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Thant Tells Security Council His Hands Are Tied on Issue of Jerusalem’s Status

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Secretary-General U Thant has reported to the Security Council that he was unable to prevent Israel from implementing a law that would change East Jerusalem’s legal status by requiring local businesses and professionals to obtain Israeli licenses. The law goes into effect on May 23. The legal status of East Jerusalem was the subject of a Security Council resolution of May 21, 1968 which declared changes in it null and void and called on Israel “to desist forthwith from taking further action which tends to change the status of Jerusalem.” The resolution requested the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on its implementation.

Mr. Thant told Padma Bahadur Khatri, of Nepal, this month’s president of the Security Council, that the last official information he had received on the subject from Israel was a note from Israel’s Ambassador to the UN on March 25, 1969 which said that the Israel Government’s position remained that of July, 1967, shortly after East Jerusalem was captured from Jordan in the Six-Day War. The law in question was passed by the Knesset on Aug. 14, 1968. Its implementation would disregard the Security Council’s resolution passed three months earlier. It war originally intended to be put into effect several months ago. Following a Jordanian call for a Security Council meeting on the issue, the Israel Government announced last Feb. 10 that the laws effective date was postponed until May 23. But there was no evident intention to rescind it.

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