Israel Replies to Charges of ‘de-arabization’ of Occupied Territories

Israel today refuted allegations by the “Arab Group” at the United Nations that it was pursuing a deliberate policy of “de-Arabization” in the territories occupied during last June’s war in order to further the settlement of Jewish immigrants and eventual annexation. Ambassador Yosef Tekoah, permanent representative of Israel to the U.N. declared in a letter to Secretary-General U Thant that Israel “is determined to ensure normal civilian life and economic development free from the threat of violence and bloodshed” in the occupied territories. He added that “it is a source of satisfaction that agricultural, commercial, industrial, education activities and public services are continuing normally in all these regions and are being developed and expanded.”

Ambassador Tekoah’s letter was written in response to a letter addressed to the Secretary-General on Jan. 24 by Souheil Chammas, charge d’Affaires of the Lebanese mission to the U.N. who was chairman of the “Arab Group” this month. The Lebanese letter had accused Israel of “systematically perpetrating acts of persecution, torture and oppression against the civilian population in all occupied territory” and of carrying out mass deportations of Arabs.

Ambassador Tekoah charged in his letter that these allegations, most of which have already been refuted by Israeli representatives in the U.N., are part of a continuing Arab policy of “belligerency, incitement and hate propaganda against Israel.” He said it is not surprising that these who seek to heighten tensions and foster hostility are not pleased by the normalization of life in the occupied territories. “They will, however, find no support for their designs among the vast majority of the area’s population. Jews and Arabs alike are weary of the long and bitter strife and want now to live at long last in peaceful co-existence.” Ambassador Tekoah requested that his letter be circulated as a document of the Security Council.

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