UNITED NATIONS (Mar. 21)
Israel will participate in the Security Council debate on the West Bank scheduled to begin tomorrow morning despite the presence of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israel’s planned participation was announced by its Ambassador to the United Nations, Chaim Herzog, after Libya and Pakistan at the behest of the PLO, requested that the debate be held on the recent unrest on the West Bank: (See separate story on West Bank.)
The Israeli Embassy in Washington stressed today that Israel’s participation in the debate “does not represent a change of attitude toward the PLO.” Embassy spokesman Avi Pazner declared that “Israel will participate in Security Council debates whenever the need arises.”
Pazner’s statement came in response to queries why Israel was prepared to enter tomorrow’s debate with the PLO as a participant when it boycotted the Security Council’s debate on the Mideast in January because of the PLO presence.
Israeli sources in Washington told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Israel did not take part in the January debate because the Council was dealing with the Middle East problem and the Palestinian question as a whole. The sources also said that the debate was a clear attempt by Syria, acting at the behest of the Soviet Union, to transfer the scene of the Mideast negotiations from the Geneva Conference to the Security Council. The refusal of Israel to participate was meant to underline Israel’s opposition to such a move.
This time, the sources noted, Israel is participating to defend itself against false allegations regarding Jerusalem and the occupied territory.
PAKISTAN, LIBYA REQUESTED MEETING
Pakistan and Libya requested the Council meeting after a meeting of the Islamic countries here which scored a decision by a Jerusalem magistrate which released several young Jews who had been arrested for praying on the Temple Mount. Despite the ruling the Israeli government is still enforcing the ban, approved by the Israeli Supreme Court, on Jews praying on the Temple Mount which houses two Moslem mosques.
The Pakistan-Libya request said the Magistrate’s ruling “must be seen, along with recent expropriations of Arab-owned land in Jerusalem and the establishment of Jewish settlements in Arab areas, as part of a policy of absorbing occupied Jerusalem into Israel and changing its cultural and demographic character.”
The Temple Mount incident sparked weeks of demonstrations, sometimes violent, by Arab youths in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim issued a statement Friday calling the West Bank incidents dangerous. He said they underlined the “urgent need” for increased efforts for Arab-Israel peace.
SCRANTON READY TO WORD WITH ARAB NATIONS
Tomorrow’s Security Council debate marks the UN debut for the new American Ambassador. William Scranton, who presented his credentials to Waldheim Friday. Scranton told a press conference that the United States was unalterably opposed to last year’s General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism. Nevertheless, the U.S. wanted to work well with the Arab countries, he said. “I think you will find I am very open and ready to work with the Arab countries, as I have always been.”
Scranton said he was a strong believer in his predecessor, Daniel P. Moynihan, and a supporter of Moynihan’s enthusiasms. “I am not the same kind of person and I do not pretend to be,” he said, “but it does not mean we have disagreements about basic American policy. I feel very strongly that when America is attacked at the UN or anywhere else, it should be defended strongly. I intend to do that.” Scranton then added, “At the same time, I do not think there is a basic underlying reason for a confrontation between the U.S. and the Third World.”