UNITED NATIONS (May. 27)
U.S. Ambassador William Scranton voiced objections last night to a statement by an unspecified majority of the Security Council critical of Israel’s occupation practices on the West Bank. While describing the statement as lacking balance. Scranton said, however, that there was much in it with which the U.S. could agree.
He referred specifically to Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories which, he said, “are increasingly a matter of concern and distress to its (Israel’s) friends throughout the world and are not helpful to the process of peace.”
Scranton spoke in a similar vein last March when the Security Council debated the situation on the West Bank. At that time the U.S. envoy said Israeli settlements in Arab territory constituted an “obstacle” to the peacemaking process in the Middle East. He was sharply criticized at the time by Israeli leaders and Jewish and pro-Israel sources in the U.S.
Scranton objected to the statement presented last night because it failed to recognize many areas where Israeli administration had been “responsible and just” such as the administration of the holy places. He also noted that Israel had permitted free elections on the West Bank.