UN Committee Report Rejected by Israel As Arab Propaganda

Israel today flatly rejected the latest report of a three-member United Nations committee critical of its activities in the occupied Arab territories. Israeli circles maintained that the report contained no new substantive findings since those announced by the committee a year ago which Israel says were effectively refuted at the time.

The report presented yesterday by Yugoslavia, Somalia and Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), charged that Israel was continuing to violate the rights of Arab inhabitants, claimed that 11,000 Arabs were displaced and that Israel continued to establish settlements in the occupied territories. The three-nation committee was set up by the General Assembly in 1968 to investigate charges, mainly by Arab governments, that Israel was violating the human rights of Arab inhabitants in the administered areas.

Israeli circles noted that the committee did not collect further evidence or hear further testimony insofar as allegations that Israel tortured prisoners were concerned. The committee this time contents itself with the statement that “it could not reach any conclusive findings on that matter.” the Israelis said.

(Charges that Israel tortured Arab prisoners, published in the Dutch daily “Ttouw,” were refuted in a letter to that publication by Hendrik Ruitenberg, policy secretary of Amnesty International in Amsterdam. Ruitenberg said his organization which defends political prisoners throughout the world had received no such complaints for the past 18 months. He told the newspapers it was “unfair” to repeat old charges.)

An Israeli statement issued in reply to the committee’s report noted that 150.000 Arab visitors toured the administered areas in the last few months, a fact that “speaks for itself.” Israel stated further that “There is little doubt that the members of the committee are aware of the true situation, namely that the inhabitants of the areas enjoy tranquility, prosperity and respect for their human rights unknown there before 1967 and unknown in most Arab countries.”

The Military Governor for the Nablus district today refused to permit the burial in Nablus of Abdel Well Zuaiter, the El Fatah representative who was murdered in Rome. The Mayor of Nablus, Haj Masus al Masri, sought permission from the Military Governor to bury Zuaiter in his city. No reason was given for the denial.

Kupat Holim Israel’s largest sick fund, announced today that organized Arab workers from the occupied territories who have jobs in Israel will be eligible for its medical services. The announcement followed the signing of an agreement between Kupat Holim and the government. The costs of emergency first aid and medical treatment given in a clinic will also be available. Labor Minister Yosef Almogi who signed the accord for the government said this was a sign of further progress in implementing social benefits for all organized workers in Israel.

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