Back to PLO Bulletin 15-31 January 1982

Part of the "Strategic cooperation" Design:


On December 14, 1981, Israel carried out a new act of international aggression. By a 63-21 vote the Knesset (Zionist Parliament) annexed the Syrian Golan Heights occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. In less than 24 hours, Begin had rammed through a legislative measure that placed the Syrian Golan territory and population under Israeli law.

This latest move is clearly in contempt of Chapter Seven of the United Nations (UN) Charter, and violates the 1907 Hague Convention that demands respect for local law in occupied territories. Abba Eban, ex-Israeli Foreign Minister, said, "It is not easy to recall a precedent in recent years of a country annexing a territory, hitherto recognised by all nations, including Israel, as part of a foreign country." (Jerusalem Post, December 18, 1981).

Zionists in Golan

Israeli military preparations in Golan...

However, Begin's Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir declared that after the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai in April 1982, Israel will have reached the "extreme limit of its concessions" which it was ready to make for "peace". He added that there would be no more Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands (Agence France Presse, January 1, 1981.)

The Zionist authorities were enabled to carry out this move due to an agreement on strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel signed only three weeks before on November 30.

The material and moral support which the Zionists receive from the U.S. allows Israel to implement fully its policies of aggression and expansionism in the area.

Israel and its U.S backers decided to use events in Poland as a cloak for the action, in much the same way that in 1956, the Hungarian crisis offered Israel, Britain and France a convenient distraction in an attempt to seize the Suez canal.

Repression on the Golan.

A month after the annexation decision, the Israeli authorities continue their repression of the people of Golan. The Zionist occupation authorities have arrested a large number of Syrian Golan citizens in an attempt to crack down on a wide popular uprising against Israel's annexation. Although the law does not permit indicting juvenile students before military courts, the occupation authorities have brought some 50 students before military tribunals and issued oppressive sentences and heavy fines. Israel answered a 3-day general strike by 13,000 Golan citizens by sending into the area more reinforcements of tanks and other military equipment.

Occupation troops have entered the four main villages; the Zionist army has been patrolling the Golan area and has set up a number of roadblocks. They have launched a "mopping-up operation" in Majdel Shams seeking "armed persons".

The occupation authorities have zionised Arab School syllabuses. 70% of school children receive their education in unsanitary conditions. Israeli laws and legislation are applied in the civil courts. The Syrian Arabs are forced to pay heavy taxes by the Israeli government. Local and religious authorities are imposed on the Golan citizens which serve only the Israeli occupation. Water resources have been seized by the Israelis, while the Golan Arabs are restricted in their use of them. Thousands of acres of agricultural lands owned by Golan citizens, who are mostly peasants and are dependent on the land, have been confiscated. Brutal pressure on the Golan Arabs to accept Israeli citizenship is applied in violation of UN laws and all international agreements including the Geneva Convention provisions of August 12, 1949, relating to the protection of citizens in time of war.

Israel has begun turning its military checkpoint on the western outskirts of Quneitra on the Golan plateau into an international border crossing. This is clearly in defiance of the December 17 UN resolution unanimously condemning the Israeli annexation. The town is a scene of total destruction. Hardly a house remains standing and a UN report states that the Israelis systematically used bulldozers and dynamite to destroy the town before they were forced to hand it back to Syria. Of 53,000 inhabitants, only four remain. (International Herald Tribune Jan. 13, 1982.) Druze families in the Golan led by national leaders Kamel Kanj Abu Saleh and Mahmoud Hassan Safadi from Majdel Shams have demanded that the UN protect the civilian residents of the Golan and force Israel to respect all international agreements concerning the treatment of civilians under occupation. In a letter to UN General Secretary Javier Perez de Cuellar, they said that the occupation authorities attempted to force them to take Israeli citizenship, to efface their national identity and use all sorts of measures which conflict with international law, UN resolutions and international conventions to do so.

Threat to South Lebanon

Zionists in Lebanon

...and south Lebanon

The immediate effect of Begin's new action was to throw new sparks at the Middle East powder keg. Tension is increasing by the hour with the threat of a large-scale Israeli operation, hanging over south Lebanon. There has been a significant build-up of Israeli military forces in the area and Israel continues to bring military hardware, in particular artillery pieces, tanks and armoured personnel carriers, into the southern Lebanese border strip already occupied by Israel since 1978. At the same time Israeli military aircraft repeatedly violate Lebanese airspace. The danger of a new Israeli invasion into south Lebanon was also clearly revealed in a manifesto of the Israeli Labour party (Mapai). Former Labour Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin envisages "a deep penetration into Lebanon by the Israeli army, in order decisively to remove the Palestinian presence in south Lebanon, in case of a break in the ceasefire by the PLO".

Former Israeli Chief-of-Staff Mordechai Gur said in a radio interview recently that Ariel Sharon, the Zionist war minister, wanted war with Syria and the Palestinians at no matter what cost. Details of a planned extensive Israeli military operation have been published by the Beirut daily As-Safir (January 16, 1982). The plan code-named "Liva" previews heavy shelling of Syrian and Joint Forces positions, a sea blockade of Lebanese ports, and a tank attack on the Beqaa-Aishiyeh-Jezzine area and southern coastal road. The plan was expected to be launched in the coming two months. The aggressive Israeli build-up against Syria and Lebanon has coincided with reports of internal unrest instigated in Syria.

American Support.

A worldwide wave of indignation and condemnation arose over Israel's annexation of Golan. Syria responded by declaring that Israel's move amounted to an act of war. The UN Security Council issued a unanimous resolution that declared the Israeli action to be "null and void" and demanded that Begin's government rescind its legislation by January 5, 1982. The Council would then decide on further measures if by that date Israel had not complied.

Washington's hypocritical "condemnation" of Tel Aviv's decision has proved to be short lived. U.S. Senator Charles Percy held a meeting with Begin on January 5, and said afterwards that he hoped their discussions signalled a "new beginning" in the "special friendship" between the two countries. In an NBC television interview (January 7, 1982) Reagan said, "I still believe the U.S. and Israel are bound together as they have been in the past (and) that the moral obligation of this country (is) to ensure the existence of Israel as a nation. We are not going to retreat from that."

On January 11, a delegation from the Defence subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee visited Israel. Joseph Abbaddo, the leader of the delegation said that the U.S. would not apply sanctions against Israel. After the meeting he told reporters that he could really "understand" why Israel had taken the decision to annex Golan.

Manoeuvres at the UN

The U.S.'s hypocritical stand is further evidenced in the noticeable intensification of Western manoeuvres in the corridors of the UN in order to avoid sanctions against Israel. The U.S. administration is actively engaged in attempts to impede any resolution which may call for punishing Israel. Counting on Britain and France to uphold their obstructionist position, but taking into account that this is insufficient with regard to the actual share of votes in the Security Council, the U.S. worked unceasingly to put pressure on the delegates of Spain, Zaire and Panama to abstain.


(From Left to Right) Delegates of Britain, Israel and the U.S.
to the U.N. discussing manoevres.

The Israeli ambassador to Washington Ephraim Evron was assured by U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig that the U.S. would veto any move in the Security Council to impose sanctions. (International Herald Tribune, January 6, 1982.) On December 17, the UN Assembly had also adopted a resolution condemning Israel's "continued occupation of the Palestinian and other Arab territories including Jerusalem, and demanding its immediate and unconditional withdrawal. This motion implicitly rejects the Camp David accords and the recently signed pact between the U.S. and Israel which would only "encourage Israel to pursue its aggressive and expansionist policies". Begin, however, stated during the Knesset debate on December 14, "No one will push us back to the borders of June 4, 1967."

Yehuda Blum, Israel's delegate to the UN, declared that Israel could not and did not accept the resolution, and the Israeli government made known to the UN General Secretary that it had no intention of rescinding the Golan legislation. Arab states later distributed to Council member-States a draft resolution condemning the Israeli decision and calling for a halt to arms supplies to Israel and the severing of diplomatic and commercial relations in conformity with sanctions defined by the UN Charter.

The Syrian ambassador, Dia Allah al-Fattal, said that the Israeli action constituted a clear act of aggression to which the Security Council could only reply with punitive measures. During a UN debate on the issue, sanctions against Israel under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter were favoured by 35 of the 40 speakers.

The behind-the-scenes manoeuvring of U.S. diplomacy prevented the Arabs from going on with their original draft and the sanctions resolution was modified to eliminate a call for UN members to cut off all trade with Israel. But it still called on member-States to break diplomatic relations with Israel, and sanctions remaining in the resolution would embargo all military aid, as well as "economic, financial and technological assistance."

However, a U.S. official said that the elimination of trade sanctions made no difference in Washington's view. The U.S found unacceptable the proposed resolution's condemnation of Israel and the inclusion of any sanctions.

American Pressure on Panama and Zaire

On the eve of the Security Council meeting, the 93-nation Non-Aligned group met in caucus and adopted a communique expressing its "firm conviction that the international community should immediately apply sanctions against Israel". However, Ephraim Evron said that he was "not anxious" about the American position regarding the UN vote.

The U.S., with the help of crude pressure and blackmail, thwarted the vote on the draft resolution proposed by the Arab countries. On January 14, Washington, resorting to open arm-twisting tactics, compelled Panama, which had earlier expressed readiness to back the Arab draft resolution, to go back on its words. Zaire was another target of U.S. pressure. The U.S. no doubt threatened it would block Kinshasa's access to loans granted by the IMF. As a result, Zaire had promised to abstain from voting unless substantial changes were made in the draft resolution.

For the Security Council to adopt the draft resolution it would have been necessary to obtain 9 votes for a majority on the Council. It was expected that the U.S. and also Britain and France would impose a veto, but in that event, Jordan, the Arab representative, would have been able to accuse Washington of having blocked the will of the majority of the Council and demand the so-called "Uniting for Peace" procedure whereby an extraordinary session of the UN General Assembly could be called. However, an American "no" vote would not count as a veto if the resolution failed to muster nine votes. Jordan postponed the vote and the Arab countries later presented a resolution to the Security Council calling for voluntary sanctions against Israel.


The Security Council vote, on January 20, on the Arab resolution condemning Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights gave proof once more of the organic link between imperialism led by the U.S. and Zionist expansionism. The U.S. used its veto power as soon as the resolution had gained the nine votes necessary for a majority. Jordan, the USSR, Poland, China, Spain, Guyana, Uganda, Togo and Zaire all voted for the resolution. The Socialist countries have strongly condemned the Zionist action ever since the annexation was announced on December 14.

Syrian radio responded to the U.S. veto by saying: "The American protection of the Israeli aggression contributes to the substitution of the law of the jungle for international legality." The U.S. rulers "had proven that they are the protectors of Zionist aggression against the whole Arab nation." Wafa, the Palestinian news agency, issued a communique on January 21, which stated: "The United States' decision to use its power of veto against the Jordanian (Arab) draft has gone some way to settling the argument over whether the original Israeli decision was taken in Washington or Tel Aviv.

"The American veto, and indeed the whole process whereby the U.S. exerted pressures on other states as successive drafts were being prepared, constitute the most brazen endorsement of Israel's no less brazen violation of international charters and resolutions.

"The Golan issue has only confirmed what the raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor and the 15-day war in south Lebanon against the Palestinian-Lebanese Joint Forces should have made abundantly clear for everyone: standing behind and guiding every hostile Israeli action against the Arabs is the United States."

The American veto, however, must be considered a diplomatic revelation for the Arabs. Now, after gaining the required majority on the Security Council, the Arab states can convoke an extraordinary session of the General Assembly to discuss measures against the Zionist entity.

Only 6 months previously, Washington had blocked a Security Council resolution which condemned the reckless bombing by Israeli planes on the Iraqi nuclear research centre and the barbarous air raids by the Israeli airforce against Lebanon. When it is in their interest, however, the Americans do not hesitate to demand all sorts of sanctions against a state. Sanctions are in fact an American weapon which the U.S. has used without regard to their legality - against Libya and Cuba for example. The latest of these sanctions were against the Soviet Union and Poland, because the Polish military took over their country. This, while dozens of pro-American regimes all over the world are being run by military dictators who violate human rights in those countries.

The Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Aam (January 5) called on Arab states to resort to their "informal veto" if the U.S. uses its veto power to obstruct a resolution by the UN Security Council. "The Arab attitude must not be confined to insistence on inflicting sanctions against Israel as ensured by international legitimacy. They should use what we call the Arab Veto to counter the American veto - by imposing sanctions on the U.S."

U.S.-Zionist Complicity

The Israeli law on the annexation creates a dangerous precedent, because, following the annexation of Jerusalem, it prepares the ground for the "legitimate" absorption of the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

However, it is quite clear that Israel would not have been able to undertake such an irresponsible venture, a challenge to the world community, had it not been backed by the U.S. The indisputable truth is that the main cause of Israeli aggression lies in the all-around support it has from the U.S. The identity of imperialist interests and Zionism in the Arab region must be underlined. Since the inauguration of Reagan's administration, Israel has not ceased to multiply its threats, including military preparation without precedent, previewing an invasion of southern Lebanon.

Washington regards Israel as its main bastion in the Middle East; as its principal military strategic base in the region. The huge American aid to Israel - amounting to $11 billion in the last four years - is rendered first of all in American military and strategic interests. Israel receives not only modern arms, but up-to-date technology, electronic facilities for intelligence gathering and other kinds of military and economic assistance.

This leaves Israel's hands free for aggressive actions against all Arab countries. All the crimes committed by the Israeli military against the Arab people, beginning in 1948, were carried out with unrestricted military, political and economic support from the U.S. Washington does not go beyond merely making "remarks" to its Israeli ally when the latter openly provokes war in the region.

Meanwhile, the U.S., the main patron and ally of Israeli aggression, is strengthening its armed forces in the Middle East at the same time as Tel Aviv annexes Arab territory. NATO is getting involved in the Middle East conflict, in obvious complicity with Tel Aviv's expansionist plans. A calm Egyptian front is being ensured by the Sinai "peace force" while the Israeli aggressors take aim at Lebanon and Syria and threaten to annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip. U.S., French, and British policies can only encourage the expansionist and aggressive tendencies of Israel towards the Palestinians and all Arab countries. Cheysson and Carrington, the French and British Foreign Ministers respectively, have already stated clearly that the Israeli annexation of Golan would not affect their participation in the Sinai "peacekeeping" force. (see IHT January 15, 1982.)

The annexation of the Golan is not a solitary political venture, but one of the elements of imperialist strategy aimed at recarving the map of the Middle East and maintaining tension and the explosive situation in the region. The occupation and annexation of Golan was planned by the Zionists more than 60 years ago when the setting up of a "Jewish homeland" represented the first step in a colonial policy created by imperialist and Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people. Tel Aviv has long planned to bind to Israel, forever, the lands stolen from the Palestinian and Arab people. The latest Israeli step is new evidence of the Zionist aims to annex all Arab territories "from the Euphrates to the Nile".

No state can increase its security by seizing its neighbours' territories. Israel will never be secure while it continues its expansionist policy and maintains its occupation of territories acquired by force and while it does not comply with the will of the international community. This demands the total and unconditional Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since June 1967.

It is highly improbable that the UN Security Council will succeed in imposing effective sanctions against Israel. Only a militant Arab solidarity can restore Arab lands and rights. It is now indispensable for the Arab nation to begin a global preparation to recover legitimate Arab rights by all available means.

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