Lebanon asked the Security Council today to condemn Israel's "inhuman practices" in southern Lebanon and to demand the immediate and complete withdrawal of the remaining occupation troops.
Lebanese Ambassador Rashid Fakhoury warned that "armed resistance is inevitable" in the area because Israel continues to "subject the Lebanese people to torture and humiliation that no people could be expected to endure."
The Israeli ambassador, Benjamin Netanyahu, replied with a charge that attacks on Israeli troops had escalated after Israel began its withdrawal, and were being carried out by "fanatics who take their instructions from Syria and their inspiration" from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian leader.
He said the council debate was a "thinly disguised propaganda effort" orchestrated by Syria that could only serve to incite terrorist acts.
American officials confirmed privately that Washington had warned Beirut that the United States would veto any resolution that criticized only Israeli acts. They also expressed fears that the U.N. debate would increase the threat of terrorism aimed at American installations, such as the suicide truck bombing that killed 12 persons at the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut Sept. 20, shortly after a U.S. veto of a similar Lebanese resolution in the Security Council.
American representative Warren Clark told the council that the debate would not help Lebanon solve its problems, and urged both sides to resume negotiations under U.N. auspices to coordinate the troop withdrawal.
American and Western European diplomats said the timing of the debate -- it is likely to conclude late next week -- appeared to be dictated by the Syrians, who, they said, hope to embarrass Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the eve of his visit to Washington.
"The Syrians feel isolated and threatened by the Egyptian peace initiative, which embraces the Jordanians and the Palestinians but leaves them out," one American noted.
Egypt is a member of the council this year, and its representative, Mohammed Shaker, restated his government's view that the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon should be the start of a similar process of withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, as part of a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement.
Shaker also condemned the continuing "indiscriminate practices" of the Israeli occupation forces, but in terms slightly milder than those used by the Lebanese and Syrian representatives.
Egyptian officials disputed the theory that the U.N. debate had been timed to embarrass Mubarak. They said it arose from the need of the Beirut government to satisfy Shiite Moslems that something was being done to mitigate Israel's "get-tough" policy in the south.