Question of Palestine home
17 June 1981
th MEETING: 17 JUNE 1981
Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/2287) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Adoption of the agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Complaint by Iraq:
Letter dated 8 June 1981 from the Chargé d'affaires of the
Permanent Mission of Iraq addressed to the President of the
Security Council (S/14509) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Held in New York on Wednesday, 17 June 1981, at 3.30 p.m.
Mr. Porfirio MUÑOZ LEDO (Mexico).
The representatives of the following States: China, France, German Democratic Republic, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Niger, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Tunisia, Uganda, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.
Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/2287)
1. Adoption of the agenda
2. Complaint by Iraq:
Letter dated 8 June 1981 from the Chargé d'affaires of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/14509)
The meeting was called to order at 4.20 p.m.
Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted.
Complaint by Iraq:
Letter dated 8 June 1981 from the Chargé d'affaires the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/14509)
1. The PRESIDENT
interpretation from Spanish
In accordance with decisions taken at previous meetings [
2280th to 2285th meetings
I invite the representatives of Iraq and Israel to take places at the Council table, and I invite the representatives of Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia and of the Palestine Liberation Organization to take the places reserved for them at the side of the Council chamber.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Kittani (Iraq), Mr. Blum (Israel) took places at the Council table and Mr. Bedjaoui (Algeria), Mr. Kaiser (Bangladesh), Mr. Corrêa da Costa (Brazil), Mr. Tsvetkov (Bulgaria), Mr. Roa Kouri (Cuba), Mr. Hulinsky (Czechoslovakia), Mr. Abdel Meguid (Egypt), Mr. Sinclair (Guyana), Mr. Racz (Hungary), Mr. Krishnan (India), Mr. Suwondo (Indonesia), Mr. La Rocca (Italy), Mr. Nuseibeh (Jordan), Mr. Al-Sabah (Kuwait), Mr. Tuéni (Lebanon), Mr. Halim (Malaysia), Mr. Erdenechuluun (Mongolia), Mr. Mrani Zentar (Morocco), Mr. Chamorro Mora (Nicaragua), Mr. Ahmad (Pakistan), Mr. Freyberg (Poland), Mr. Marinescu (Romania), Mr. Koroma (Sierra Leone), Mr. Adan (Somalia), Mr. Fonseka (Sri Lanka), Mr. Abdalla (Sudan), Mr. El-Fattal (Syrian Arab Republic), Mr. Kirca (Turkey), Mrs. Nguyen Ngoc Dung (Viet Nam), Mr. Alaini (Yemen), Mr. Komatina (Yugoslavia), Mr. Mutukwa (Zambia) and Mr. Terzi (Palestine Liberation Organization) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council chamber.
2. The PRESIDENT
interpretation from Spanish
The first speaker is the representative of Nicaragua. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make a statement.
3. Mr. CHAMORRO MORA (Nicaragua)
interpretation from Spanish
Mr. President, it is not mere obedience to protocol that leads Nicaragua to congratulate you on occupying the presidency of the Council for this month. I am certain that your personal qualifications as a statesman will be decisive in the effective performance of the Council's work. We believe that those qualities faithfully reflect the recognized support of the Mexican Government for the principle of the self-determination of peoples and the eradication of the threat or use of force in international relations. Mexico's support for those principles was expressed once again during the recent visit of the head of State of Nicaragua to Mexico, on which occasion, in a joint communiqué President Lopez Portillo
“reiterated his support for the process of the institutionalization of the revolutionary and pluralist régime of Nicaragua, expressed his vigorous rejection of any measure of economic pressure that might harm this legitimate and praiseworthy effort and condemned the use of military or paramilitary forces of any nationality in an attempt to destabilize that process."
4. Solidarity between countries and peoples such as ours, Mr. President, is as important as strict respect for the Charter of the United Nations and for the norms of international law in ensuring peace, stability and the peaceful development of countries. That is why Nicaragua is deeply shocked by the unjustifiable and barbarous attack of Israel's Air Force on the nuclear research centre of a sovereign non-aligned country that is a Member of the Organization.
5. In firmly condemning that act, my country has taken into consideration not only its clear aggressive nature but also its ramifications; including the expressed will of the Government of Israel to carry out similar acts of aggression whenever that régime may deem it advisable.
6. In the first place, that action exacerbates a situation in the Middle East region that is already explosive and may possibly give rise to a new wave of violence. Once again Israel has shown the world that its concept of security takes precedence over any attempt to bring peace and stability to the region. Actually, in destroying the nuclear centre in Iraq, in arrogating to itself the right to intervene unilaterally in Lebanon, in threatening Syria with war and, especially, in denying the heroic Palestinian people its right to self-determination and to establish its own State, Israel is telling us that peace will be imposed by it imperially in the region. Obviously the military attacks and the deep disdain for the international community are nothing but the means it considers necessary to perpetuate and consolidate its occupation of Palestinian land.
7. Regrettably, the massive military, economic and political support that is enjoyed by Israel leads it to glory in its intransigence and illegality. We all know full well that its acts of aggression would be very difficult to carry out if it did not receive such assistance and if it did not have in its favor the veto of a permanent member of the Security Council.
8. It is chilling to think what would happen were States to commit acts of aggression whenever they considered their security to be threatened. The result would be total anarchy in international relations, not to speak of world-wide conflagration, The precedent which that attack entails has far-reaching implications for the vast majority of small States. The immoral and unacceptable concept of "preventive action" is a real danger for countries such as mine, which are routinely the targets of false accusations that can only be construed as attempts to legitimize possible aggression.
9. Such logic is incompatible with the norms that should govern civilized States, which can appeal to a series of mechanisms to settle their controversies. It is absurd and extremely dangerous for Israel to feel threatened not only by the defense efforts of the Arab nation, efforts made necessary by Israel's very disposition for war, but also by the interest of the Arab nation in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It is thus a case of disregard for the right of all States to promote their technological development, a right Iraq exercises responsibility by submitting to the safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
10. It is, furthermore, virtually incredible that Israel, a country that is armed to the teeth, has nuclear weapons and has been the: proven aggressor on numerous occasions, should come to tell us that it feels threatened and has acted in self-defense, when we all know of its intent to trample on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people while at the same time ensuring its nuclear monopoly in the region.
11. Confronted with this situation, the Council must face up to the question of how to prevail upon Israel to refrain from further using or threatening to use force, how to make it see that justice and law should override force
and that diplomacy and the principles of the Charter still apply.
12. In my delegation's view, only the measures envisaged under Chapter VII of the Charter could carry that message home to Israel. Verbal condemnations will not protect the Palestinian people, nor will they deter future aggression against Arab countries.
13. Utter disdain for the international community and the security and peace of the world has a price. The Charter of the United Nations so specifies. It is the duty of the Council to comply with it.
14. In that connection, Nicaragua is fully committed to the condemnation and recommendations contained in the communiqué issued this morning by the extraordinary plenary meeting of the non-aligned countries. We express our full solidarity with and support to Iraq in the defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
15. We likewise consider timely the call of the non-aligned countries
“upon all States, and especially the United States of America, to refrain from giving Israel any assistance, whether military, political or economic, that might encourage it to pursue its aggressive policies against the Arab countries and the Palestinian people." [
16. Lastly, I should like to thank you, Mr. President, and the other members of the Council for giving me the opportunity to take part in this important debate.
17. The PRESIDENT
interpretation from Spanish
The next speaker on my list is the representative Indonesia, whom I invite to take a seat at the Council table and to make his statement.
18. Mr. SUWONDO (Indonesia): First of all, I should like to express my appreciation to you, Mr. President, and to the members of the Council for granting my delegation the opportunity to participate in current deliberations on the Middle East. I should also like to avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for the month of June. My delegation is confident that under your wise and capable leadership these meetings of the Council will reach a successful conclusion.
19. My delegation would also like to commend Mr. Nisibori, the representative of Japan, for the excellent manner in which he conducted the Council's business during his term as President in the month of May.
20. Over the past few weeks the international community has been faced with new Israeli adventurism in Lebanon, which poses a serious threat to the peace and stability of the region. During this time efforts have been undertaken and still continue to overcome the crisis created by Israel in the hope of maintaining international peace and security. However, in the midst of our expectations that the crisis would be solved, we were all shocked to learn of the Israeli attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor a few days ago. This attack is not only a blatant act of aggression but also a grave threat to the standing of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
General Assembly resolution 2373 (XXII) annex
to which Iraq is a party and which Israel refuses to sign. The Israeli attack calls into question the ability of international legal instruments to protect a State's nuclear development for peaceful purposes and, further, it opens to question the viability of and even the need for such guidelines if a State cannot be protected under them. In this connection also, the Israeli attack sets a dangerous precedent for similar behavior which may further erode the effectiveness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is incumbent, therefore, upon the Council to act appropriately in the face of the Israeli attack in order to maintain the effectiveness and viability of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, especially safeguards system of IAEA, as a reliable means of verifying the peaceful use of a nuclear facility.
21. The fact that Iraq is a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Israel is not in itself shows Iraq's intention to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and, at the same time, underlines the Israeli policy of aggression and arrogance in violation of the principles of peace and justice and in defiance of international public opinion. In this regard, I recall to the Council's attention the fact, which has been stated by previous speakers, that it was in January of this year that IAEA inspected the Iraqi reactor and certified it as complying with all necessary safeguards for peaceful uses.
22. Furthermore, as has been explained by the representative of France
the Government of France, which was a key participant in the development of the
reactor, had repeatedly stated that it was being constructed for peaceful purposes. Iraq’s full co-operation with IAEA and its compliance with all standards for, the reactor's peaceful use were reaffirmed in a resolution, adopted by the Board of Governors of IAEA on 12 June, in which the latter also condemned the Israeli attack and recommended suspension of Israel from membership in the Agency [
For Israel to claim that the attack was for self-defense purposes, therefore, goes counter to all the facts concerning the reactor.
23 The Israeli attack is not only a further manifestation of Israel's policy of aggression against the Arabs, but also adds another element of strain to the already tense situation in the Middle East. The attempts at a peaceful settlement of the Middle East question have been dealt a serious setback by the attack, which once again shows Israel as the stumbling block in the quest for peace in this region. For Israel to believe that through a policy of aggression peace can be achieved is a sign of convoluted logic. Not until Israel's aggression and its occupation of Arab, lands stops can there be a just settlement and peace in the Middle East.
24. It is obvious that the Israeli attack has other far-reaching consequences beyond the scope of this particular event. It is a direct challenge to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the principles of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the territorial integrity of a sovereign State, Member of the United Nations. Israel acted in a totally arbitrary fashion, taking upon itself the power to decide what was right; irrespective of the fact that it was acting contrary to all established international law and as practiced and accepted by the rest of the international community contrary to human dignity. This is a totally unacceptable act and Indonesia joins the rest of the international community in condemning Israel for its attack on Iraq. My Government's position on this most recent challenge posed by Israel has been clearly reflected both individually [
and collectively along with other member States of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), as stated by the representative of the Philippines before the Council this morning [
25. Whatever the reasons behind the Israeli attack, the fact cannot be denied that it goes counter to the very purposes and principles of the United Nations, which is bound to maintain international peace and security. Not only has Israel, therefore, created a dangerous precedent, but it has also posed a serious challenge to the United Nations and, in particular, to the Council, which is the only organ of the United Nations whose primary responsibility is to maintain international peace and security.
26. The world's attention is now focused on these meetings in the expectation that the Council will discharge its duties under the Charter and adopt
effective measures against the Israeli act of aggression.
27. In that connection, my delegation fully shares the
view of previous speakers that the Council should not merely condemn the Israeli attack but should reaffirm its support for the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which provides for the right of all States to develop their nuclear programmes for peaceful purposes. Furthermore, the Council must take concrete decisions to prevent similar events and should proceed to impose upon Israel sanctions under Chapter VII of the Charter.
28. Finally, my delegation supports the communiqués of the non-aligned movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which were adopted at their respective meetings on 16 June and which,
, reaffirmed the General Assembly resolutions concerning Israeli nuclear armaments and demanded that Israel comply with those resolutions.
29. The PRESIDENT
(interpretation from Spanish):
The next speaker is the representative, of Malaysia. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.
30. Mr. HALIM (Malaysia): Mr. President, on behalf of the Malaysian delegation, I wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to you and the other members of the Security Council for giving me the opportunity to address the Council at this very important meeting. I should also like to join previous speakers in extending to you our congratulations on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for this month. My delegation is confident that, under your wise and able guidance, the present deliberations will end in agreement on concrete and effective measures for dealing with the problem facing the Council.
31. The Israeli attack on an Iraqi nuclear installation near Baghdad early in the morning of 7 June 1981 shocked the international community and, further, added a grave dimension to the prevailing delicate situation in the Middle East. I am addressing the Council today to express the indignation of the Government and the people of Malaysia at this act of aggression, which constitutes a breach of international law and a violation of the sovereignty of Iraq and of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. It also constitutes an irresponsible act and a defiance of world public opinion. The Government of Malaysia has strongly condemned that attack, and a statement to that effect was issued on 10 June.
32. Last Friday, 12 June, the Council heard the statement of the Foreign Minister of Iraq
on the peaceful nuclear-energy programme of his country. His statement made clear beyond any doubt the peaceful objectives of the nuclear reactor in question. Iraq is a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and has accepted all IAEA safeguards on all its nuclear activities. That is a fact confirmed by the Government of France, which
is co-operating with Iraq in the construction of the reactor, as well as by IAEA. Israel, on the other hand, has consistently refused to be party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty or to IAEA safeguards. The reason for Israel’s refusal is obvious: so that it can retain the option of developing its nuclear-weapon capability. Indeed, there is clear evidence that Israel has already exercised that option and is now in possession of nuclear armaments to back its aggressive policies in the Middle East.
33. Israel's attempt to justify its act of aggression against Iraq by invoking the right of self-defense as contained in Article 51 of the Charter is clearly unacceptable in the light of the peaceful objectives of the reactor and the absence of any provocation by Iraq. One can only conclude that Israel's action was intended to intimidate its Arab neighbors and to block their progress and development by denying them the acquisition of new technology. It was clearly an attempt to dominate the region and to perpetuate Israel's control over the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, in violation of the Charter.
34. The manner in which Israel has ignored and rejected the decisions and verdicts of the international community in the past is well known. We believe that it will continue to do this as long as it is assured of military, economic and other support from some countries. My delegation would like to take this opportunity to call on the countries concerned to review their support for Israel and to take appropriate measures that will curb Israel's aggression against its Arab neighbors.
35. As for the Council, it is important that an appropriate decision be taken, commensurate with the gravity and the far-reaching adverse consequence of Israel's actions. The act of aggression of 7 June must never be allowed to happen again. A repetition of that action is bound to set in motion a dangerous trend with serious repercussions for international peace and security. It is therefore the duty of the Council to go beyond mere condemnation of Israel for its acts of aggression. We wish to join other delegations in urging the Council to impose mandatory sanctions against Israel under Chapter VII of the Charter. We believe that that is the most effective measure for securing Israel's compliance with the rule of international law and the Charter. At the same time, the Council must ensure that appropriate compensation is paid by Israel to Iraq for the destruction of the nuclear reactor.
36. In conclusion, I should like to reiterate Malaysia's support for effective measures by the, United Nations aimed at dealing with this dangerous threat to international peace and security. I should also like to reaffirm, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, our full support for Iraq in meeting the threat against its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
37. The PRESIDENT
(interpretation from Spanish
): The next speaker is the representative of Sri Lanka. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.
38. Mr. FONSEKA (Sri Lanka): I should like, Sir, to offer you my warm congratulations on your assumption the office of President of the Council. You are presiding over its proceedings at a critical moment in the work of this body, and my delegation is more than confident that your proven capabilities will lead to a satisfactory conclusion of the problem that is before it. I should like also to thank Mr. Nisibori of Japan no less warmly for the very commendable manner in which he conducted the work of the Council during the month of May.
39. Perhaps it might be said that my delegation is speaking close to the end of what was described at the commencement of this debate as "a hypocritical parade” that gangs up on Israel “for reasons of spite and expediency”. Perhaps the Council is not unaccustomed to hearing epithets of that order, but I wish to assure the Council that, like the many delegations that have preceded us, we are motivated neither by spite nor by expediency and there will be no reciprocal vilification, even less pontification. The validity of Iraq’s
complaint has already found wide acceptance in this debate, and the people of Iraq have the capacity to recover from this brazen assault unaided by tears--crocodile or otherwise.
40. Sri Lanka recognized the State of Israel soon after the United Nations proclaimed it and we agreed to the establishment of diplomatic relations some seven years later. Those relations were suspended in 1970 as a sequel to Israel's 1967 aggression against Egypt. That was a deliberate decision, taken without spite and not conditioned by expediency. We still believe that the State of Israel has a right to live in peace and security within recognized boundaries. We also believe that the Palestinian people have a right to self-determination and to live in peace and security in State of their own. Today it is Israel's refusal to acknowledge that same right for the Palestinian people and its stubborn pursuit of a biblical "Greater Israel", obvious the rights not only of its immediate neighbors but also of those of the Arab States far beyond, that have led to the present impasse. My delegation
does not propose to recount 33 years of contemporary history in the Council today.
41. We speak today of Israel's latest aggression: the premeditated attack of 7 June on a nuclear installation near Baghdad. My Government has categorically condemned that attack as a flagrant violation of the Charter and the norms of international law. Nearly every delegation that has come before the Council has expressed itself in similar terms. I do not propose to comment on the legal and self-defense theses advanced, to by Israel. Those have been more than adequately replied to by delegations that have preceded me. The representative of France
and today the representative of Italy [
have given the Council sufficient data to refute the allegation that Iraq's nuclear installation could be converted for military weapons manufacture.
42. What is now being asked is whether the Council's responsibility is merely to end with a condemnation, and if so, what is there to deter Israel from repeating such an act of aggression. That question is even more pertinent in light of the knowledge of the Israeli Prime Minister's reckless threat that, should Iraq seek to rebuild that nuclear installation, that same fate awaits it. That threat clearly implies that no State among its neighbors which has not earned Israel's explicit approval may undertake any development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. That caveat would apply to Israel's neighbors--all Arab States. But if Israel decides that a given nuclear installation has a potential for the manufacture of nuclear weapons and that the acquisition of delivery systems is only a matter of time, that caveat will apply well beyond Israel's immediate neighbors, Arab or non-Arab. The, certificate as to whether a nuclear installation is peaceful will issue not from Vienna, where we have set up IAEA, but from Tel Aviv, which now claims that prerogative. That is no caricature, but rather what Israel's action and the reasoning of the Israeli delegate add up to. And all this while there is not even a pretence of refuting the charge that Israel itself has gone well beyond the stage of having just the nuclear option.
43. My delegation should like to comment on that aspect of the situation at some length, as other delegations have already done, because of the implications it has for all of us, and not only for countries lacking in conventional sources of energy. The peaceful use of nuclear energy is held out as the inalienable right of all States. That right has been exercised in varying degrees by States party and non-party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, subject to the safeguards enforced or determined by IAEA. Israel's attack on the Iraqi nuclear installation is, as stated by the Director General of IAEA,1 an attack on the IAEA's safeguards régime and
the credibility of that institution--credibility which has not hitherto been challenged even by States not party to Non-Proliferation Treaty.
44. I should like to recall in that connection something that happened at the end of the Second Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in August of last year. The Council knows that that Review Conference ended without a final document, for reasons which do not require elaboration here. A proposal that the Conference should be resumed with a view to concluding
such a document did not find acceptance. The comforting reason given then was that the failure to conclude that Second Review Conference with an agreed document had not led, and would not necessarily lead, to a denunciation of the Treaty itself by any signatory State. Happily, during the nine months that have elapsed, that expectation has held. Perhaps one should be grateful that, notwithstanding the controversies that obtained during that Review, the fragile yet vital régime of the Non-Proliferation Treaty has remained intact. If now, after this brazen attack by a non-party to the Treaty on a State remedy, one had recently submitted its nuclear installation to Agency inspection, the Security Council should determine that condemnation alone is adequate remedy, one would be constrained to ask what purpose the Treaty serves for its adherents. My delegation places before the Council the hypothetical possibility that a State party to the Treaty could seek a remedy by a denunciation of the Treaty--and one denunciation may not be the last. After the attack on Iraq's nuclear installation, any precedent set up by Israel, even if accompanied by a call for a nuclear-weapon-free zone, seems no more than the best way of eating one's cake and having it.
45. For that reason alone, if for no other, my delegation would urge that the Council respond to the near-unanimous plea of delegations that have come before it for a decisive and deterrent disciplining of the aggressor. Iraq has had to endure grave and substantial material damage, and prompt and adequate compensation for that material damage and the loss of human life is the minimum responsibility of Israel.
46. My delegation is inclined to share the sentiments of those delegations that have urged more punitive measures in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter. We have in the past supported resolutions of the General Assembly calling for action on Israel's nuclear armament, but my delegation believes that what the Council is now striving for is a draft resolution which will attract unanimous support, and it is in that spirit that we have preferred to restrain ourselves today.
47. If the standards of conduct and the justification which Israel postulates in this instance are available to other States, together with the assurance that, all they will incur is no more than a severe reprimand--which is all that a condemnation adds up to--before long other States may come before the Council defiant and unrepentant, like Israel. It will then be the credibility of the Council that is at stake, rather than the Charter or the rules of international law which it is the Council's prerogative to enforce. If Iraq's complaint is conveniently disposed of with a condemnation, strong or simple, others besides Israel will come before the Council to give what seems like a new twist to the constitutional dictum that the king can do no wrong.
48. The PRESIDENT
(interpretation from Spanish):
The next speaker is Mr. Clovis Maksoud, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States to the United Nations, whom the Council has invited in accordance with rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.
49. Mr. MAKSOUD: Mr. President, I should like to take this opportunity to express to you and, through you, to the other members of the Council my deep appreciation for the kind invitation to make a statement on the issue of Israel's act of aggression against Iraq. Needless to say, the League of Arab States, which I have the honor to represent here, enjoys with your great country the friendliest of relations and we share with you and your people many common ideals, values and objectives.
50. I share with all those who have already spoken their admiration for the manner in which you are conducting the proceedings of this very important debate and for the leadership that you have so brilliantly exhibited, both intellectually and diplomatically.
51. It was not my intention to address the Council after the Arab representatives had spoken, more particularly, after the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq, Mr. Saadoon Hammadi, had put before you
an impeccable case with evidence of
Israel's aggression that is irrefutable, evidence the credibility of which has been reinforced by the testimony of Mr. Sigvard Eklund, Director-General of IAEA, and the contribution to this debate of all those who had preceded me in the Council. However, certain important developments have taken place since this debate began which have made it necessary for us to respond. We must keep the debate from straying from its purpose; the thrust of condemnation and punitive measures must not be deflected by the deliberate distortions of fact and of purpose that Israel and some of its apologists have introduced.
52. The assumption upon which Israel predicated its act of aggression and the reasons that it has have given since the beginning of this debate, been totally disproved and Israel has been unable to convince even some of its closest friends of their credibility. Israel's contention that Iraq has refused to allow IAEA to inspect the reactor is an absolute lie. The Agency’s inspectors have been to the Osirak reactor repeatedly most recently in January. Another inspection was scheduled for this month.
53. The alleged quotation by President Saddam Hussein often referred to by Mr. Begin and his representative here has been shown to be non-existent. It is a fabrication designed to cover up Israel’s acts of aggression and objectives. Its real design is to destroy the potential for research and technological advancement in Iraq or any of the Arab countries. The introduction of a fallacious statement, wrongly attributed and in fact non-existent, was an Israeli ploy to obscure the reality of its criminal objectives.
54. The cynicism with which Mr. Begin dismisses this systematic usage of lies as sheer "mistakes"--"mistakes" to which he readily admits--testifies to his built-in contempt for facts and the accountability of Israel to world opinion. These so-called mistakes, the mechanism upon which Begin built a case for Israel's act of aggression against Iraq, are of no concern to him, inasmuch as the objectives of Israel's aggression have been achieved. "Admitting the mistake" has come a further layer in the cover-up of the crime.
55. Mr. Begin stated that Israeli aircraft had destroyed a secret chamber 40 meters underground, installed before the reactor was built to avoid detection by IAEA inspectors. Here again Mr. Begin admitted to yet another mistake. The chamber was only 4 meters underground--just over 13 feet, according to the correction. But what is a zero here and there, Mr. Begin said, trying to get a bonus of sympathy--and this, notwithstanding the fact that both the French nuclear experts and IAEA experts have denied that any such chamber exists, at any level.
56. We surely need a treaty of non-proliferation--a treaty on the non-proliferation of lies and distortion to be signed by Israel. But I suppose, if the Israelis cannot subscribe to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a whole, they think they have a license to conduct a campaign of distortion and lies.
57. Israel had the audacity in the Council to ask Iraq to answer questions--as if the plaintiff in this case had become the defendant. This lop-sided logic is typical of all Fascist régimes in history that have sought and today, seek to turn the tables. Thus, instead of behaving as the accused, they seek to arrogate to themselves the semblance of accuser. This technique as long ago been uncovered and, if it was used by Israel yesterday in order to cast doubt on the credibility not only of Iraq's position but of the whole range of international consensus and opinion which both supports and sustains Iraq's position, then that usage of this technique is a deliberate attempt to paralyze the deliberations of the Council and to deflect it from the focus of its objectives.
58. The accused, in this case Israel, should be asked to answer, without procrastination, hesitation or equivocation as to the amount of nuclear bombs and explosives that it has at its disposal; about the status of nuclear-weapon co-operation between Israel and South Africa; about Israel's nuclear-weapon-delivery capacity; and about the reasons why it withholds its Dimona nuclear installation from international inspection and from American inspection. No mention has been made by Israel of the fact that the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) concluded in 1974 that Israel had nuclear weapons of its own or that Israel, unlike Iraq, had not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and will not allow inspectors to visit its reactor at Dimona.
59. The Council needs clear answers to those questions, because the real threat in the Middle East comes from Israel, and only from Israel. There is no question that Israel's aggression was committed to maintain a monopoly of nuclear technology in the region and because, if any nuclear capacity was developed for peaceful purposes by any Arab State, it would be an augury for the Arabs being able to rejoin the twentieth century during the twentieth century.
60. Israel asks why an oil-producing country like Iraq should move into the nuclear field. The answer is because nuclear research in the field of technology and industry enables Iraq, as well as the countries of the third world, including the oil-producing countries, to develop the latest means by which it can advance its health and medical services and educational facilities and because the development of nuclear alternatives for energy becomes an imperative for any oil-producing country as a matter of long-range planning in order to develop alternative sources of energy, since oil is a depletable one. For the oil-producing countries to remain exclusively dependent on oil for their long-range and technological transformation is in fact asking them to commit themselves to permanent underdevelopment. That lingering racist and colonial perception, long dissipated from the minds of the world community, finds in Israel its reincarnation.
61. The militarily significant reactor is at Dimona, Israel. The reactor at Dimona is not under international inspection; and, while there were occasional visits by American inspectors in the early 1960s under a bilateral agreement, those visits ceased more than a decade ago.
62. The Council should ask why Israel has obtained virtual autonomy in its military fuel cycle by securing for itself a large stockpile of natural uranium fuel for Dimona through the theft of a European Atomic Energy Community shipment on the high seas in the late 1960s. Two hundred tons of natural uranium were involved in the 1968 incident, sufficient to fuel Dimona for more than 10
years. Through local production of uranium as a by-product of its phosphates industry, Israel was already partially meeting its requirements. The augmentation through theft and the increase in local production-- projected to 50 to 60 tons annually by the late 1970s--mean that Israel at present has little if any need to import uranium. Needless to say, uranium is easily available from suppliers, such as South Africa, which do not belong to the Non-Proliferation Treaty/IAEA system--if it were necessary to import some.
63. If the plutonium bomb can be obtained from Dimona, Israel is also able to deploy a uranium bomb. Again, in the late 1960s, an international theft clearly linked to Israel took place and involved more than 100 kilograms of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium-235, which disappeared from a nuclear plant at Apollo, Pennsylvania. Fifty-six kilograms of uranium-235 are required to build a Hiroshima-type bomb of the simplest design with a bare core. If a uranium tamper-spherical blanket around the bomb core is included, only 15 kilograms are needed. Israel should have no technological problems, according to all the experts, in building a bomb with a tamper. That means that the Apollo U-235 theft has provided Israel with the capability of producing at least seven bombs of the Hiroshima type, for a grand total in 1981 of some 27 warheads of 20-kiloton yield.
64. Has Israel obtained nuclear weapons, yes or no? Yes; it is virtually certain that Israeli scientists in the military establishment have put together a plutonium bomb and a uranium bomb. It is also most likely that, once the bomb had been assembled, a "screw" was then removed and placed in a separate room; so that, in a formal, legalistic sense, Israel does not have weapons and can in "good faith" claim, as it does in its declaratory policy, that it has not introduced nuclear weapons. It is our strong belief, shared by the overwhelming majority of expert observers in the United States, the Western countries and throughout the world in general, as well as in Israel, that Israel, has assembled the vital components of a large number of bombs, leaving itself with a lead time of only hours to complete the assembly of deliverable warheads, if circumstances so require.
65. Regardless of the extreme, savage, inhuman and other "attributes" that may be imputed to the leadership of Iraq or any other Arab country by Israel and its supporters, an Arab attack on Israel with nuclear weapons would not make any sense from an Arab point of view, as the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States showed on the first day of this debate
A brief look at the facts involved, at maps and the relevant data regarding the effects of nuclear explosion would show that any such attack, even with only one Hiroshima-type weapon, would be likely to kill as many Arab Palestinians as Israelis and the delayed effects of radiation and fall-out would affect Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Arab east downward from the narrow Israeli strip.
66. I do not want to elaborate any further on the available evidence to prove that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. I do not want to dwell any further on the irrefutable evidence that the nuclear facility in Iraq is intended for peaceful purposes. The ultimate criterion has been established for verification, that is, the availability of a nuclear facility for inspection, verification and detection.
67. The Council has been subjected to a tirade of innuendoes which Israel hoped would be difficult for us to disprove. But what is more important is that Israel's credibility in the Council and throughout the world has been sufficiently shattered for us not to resort to the usual rebuttals and polemics. What is at stake, however, is that some of those innuendoes were given a measure of currency yesterday by remarks made by President Reagan of the United States. First of all, that the Arab States did not recognize Israel's "right to exist" does not warrant at all, in our opinion, giving Israel a free hand to strike at will at the Arab States. The withholding of recognition cannot and should not be a mitigating circumstance allowing Israel to strike at a peaceful installation.
68. Besides, which "Israel" does President Reagan expect the Arabs to recognize when he and his Administration know very well that Israel is the only country in the world with no declared frontiers or borders? The question of recognizing Israel does not arise in the context of Israel's recent act of aggression against the Iraqi nuclear facility, and under no circumstance should it be preferred as an excuse. To introduce that point is to give an impression--which we hope has been invalidated--that the United States, which has condemned the Israeli aggression against Iraq, considers that there might be "mitigating circumstances".
69. That reinforces a widespread impression in the Arab world that the United States has given Israel the green light to undertake its various strikes in all directions. The Arab world would prefer the United States position to be articulated in terms of its instant condemnation of Israeli aggression rather than in attempts to find mitigating circumstances for it.
70. To repeat the Israeli argument that Iraq has not signed a cease-fire agreement or "recognized Israel as nation" is, to say the least, irrelevant. All the Arab States withhold recognition of Israel, and, besides those that are in the immediate neighborhood of the Zionist State, other Arab States have not signed this armistice agreement. This does not imply that all Arab States, from Mauritania to Djibouti to the Arab States in the Gulf, are "understandable" targets for Israel’s aggression; that the radius of Israel s military aggression can include any State that has not recognized it. This becomes a very dangerous doctrine indeed, which belies and tends to undermine all the efforts made in this body and outside it in pursuit of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region.
71. To President Reagan's comment that he has trouble envisioning Israel as a threat to its Arab neighbors", our response is to be found in the, annals of Israel's record of mutilation of southern Lebanon; the colonial settlements in the occupied territories, I described as illegal by the United States Government; the annexation of Jerusalem; the raids on Lebanese towns and cities as well as Palestinian refugee camps; the recent demonstration of Israel's threatening position towards the Arabs constituted by its aggression on Iraq's nuclear research facility.
72. Why, we ask, does President Reagan have trouble envisaging Israel as a threat when information at his disposal should convince him of the dangers inherent in Israeli ideology and behavior--dangers not only to the Arabs but also to the prospects of genuine peace in the region.
73. The League of Arab States urges the Council to act on its convictions; not to allow politics to interrupt policies; to realize that unless aggression is nipped in the bud it has the capacity to re-enact itself and play havoc with the objective of genuine peace.
74. When the world community seeks punitive sanctions and measures against the aggressor, it does so not out of revenge but in order to deter the aggressor from the pursuit of his action. Condemnation is a moral act of conscience; it is necessary and desirable and has an input on history. But concrete measures that are deterrent and punitive make the world safer and more secure. These measures are mandated by the Charter of the United Nations and are intended more as a corrective and as an incentive. They correct the imbalance Inherent in any violations of international law and the spirit and letter of the Charter; they are an incentive for the forces of rationality to overcome the irrational elements in the region that want to be given a free hand to pursue their rampage, as Israel has done in its latest aggression against Iraq.
The meeting rose at 5.30 p.m.
/ This statement was made at the 563rd meeting of the Board of Governors of IAEA, the official records of which are issued in summary form.