The U.N. debate on Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights resumes in the Security Council on Wednesday with the United States facing a Syrian draft resolution that calls for imposition of military, economic and diplomatic sanctions against Israel.
According to diplomatic sources here, some U.S. officials, anxious to avert a veto that would alienate the Arab world, have encouraged negotiations on a "compromise" under which the council would "suggest" that nations "take appropriate measures"--intentionally unspecified--to "encourage" Irael to revoke its legislation putting the former Syrian territory under Israeli law.
Administration officials reached in Washington, however, denied that American diplomats have been authorized to encourage such a plan and expressed doubt that the United States could go along with it. The sources said the administration, while strongly opposing formal sanctions, has not yet made a final decision on proposals short of that because it is still unclear what will be proposed in the council.
The Associated Press quoted Syrian Ambassador Dia Allah Fattal, after discussions with U.S. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, as saying, "We knew before this meeting that the United States would veto (a sanctions) resolution. The Security Council must carry out its duties and obligations. Annexation is an act of aggression." He said the 21-member Arab bloc "has decided to push for sanctions."
A "compromise" resolution along the lines being discussed would not call for formal U.N. sanctions, which would be legally binding on all members, but would provide governments with an opportunity to take actions of their own choosing against Israel.
The Israelis, however, have urged Washington to veto such a resolution. They fear it would open the door for Arab oil-exporting nations to pressure the West Europeans and Japan to cut trade links with Israel.
The council met briefly today to fulfill its obligation under last month's resolution condemning the Golan takeover, but the only formal action was to decide on taking up the substance Wednesday.
Sources here said that there were deep differences of opinion among the Americans over the course to follow, with some administration officials said to believe the compromise resolution would go too far in punishing Israel, and would widen the already large breach between the Reagan administration and the Israeli government.
The Europeans said the compromise originally was proposed by some Americans here. But two ranking members of the U.S. delegation maintained that it is a Saudi Arabian proposal on which Washington is "keeping an open mind."
The Syrian draft would strongly condemn the Israeli annexation and declare it an "act of aggression." Under it, all nations would be obliged to refrain from supplying Israel with weapons, to sever all trade relations and any assistance to Israel, and to cut ties.
The Syrian plan was endorsed here today at a meeting of members of the Nonaligned Movement. But it is still not certain that it could command the nine-vote majority required on the 15-nation Security Council even if it were not vetoed.
This resolution is viewed as Syria's opening bargaining position, which will be modified in negotiations to win support from Japan and the Western members of the council, if not the United States.
American diplomats say the Syrians "seem amenable to compromise" despite their rhetoric and are in no rush to take action. But the U.S. officials warned that the gulf between the two positions is "very wide and may not be bridgeable."
A compromise was achieved last month, when the United States joined in a unanimous council resolution declaring the annexation "null and void," and calling upon Israel to rescind its legislation. That resolution warned that if Israel remains adamant the council would meet by today to "consider taking appropriate measures" under the U.N. Charter. The Israelis rejected the council demand.