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Syrian Ambassador Says Syria’s Jews Are ‘free’

Syrian Ambassador to France Ahmed Abdel Karim said here that Syrian Jews are “Syrian citizens, free from persecution.” Addressing the Diplomatic Press Association, the Ambassador contrasted what he termed the Syrian Jews’ “bourgeois” existence to “the sufferings of 157,000 Syrian refugees in the Golan Heights and to that of the Palestinian refugees.” Karim said Syrian Jews had only experienced slight “difficulties” since the founding of Israel. He did not elaborate.

The Ambassador said the Arab countries refuse direct negotiations with Israel “because Israel refuses to recognize the Palestinians.” He said Syria rejects Security Council Resolution 242 “because the text practically ignores the refugee problem and does not formally recognize the rights of the Palestinians.” The Ambassador attacked “Israeli descriptions of the Golan Heights as nothing but desert,” and accused Israel of having razed entire towns in the area since 1967.