The General Assembly adopted a resolution today in response to Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights calling on the international community to "end all dealings with Israel" and laying the groundwork for Israel's expulsion from the United Nations.
Despite intensive U.S. lobbying against the draft, the resolution won 86 votes, with 21 nations opposed, 34 abstaining and 15 absenting themselves. The United States and Israel were joined by most Western nations and Japan in voting against the text. Eleven African countries--including Egypt--were absent or abstained.
U.S. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick attacked "this miserable resolution" as vindictive and for being a "barely veiled attack on the United States."
She said the resolution was "profoundly objectionable" because it damages prospects for Middle East peace and thus undermines the United Nations' integrity and "very reason for existence." She warned that if the "ominous" threat to Israeli representation were carried out, it could affect the health and "even the survival" of the world body.
Syrian Foreign Minister Abdul Halim Khaddam hailed the result as a "sweeping and overwhelming victory for freedom and a defeat for aggression." The special emergency session of the assembly was called to impose sanctions against Israel after a U.S. veto blocked a far milder resolution in the Security Council last month.
These sanctions--sweeping though they are--are not binding on governments, unlike council actions.
Nevertheless, Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Blum attacked the "shameless document," its 56 sponsors, whom he called "bigots, hypocrites and liars," and the United Nations itself, which he said had sunk "into moral bankruptcy."
The resolution condemns Israeli legislation concerning the Golan Heights as an act of aggression and a threat to peace. It calls on all nations to embargo military, economic and financial assistance to Israel, and severely cut diplomatic, trade and cultural relations. It also calls on all governments to "cease forthwith all dealings with Israel in order totally to isolate it in all fields."
Kirkpatrick said that these provisions were not "at all meaningful" because the countries that might heed them do not deal with Israel anyway.
But she did take seriously the challenge to Israel's U.N. representation. The resolution declares that Israeli actions "confirm that it is not a peace-loving state" and that it has not carried out its obligations under the U.N. Charter or the 1949 assembly resolution that admitted it to membership.
The Arabs have threatened before to suspend Israeli participation in U.N. bodies, but have always backed down. The assembly and other U.N. agencies have barred South Africa from participating in their meetings since 1973, without expelling the Pretoria government from the U.N.
In addition to its condemnation of Israel, the resolution "strongly deplores" the U.S. veto of Security Council sanctions.