Ambassador Comay Defends Jerusalem Project; Unrwa Official Deplores It

The Times published a letter from Israeli Ambassador Michael Comay yesterday defending the controversial housing projects in East Jerusalem on grounds that “it is the duty of the Israeli authorities to provide essential housing in the city on whatever sites are suitable for this purpose and without regard for the armistice line that vanished in 1967.” The Times also published a letter from John Reddaway, former deputy commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) who criticized the Greater London Council for providing town planning experts to advise the Jerusalem municipality on the housing projects.

Comay’s letter was in reply to a Times editorial that criticized Israel for undertaking projects that would after the status of Jerusalem in defiance of the UN Security Council. “The Security Council has embarked on a curious exercise trying to maintain the fiction of a divided city.” Comay wrote. “The thesis that a portion of the city should be regarded as the territory of another state has little relation to past history or present reality. Certainly no Jew dwelling in the city of David and Isaiah could think of it in this light. If Jordan seeks a special position as the custodian of Moslem holy places in Jerusalem, the Israel Government is quite willing to discuss the matter in the context of a peace settlement,” the Ambassador wrote. Reddaway noted that Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem was declared invalid by the Security Council which censured all measures taken to alter the status of the city. “Surely the Greater London Council would not wish to act, even indirectly, on a breach of a unanimous Security Council resolution or to appear to be condoning, if not actually abetting, Israel’s defiance of world opinion,” he wrote. Comay, in his letter claimed that “The Security Council’s record on Jerusalem is so one-sided that is anti-Israel resolutions on the subject have little moral force.”

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