The United Nations General Assembly vote on Saturday (September 23) to debate terrorism came only after Arab, African and communist opposition, and a change in the title recommended by the Assembly's Steering Committee the day before.
The United Nations General Assembly vote on Saturday (September 23) to debate terrorism came only after Arab, African and communist opposition, and a change in the title recommended by the Assembly's Steering Committee the day before. The original title of the item, proposed by Secretary-general Kurt Waldheim after the Olympic Games tragedy in Munich, was "Measures to prevent terrorism and other forms of violence which endanger or take innocent human lives or jeopardise fundamental freedoms". The Steering Committee vote to put it before the Assembly was 15-7 in favour, with two abstentions. But when it reached the Assembly on Saturday the item again met with similar opposition, on the grounds that such measures might curb the activities of guerrilla groups fighting what they considered legitimate causes against 'colonialism and racism'.
Following argument against any debate of the item at all, and defeat of a motion to defer it, the issue was voted in for debate after a change of title, proposed by Jamaica and Saudi Arabia, to read: "Measures to prevent international terrorism which endangers innocent human lives or jeopardises fundamental freedom, AND STUDY OF THE UNDERLYING CAUSES OF THOSE FORMS OF TERRORISM AND ACTS OF VIOLENCE WHICH LIE IN MISERY, FRUSTRATION, GRIEVANCE AND DESPAIR AND WHICH CAUSE SOME PEOPLE TO SACRIFICE HUMAN LIVES, INCLUDING THEIR OWN, IN AN ATTEMPT TO EFFECT RADICAL CHANGES".
Speaking after the vote, Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah said urgent and effective measures against international terrorism were essential. The highlight of his speech is included in this film, and a transcript of it is provided below.