367. Editorial Note

On May 8, 1980, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 468 (1980), which expressed the Council’s “deep concern” over the May 2–3 Israeli expulsion of the Mayors of the West Bank cities of Hebron and Halhul and the Sharia Judge of Hebron and called upon Israel to rescind these measures. The final vote was 14–0, with the United States abstaining. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1980, page 411) The text of the resolution as passed is printed in the Yearbook of the United Nations, 1980, pages 427–428.

The Israeli deportation of the Palestinian notables on the night of May 2–3, came in the wake of a period of heightened tension in the West Bank, culminating in a terrorist attack on Jewish settlers in Hebron, killing six Israelis and wounding 16, on May 2. For details of the attack, as well as the atmosphere leading up to the incident and its aftermath, see telegram 1360 from Jerusalem, May 1; telegram 1381 from Jerusalem, May 3; and telegram 1384 from Jerusalem, May 3. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800217–0100, D800220–0840, D800220–0740 respectively) Details of the deportation and the political aftermath in the West Bank is discussed in telegram 1385 from Jerusalem, May 3; telegram 1395 from Jerusalem, May 4; and telegram 1440 from Jerusalem, May 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800220–0840, D800221–1277, D800226–0566)

The Security Council meeting on May 8 was convened at the request of Tunisia on May 6 and a draft resolution was submitted by the Tunisian delegation on May 7. Assistant to the President for National [Page 1232] Security Affairs Zbigniew Brzezinski submitted this draft, which made no reference to the killings in Hebron, to President Jimmy Carter for action under a May 8 covering memorandum. In the covering memorandum, Brzezinski informed the President that the Department of State would like to instruct Representative to the United Nations Donald F. McHenry to tell the Tunisian representative that the United States would be forced to veto a resolution which did not make reference to the Hebron incident; at the same time, the Department of State wished to instruct McHenry to “use his discretion” about “floating” a U.S. draft resolution for which the United States could give a “yes” vote. Carter did not take action on this memorandum. In a separate May 8 memorandum, sent for action to Carter, Brzezinski informed the President that the Security Council had “softened” the resolution, deleting references to Security Council Resolution 465 (1980) and to the “deploring of Israeli action.” Brzezinski recommended to Carter that he instruct McHenry to abstain on the resolution while issuing a “strong statement;” Carter initialed his approval of this recommendation, adding a handwritten note: “Check with me on final text. J.” Under a third memorandum, dated May 8, Brzezinski forwarded to Carter the draft text of the statement to be delivered by McHenry. After making textual changes, Carter initialed his approval of the statement, adding the handwritten note: “Tell McHenry to use the text as I’ve approved it. J.” All of these documents are in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Presidential Advisory Board, Box 79, Sensitive X: 5/1–11/80. The text of McHenry’s statement as delivered to the Security Council with the U.S. abstention is in telegram 1823 from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, May 8; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800228–0835.

The Security Council passed two further resolutions on the issue of the expelled Palestinian notables. On May 20, the Security Council passed Resolution 469 (1980), condemning Israel for failing to act on Resolution 468 (1980), by a vote of 14–0. In this vote, the United States again abstained, stating its position in the matter had not changed. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1980, page 413) The complete text of the resolution is printed in the Yearbook of the United Nations, 1980, page 428.