PLO Tries to Challenge Israel's UN Seat

NEW YORK - The PLO delegation to the United Nations is planning to present an appeal against Israel's credentials as a member of the world body, sources at the UN reported Wednesday.

The sources said that some of the Arab states and the nonaligned nations could be expected to support the initiative.

The committee dealing with credentials will convene Thursday in New York and will, according to protocol, send a general recommendation to the plenary session to ratify the credentials of all member nations. However, when the assembly meets next week, PLO observer Nasser al-Kidwa is apparently planning to demand that Israel's credentials be revoked, arguing that Israel is not authorized to represent the territories, but only the area within the Green Line.

This is not, however, a new initiative: The Arab countries employed this tactic regularly for years, but gave up following the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Members of the Israeli delegation to the UN on Wednesday refused to comment on the move, but deputy mission head Aryeh Mekel said: "We are aware of the issue and are taking steps to prevent it."

UN sources said it was highly unlikely that the PLO initiative would get off the ground, but saw it as another indication of the anti-Israel war being waged by the PLO at the UN. Off the record, diplomats said that al-Kidwa receives direct instructions from his uncle, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, who is apparently using the UN to take out his frustrations against Israel for confining him to his Muqata compound in Ramallah.