Israel Angry over U.S. Claim That E. Jerusalem is ‘occupied Territory’

Israel has responded angrily to the U.S. State Department’s assertion yesterday that America has always regarded East Jerusalem as occupied territory.

“Jerusalem is one city, indivisible, the capital of the State of Israel,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman declared here last night. “This is and will remain the status of Jerusalem,” the spokesman added, Mayor Teddy Kollek charged that the American comments could have “an unsettling effect on the life of the city.”

The Foreign Ministry reaction cited at length a letter published in 1980 by Arthur Goldberg, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in which the envoy proved that U.S. policy towards Jerusalem changed in 1969, when the Nixon Administration came into office replacing Lyndon Johnson’s Administration.

The letter was cited to refute the State Department’s assertion that American policy on Jerusalem had been “consistent for three decades.”

ELEMENTS IN GOLDBERG’S LETTER

Goldberg in his letter, which he wrote to The New York Times in 1980, pointed to significant differences between his own statements to the UN in 1967 and the statements of his successor in the Nixon Administration, Ambassador Charles Yost, in 1969.

“I never described Jerusalem as occupied territory,” Goldberg averred. “Ambassador Yost did in July 1969 under instructions from President Nixon, and his statement represented a departure from the policy President Johnson and the Department of State pursued with respect to Jerusalem during the period of my tenure.

Goldberg, one of the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242, added that “Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem and this omission was deliberate.” In a speech he made to the Council in July 1967, Goldberg recalled, “I made it clear that the status of Jerusalem should be negotiable and that the (1949) armistice lines dividing Jerusalem were no longer viable.

“In other words, Jerusalem was not to be divided again. This was a far cry from Ambassador Yost’s statement that we conceive Jerusalem to be occupied territory ….”

In his 1980 letter, Goldberg also referred to a conversation between Jordan’s King Hussein and top U.S. diplomat George Ball soon after the Six-Day War in which the King “recognized there must be flexibility on the question of Jerusalem and that there could be no return to the pre-June 1967 status.”

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