The Security Council voted unanimously today to "strongly condemn" Israel's raid on an Iraqi nuclear reactor, as the United States charged that the attack undercut Middle East peace efforts.
U.S. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, speaking just before the 15-0 vote, said the destruction of the Osirak reactor near Baghdad on June 7 was "shocking" because "diplomatic means available to Israel had not been exhausted."
In the sharpest public rebuke to the Israelis yet heard from the Reagan administration, Kirkpatrick equated the raid with the "brutal" Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the "shocking violence" of the occupation of Chad by Libya, "whose principal exports are oil and terror."
"Each of these acts of violence," she went on, "gravely jeopardizes the peace and security of the entire area," and "threatens global peace."
The harshness of these charges was cushioned somewhat by the reassurance in the speech, which had been cleared by both the State Department and the White House, that "nothing has happened that in any way alters the strength of our commitment or the warmth of our feelings" toward Israel.
She later added that nothing in the vote would affect the American American commitment to the security of Israel, "an important and valued ally."
The context of the raid, Kirkpatrick said, must be taken into account. She quoted President Reagan's remark that Israle "had reason for concern" about Iraq's nuclear program and its belligerent attitude, adding:
"Israel's neighbors should recognize her right to exist and enter into negotiations with her to resolve their differences."
The compromise resolution, which was hammered out yesterday in negotiations between Kirkpatrick and Iraqi Foreign Minister Saadoun Hammadi, was accepted with reluctance by some more militant Arab and Third World States.
After the council adjourned, Kirkpatrick was asked whether the success of the rare Iraqi-American dialogue might help improve the relationship between the two countries, and she replied: "We discussed no such possibilities, but of course it would be worth following up on."
She said at a press conference after the meeting that the resolution was not to anyone's liking, but it avoided "the hardening of antagonisms in the area."
She also expressed the hope that the outcome might "create a bit of understanding that may give a marginal boost to the chances of the Habib mission" involving the crisis over Syrian missiles in Lebanon. She was referring to the mission headed by special U.S. envoy Philip C. Habib. w
In addition to condemning the raid, the resolution calls for "redness" of the damages suffered by Iraq, reaffirms the right of Iraq and all states to acquire nuclear technology so long as it is used for peaceful purposes, and urges Israel to open its atomic installations to international inspection.
Hammadi said afterward that the resolution should have included sanctions against Israel, but did not because of "the position taken by the U.S.," which had threatened to veto any such reference.
He conceded that there was "a positive element" in the outcome of the eight-day-long U.N. debate from the Iraqi point of view. In the course of the meetings, more than 50 nations condemned Israel's act with most calling for sanctions.
Israel Ambassador Yehuda Blum rejected the U.N. action "unreservedly," calling it a one-sided travesty.
He was cautious in discussing the American vote and speech with reporters, limiting himself to an expression of "regret" that the United States had "condemned an action the purpose of which was to exercise our legitimate right to self-defense to remove a nuclear threat."
Far more important, he insisted, was Kirkpatrick's "expression of support for Israel which has a long-term effect in comparison with this temporary irritant."
[In Washington, Israeli Ambassador Ephrain Evron was called to the State Department where he was assured that the U.S. commitment "to Israel remains firm and undiminished" despite the vote, The Associated Press reported.]
Before the vote, Israel and Sigvard Eklund, director general of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, debated briefly the technical questions of whether the reactor could have been used to produce atomic weapons.
Eklund maintained his agency's inspections showed virtually no probability that the plant could be used in the manufacture of plutonium which can be used in a nuclear bomb. Blum insisted that the U.N. inspection system is faulty and expressed the hope that the U.N. debate might stimulate its reform.
American Jewish organizations reacted with dismay to the U.S. vote.
Nathan Perlmutter, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'rith described the vote as a "charade" and "well-intentioned hypocrisy."
Howard Squadron, chairman ofthe Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said, "It is particularly disappointing to find the Reagan administration following the same path of accommodation in the U.N. as prior administrations."