WASHINGTON (Feb. 23)
Secretary of State George Shultz maintained today that the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem acted independently of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv because the area it is “addressing” is “technically regarded as occupied territory.”
“The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are occupied by Israel,” Shultz said in reply to questions from Rep. Larry Smith (D. Fla.) during his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on international operations. “We have taken that position ever since the ’67 war,” Shultz said.
Smith said the independence of the Consulate in East Jerusalem from the Embassy has caused “major problems” for U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis. Shultz said the East Jerusalem Consulate reports directly to the State Department and not to the Embassy because the U.S. believes the occupied territory is not part of Israel.
When Shultz was asked if the U.S. has consulates in any other non-country, he replied “Hong Kong:” Smith noted that Hong Kong is accepted as a British Crown Colony.
REJECTS AID CUT-OFF TO ISRAEL’S ENEMIES
Shultz also rejected a suggestion by Smith that the U.S. cut off economic and technical aid to countries that seek to expel Israel and other countries from international forums. The Secretary said such a move might put the U.S. in an “economic war” with all Moslem countries and all African countries. He said it was frequently difficult to “pin down” which country was responsible for “doing what” at various international conferences.
Although Israel was not mentioned by name, Shultz stressed that “we oppose” any move to expel any country from the United Nations. He noted that the U.S. left the International Telegraphic Union conference in Nairobi last summer, from which Israel was barred and that it made it clear that it would leave the UN General Assembly last fall and take its contributions with it. After that warning, attempts to bar Israel from the General Assembly rapidly evaporated.
CITES AREAS CAUSING EXASPERATION
Shultz noted at the same time, however, that the UN makes a “positive contribution” to the international community although, he said, at times it is “very easy to get exasperated with the UN.”
He recalled that when he became Secretary of State last summer “I suggested we ought to have a ceasefire from the UN on resolutions about Lebanon because we spent more time coping with these resolutions than we did working on the problem itself.” Shultz revealed that the U.S. had stopped UN relief funds for Lebanon from falling into the hands of the Palestine Liberation Organization. “We raised Cain about it, ” he said.
While discussing the difficulty he found in assessing the opinions of various groups in Central America, Shultz expressed his exasperation with trying to determine the position of PLO chief Yasir Arafat. He noted that he is “constantly following the will-of-the-wisp of Mr. Arafat.” He said Arafat’s position is “very difficult to pin down.”