UNITED NATIONS (Apr. 14)
Israel charged last night that the Security Council, which opened its debate on “The Situation in The Occupied Arab Territories,” was urgently convened “at the whim of certain countries which seek to exploit the misdeeds of one particular individual acting on his own in order to fan the flames of religious hatred and incitement.”
Ambassador Yehuda Blum of Israel said that the shooting incident last Sunday in the Dome of the Rock, the sacred Islamic shrine in Jerusalem, was a “tragedy.” He said the perpetrator of the crime “may well be mentally deranged,” describing his action as “an act of lunacy.”
Blum warned, “There is a danger, nay, indeed a certainty, that this debate will be exploited with a view to playing upon religious sentiments of millions around the world.”
The Arab leaders decided to incite the Moslem world “to detract attention from their own problems — the dreary and cruel oppression of their peoples, the wanton razing of their own ancient cities and mosques in Syria and in Lebanon, and the attempt to blot out the rankling memory of the destruction by Jordan of Jewish synagogues and cemeteries in Jerusalem,” Blum charged.
The Israeli envoy also charged that the countries that were behind the hasty convening of the council were “the very some countries that over the years have not only encouraged acts of terrorism against Israel, but have also lent their support, military, financial, diplomatic and other to a terrorist organization bent on the destruction” of Israel.
The convening of the Council is also an act of “bigotry of the highest degree,” Blum observed, noting that the Arabs did not request a Security Council meeting when a Turkish fanatic shot Pope John Paul II in May, 1981 or when Moslem zealots stormed into the holy shrine of Mecca in a premeditated attack in Nov. 1979.
Concluding, Blum declared: “The considerable efforts made by the government of Israel, indeed by any government, to protect holy sites, are unfortunately no guarantee against isolated acts of sacrilege by individuals running amok, as happened in the case before us. That regrettable incident in no way changes the policy basic to the government and the people of Israel, to strive for tolerance and coexistence in an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation in Jerusalem, whose holiness is great to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”
Last night’s debate opened with a statement read by Ambassador Mehdi Mrani Zentar of Morocco on behalf of King Hassan II. The King charged Israel with responsibility for the bloodshed in Jerusalem last Sunday even if the incident was caused by a single soldier acting on his own. He accused Israel of “passivity if not collusion” with “Zionist terrorist groups.”
Ambassador Hazem Nuseibeh of Jordan said that the attack on the Dome of the Rock was not merely the action of “a lone deranged soldier” but “a deranged society, the more dangerous as it is being armed to the teeth by its strategic ally, the U.S.”
Attacks on Israel are expected to continue today when the, Council resumes its deliberations late this afternoon.