PARIS (May. 17)
None of the French members of the Council of Europe’s Political Commission will attend its session in Jerusalem tomorrow. Unconfirmed reports say the French government has privately advised the five French members of the Commission that their presence in Jerusalem at this time “would be inappropriate.”
Israeli diplomatic sources say that as far as they know, the three Deputies and two Senators will not attend for “personal or political reasons.”
Council sources in Strasbourg told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the French parliamentarians’ absence from the Commission’s session is due to both personal and political reasons. One of the deputies at least, the sources said, might have given in to the pressure of the Arab countries which are opposed to holding the session in Jerusalem.
Three Commission member states, Spain, Greece and Portugal, will officially boycott the Jerusalem session.
The Council of Europe decided in September, 1981 to hold the next session of the Political Commission in Jerusalem. Despite a joint demarche by the Arab ambassadors to the Council, the body reconfirmed its original decision last January by a vote of 21-8. The Commission’s president, British Labor MP Tom Urwin, said at that time that holding the session in Jerusalem “does not mean Council approval for Israel’s policies.”