United Nations (Oct. 18)
A report on Israeli practices in the administered Arab territories, submitted yesterday by the Special Committee of Three to Secretary General U Thant, was assailed by a spokesman of the Israeli Mission to the UN as further proof that the committee was “a willing tool of the Arab propaganda machine, eagerly accepting every bit of pernicious falsehood supplied to it by so-called “witnesses.'” The committee, known formally as the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, stated in its latest – the second – report that Israel is practicing what amounts to cultural genocide of the Arabs in the administered territories.
It asserted that Israeli policy “would have the effect of obliterating Arab culture and the Arab way of life in the area, and, contrary to international law, of transforming it into a Jewish State.” This is being done, the committee reported, through the establishment of Jewish settlements in the administered territories coupled with the “deportation” of the Arab residents. The report, however, conceded that Israel’s admission of thousands of Arab visitors “may be considered as a positive aspect of Israeli policy (but) is no substitute for recognition of the right of refugees to return to their home.”
SAFFICIENT EVIDENCE LACKING
The Special Committee – composed of Ceylon, Somalia and Yugoslavia – has not been permitted by Israel into the administered territories because it has refused Israel’s repeated requests that it investigate the condition of Jews in the Arab countries. The committee last year visited various capitals in Arab countries and Europe soliciting information from “witnesses” who claimed that they were victims of mistreatment. Much of this information was subsequently discredited when the “witnesses” turned out to be providing hearsay information, submitting false information, or were members of the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist extremist Matzpen group in Israel.
The committee, in its latest report, stated that it did not have “sufficient corroborative evidence” to prove mistreatment of detainees, but insisted, nevertheless, that it was “convinced…that…interrogation procedures very frequently involved physical violence.” It also stated that it could not prove charges of “radical changes” in the educational curricula of Arab children in the administered territories.
INVESTIGATE EAST PAKISTAN, SUDAN
The Israeli spokesman declared that “It is one of the ironies of our times that whilst millions of people had to flee their homes in East Pakistan and many thousands have been killed there, and whilst hundreds of thousands have been butchered in Southern Sudan, no investigations have been carried out in those countries to enquire into the practices affecting the human rights of the people persecuted there, but that a committee of investigation should have been set up to look into the human rights situation in the territories administered by Israel since 1967 which numberless neutral visitors have reported to be most satisfactory.”
The spokesman noted that “No country with the slightest respect for fairness, or even the appearance of fairness, agreed to serve on the committee, so that in the end it was set up of three states which maintain no diplomatic relations with Israel, one of which even denies Israel’s right to independence and sovereignty.” The Israeli response added that “The chairman of the Special Committee (Ambassador Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe of Ceylon, a reported aspirant for Secretary General) would do well to give some thought to the situation obtaining in his own country in the sphere of human rights.” The response concluded that in the end, “world opinion will judge for itself which are the countries that show true concern and respect for human rights and which are the ones where these rights are being flouted.”