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Cabinet Accepts UN Humanitarian Envoy – if He Examines Status of Jews in Arab States

The Cabinet today agreed to accept a United Nations emissary to study conditions of Arabs in the occupied territories but only on condition that the emissary be permitted to inform himself on the condition of Jews in the Arab countries. The Cabinet’s decision was a reiteration of Israel’s previous stand on the so-called humanitarian mission which has been criticized by United Nations Secretary General U Thant. The Security Council, by a 12-0 vote Friday. adopted a resolution asking the Secretary-General to send another emissary to study conditions in Israel-held territories and called on Israel to permit the emissary to inspect the living conditions and treatment of Arabs there. The United States. Canada and Denmark abstained from voting on the resolution.

Official quarters refused to elaborate on today’s Cabinet announcement. But one authoritative source told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the “oblique wording” was chosen so that Israel could say “no” without actually using the word. The Israel Government has said all along that it had no objection to anyone studying conditions in the occupied territories. But Israel considers the present plight of the Jews in Arab countries to be a direct result of the June, 1967 war and therefore has demanded that an investigation into it be included in a second emissary’s terms of reference. They pointed out that the first such emissary, Nils Goran-Gussing, who visited the area last year, was admitted to Egypt, Syria and Lebanon but was unable to say anything about the condition of Jews there in his report because he was not given sufficient information.

Friday’s resolution, presented by Pakistan and Senegal, regretted the delay in carrying out a June 14, 1967 resolution which called for a humanitarian survey of the Arab territories occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War. It deplored the failure of Israel to carry out the resolution “because of the conditions still being set by Israel for receiving a special representative.” Mr. Thant, in a statement last summer, held that Israel’s demand for a survey of Jewish conditions in the Arab countries was outside the scope of the June 14, 1967 resolution.

ESHKOL CRITICIZES THANT STATEMENTS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPORT

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol took sharp issue today with statements made by United Nations Secretary General U Thant in his report to the 23rd session of the General Assembly which was published in New York last Thursday. Mr. Eshkol, acting Foreign Minister while Mr. Eban is abroad, voiced his criticism in a report on international affairs to the Cabinet.

The Thant statements, in the preface to his report on UN activities between June 16, 1967 and June 15, 1968, were criticized earlier in Israeli circles as a slap at Israel’s insistence on face-to-face peace talks with the Arabs. Mr. Eshkol said today that Mr. Thant’s assertion that the 1949 Israel-Arab armistice talks on Rhodes had begun as indirect talks was false and therefore a cause of concern to Israel. He said it was also wrong for Mr. Thant to have implied that by insisting on direct peace talks, Israel was placing obstacles in the way of UN Ambassador Gunnar V. Jarring’s peace mission. Mr. Eshkol said Mr. Thant was incorrect when he observed that incidents must be expected whenever a regime of occupation exists. Incidents in the occupied areas do not arise from the local population, Mr. Eshkol maintained, but are created by the governments across the borders. He said Mr. Thant should be able to distinguish between acts by other states and resistance movements.

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