PLO Thanks Britain, Says Criticism Swayed U.N. Vote With AM-Israel-Violence, Bjt
Jan. 06, 1988
LONDON (AP) _ The PLO on Wednesday thanked Britain for the outspoken criticism of Israel by one of its top diplomats, claiming it had swayed Washington to vote against Israel at the United Nations.
The diplomat, David Mellor, returned from Israel and declared: ''If you speak softly, you are ignored.''
Saidal Awaidah, the PLO representative in London, said Mellor spoke ''in the right place and at the right time'' and went to the Foreign Office to express his thanks to Undersecretary Sir David Miers.
''Mr. Mellor was really reiterating the British government's position on the issue, but in the right place and at the right time,'' Awaidah said in a television interview. ''I think it has resulted actually in the United Nations resolution.''
On Tuesday, the United States voted against Israel in the U.N. Security Council for the first time in six years, endorsing a resolution against Israeli plans to deport Palestinians from occupied territories.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman said the vote did not represent a ''major change'' in U.S. relations with Israel and was ''in direct continuity'' with a U.S. vote against Israel when the deportation issue last came up in the United Nations in 1980.
On Monday, Mellor blamed Israel for the squalor in a crowded Palestinian refugee camp he visited in the occupied Gaza Strip and upbraided an Israeli officer in front of reporters over the arrest of a Palestinian youth.
The Foreign Office backed Mellor, saying his remarks reflected the Conservative government's policy.
Mellor, a deputy to Foreign Secretary Sir Geoffrey Howe with responsiblity for the Middle East, on Wednesday appeared unabashed by Israeli anger, which included cancelling a lunch with him in the Israeli Parliament, or Knesset.
He noted in a British Broadcasting Corp. radio interview that Howe had warned in October of impending bloodshed in Israel's occupied territories and ''no notice was taken.''
Britain, which wants an international peace conference on the Middle East, has been increasingly critical of Israel in recent months.