The General Assembly called on Israel today to begin an unconditional withdrawal from occupied Arab territories by Nov. 15 and then endorsed for the first time the right of Palestinians to found "an independent sovereign state" in those territories.
The United States, which had warned that adoption of the resolution would both dramatize and advance the Arab drive to isolate Israel, was joined by only six other nations in voting against the document. The vote of 112 to 7, with 24 abstentions, concluded a week-long emergency assembly session devoted to the issue of Palestinian rights.
The nine members of the European Economic Community abstained on the vote despite American appeals for a common front. Six of the Common Market nations had voted against milder definitions of Palestinian rights at previous sessions of the assembly.
The Europeans coupled their abstentions with an announcement of an EEC exploratory effort to bring Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization into negotiations.
Although none of the participants expects that the terms of the resolution will be carried out, the practical effect of it will be to build an international record for a Palestinian state and to demonstrate widening support for such a concept, U.S. and other delegates said.
The United States and Israel were joined in their opposition to the resolution by Australia, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Norway. In addition to the Common Market countries, the abstentions included Austria, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Portugal, New Zealand, Japan, four Latin American nations, three Asians and one from Africa -- Liberia.
After the vote, Arab League representative Clovis Maksoud reiterated his group's intention to press for the expulsion of Israel from the assembly if the Nov. 15 deadline passes without Israeli compliance.
Israel cannot be ousted from the United Nations itself without Security Council action, which would be blocked by a U.S. veto. But the assembly, in which there is no veto, can reject the credentials of the Israel delegation -- as it has done with South Africa for the last six years -- and thereby bar Israel from participating in the voting and debates of the assembly and its subsidiary organs.
"We are pursuing this line openly," Maksoud said, adding that "this will enhance the credibility of the U. N."
The resolution in its final form was modified by the Arabs to omit a call for immediate sanctions against Israel and a specific provision for the creation of a U. N. military force to supervise Israeli withdrawal. It also omitted a provision that the United Nations turn over Palestinian territories evacuated by Israel to the PLO.
The final text reaffirms earlier assembly definitions of Palestinian rights and demands that Israel comply with U. N. resolutions calling on it not to alter the status of Jerusalem.
It asks the Security Council, in the event of Israeli noncompliance, to consider the imposition of sanctions against Israel. And it leaves the door open for the reconvening of the emergency special session "upon request from member states."
The Arabs contend that this resolution, unlike actions by regular sessions of the assembly, which are simply recommendations to governments, is legally binding. They note that it was adopted under the terms of the 1950 "Uniting for Peace" resolution, which was pushed through the assembly by the West at the time of the Korean War to transfer from the Security Council authority over issues affecting international security when the council is blocked by a veto.
Maksoud said that the special assembly session would be reconvened to seek sanctions against Israel under the Uniting for Peace provision if the council is unable to act.
"This was not a uniting for peace assembly," Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Blum insisted after the adjournment. "This was a uniting against peace."
Blum also informed the assembly of Israel's total rejection of the specific provisions in the resolution and the legality of the session itself.He insisted that "the peace process" initiated with Egypt "will go on despite these efforts to torpedo it."
For the Carter administration, the only solace was that further Arab use of the U.N. forum to bolster the international consensus on Palestinian rights and against the Camp David process is not likely to take place until after the Nov. 4 presidential election.
The Arabs have said they set the Nov. 15 deadline in hopes that Washington would be more amenable to their demands once the domestic election campaign has ended.
U. S. Representative William Vanden Heuvel, in explaining his vote, said that the call for unconditional Israeli withdrawal "seeks to undermine Resolution 242," the 1967 Security Council text that sets the ground rules for peace talks and, he noted, remains the "one agreed basis for a comprehensive settlement."
The Europeans and a number of other countries also expressed reservations about the absence from the present text of any reference to the guarantees of Israel security and legitimacy contained in Resolution 242.
In another development today, Nathan Perlmutter, National Director of Bnai B'rith, issued a statement attacking Secretary General Kurt Waldheim for taking sides in the Mideast. Waldheim, in off-the-cuff remarks at an Arab League dinner last week, backed the concept of a Palestinian right to statehood.