NOTE CAREFULLY, please, the sequence: In 1974, upon Arab complaint, UNESCO formally condemned Israel for allegedly depriving Arabs in the occupied territories of educational and cultural opportunities. Last year, in what has to be seen in the UNESCO context as an explosive breakthrough for fairness, the organization got around to dispatching an experts' mission to Israel to investigate the charges for which it had issued the condemnation in 1974. Okay, got that? Now pay heed.

In his report, the chairman of the investigating team, a Belgian Middle East expert named paul Marc Henri, seems to have substantially cleared Israel of the earlier charges against it. But UNESCO Director General Amadou Mahtar M'Bow has refused to make the report public. It was meant to be a confidential report, he has explained, and, furthermore, it is politically sensitive. It is further suggested that the suppression of the Henri report is actually in Israel's own best interests. So at the current UNESCO general conference in Paris, UNESCO is not being called upon to receive the Henri report and consider whether it provides reason to expunge its earlier condemnation of Israel. The Arab delegations are proceeding with fresh attacks.

We know there is a certain tendency to shrug at such a table, and to regard the Israelis as, well, really, you know, kind of pushy to want to have their name cleared, and, anyway, why not avoid making waves and get on with other things. There is a trace of this attitude at the State Department, too, we regret to say. We cannot go along. Mr. M'Bow's performance is squalid. The Arab and other delegations deserve contempt for using their muscle in violation of elementary notions of internal fair play, even as Middle East talks go on.