UNITED NATIONS (Nov. 23)
Israel Ambassador Yosef Tekoah has indicated that Israel would continue to ignore the Security Council’s most recent resolution on Jerusalem as well as Secretary General Thant’s repeated plea to his government to abide by it. Responding to Thant’s contention yesterday that there has been “no indication of willingness’ by Israel to halt the Judaization of East Jerusalem, Tekoah said:
“I have no doubt that study of the Secretary General’s report, and in particular the letter from the Foreign Minister of Israel describing Israel’s high regard for universal religious interests in the city, the protection and inviolability of these holy places and the respect for the rights of Jerusalem’s inhabitants–Jews, Moslems and Christians–make it clear that Jerusalem is an open city in which peace and progress prevail and the legitimate rights of all are scrupulously maintained.”
Tekoah emphasized that “The Foreign Minister’s letter is a detailed and comprehensive statement of Israel’s attitude to the resolution as required for fulfillment of the Secretary General’s mandate to report to the Security Council.” The letter from Abba Eban was included by Thant in his report. It stated that the Arabs in Jerusalem were being accorded the same privileges and services accorded to the Jews there.
Tekoah’s suggestion that critics “study…the Secretary General’s report” was understood to be a reference to the Eban letter, not to Thant’s own comments, which were critical of Israel. On Sept. 19, Thant stated: “I sought from the Israeli authorities detailed information of the reported master plan (for Jerusalem), but the Israeli authorities have not yet responded to my request.” On Sept. 25, the Security Council told Israel to cease rebuilding East Jerusalem and asked Thant to try again to get Israel to do so and to report by Nov. 24 on his success or lack of it.