srael's ambassador to the United Nations warned today that a move to expel Israel from the U.N. General Assembly could jeopardize the U.N. peace-keeping role in the Middle East.
The ambassador, Yehuda Blum, stopped short of endorsing a suggestion made in Israel's parliament that further U.N. condemnatory action against the Jewish state should be considered grounds for shutting down the U.N. peace-keeping force's headquarters here.
He noted pointedly, however, that for three decades the Middle East peace-keeping operation has been a source of pride to the United Nations, and that if Israel lost its General Assembly credentials, "obviously there is much at stake for the United Nations institutionally."
Blum's veiled warning came as the parliament (Knesset) rejected what it termed the "malicious" General Assembly resolution of last Friday calling for sanctions against Israel because of its annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights.
The Knesset voted, 61 to 3, with 42 abstentions, to reject the U.N. resolution, saying it is "bereft of any moral basis and has no validity whatsoever." The abstentions came from the opposition Labor Alignment, whose own resolution condemning the U.N. vote but criticizing Prime Minister Menachem Begin's government for annexing the Golan Heights was defeated.
Blum said he sees little chance of Israel being expelled from the United Nations, because such a move could be vetoed in the Security Council by the United States. More likely, he said, would be an attempt to withhold Israel's credentials to the General Assembly, although he doubted that tactic would succeed because of Arab and Soviet Bloc wariness of U.S. reaction.
Blum said the United Nations regards its peace-keeping role in the Middle East as a "major achievement" of 30 years standing, and emphasizes that function in all its propaganda material.
"For the United Nations, the Middle East is one of the forums [in] which over the years it has tried to play an important role. There is nothing that they take more pride in than the peace-keeping force in the Middle East. If something happens to our relationship, obviously we would have to think about that, too, in the broader context of Israel-U.N. relations," Blum said.
Israel would respond to expulsion from the General Assembly, he warned, "in a manner that will seriously jeopardize our relations with the United Nations and which would jeopardize the United Nations in the international community. The chain reaction would be of incalcuable proportions."
The United Nations has a large regional headquarters here and maintains extensive facilities for peace-keeping forces in southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights. In all three cases, the United Nations operates with Israeli acquiescence.