … a friend and ally.”

Mrs. Kirkpatrick and Iraqi Foreign Minister Saadun Hamadi hammered out the draft resolution adopted unanimously by the Security Council Friday, during two days of intensive private discussions at the offices of Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. Their objective was to arrive at a text acceptable to Iraq but not so harsh as to make a U.S. veto unavoidable. Kirkpatrick stressed in her speech to the Council that while her country condemned Israel’s destruction of the reactor, this does not change America’s commitment to Israel.

But Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Yehuda Blum, angrily denounced the resolution in a statement after its adoption. “Israel unreservedly rejects the biased and one sided resolution just adopted, “he said. “The resolution fits into the pattern of so many resolutions of the same kind which have consistently and deliberately ignored the root cause of the Arab-Israel conflict and all of its manifestations, namely the refusal of most Arab countries to come to terms with Israel’s existence and their avowed intention, expressed in their ongoing aggression against my country, to bring about its liquidation,” Blum said.

Kirkpatrick said that, from the beginning, the U.S. opposed any “unfairly punitive” measures against Israel. “Yes, Israel should be condemned; yes the International Atomic Energy Agency (should be) strengthened and respected by all nations; and yes, Israel’s neighbors should, each in its own right, enter into negotiation with her to resolve their differences,” she said.


The American envoy added, however that Israel is an important, valued ally of the U.S. “Nothing has happened in any way which alters the strength of our commitment or the warmth of our feelings. We in the Reagan Administration are proud to call Israel a friend and ally. Nevertheless, we believe the means Israel chose to quiet its fears have hurt and not helped peace and security in the area,” she said.

Blum called the resolution “a travesty … an utter travesty,” from which the Iraqis “can only derive encouragement … in pursuit of its lawless conduct” and “so will other rejectionist Arab states determined to block the peace process in the Middle East. At the same time, this resolution can only further reduce the already low standing of the United Nations and of this Council in the eyes of people of good will throughout the world. Israel rejects the attempt to condemn an action carried out in the exercise of legitimate self-defense … Israel will treat this resolution with the respect it so richly deserves,” Blum said.

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