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Israelis Split over Whether to Cooperate with U.N. Inquiry

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The leaders of Israel’s unity coalition government seem to be at odds over whether to cooperate with a special United Nations envoy due here this week to examine conditions in the administered territories, Yediot Achronot reported Tuesday.

The emissary, U.N. Undersecretary for Middle East Affairs Marrack Goulding, was dispatched to Israel by U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar in compliance with a Dec. 22 resolution of the Security Council that strongly deplored Israel’s handling of recent disturbances in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and demanded an on-the-spot investigation.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres announced he would meet with Goulding to explain Israel’s opposition to the resolution, adopted by a vote of 14-0 with the United States abstaining.

Premier Yitzhak Shamir said Monday he was undecided. But Likud sources have already assailed Peres for his willingness to cooperate with the U.N. envoy, which they claimed would “snowball” into further U.N. intervention in the territories.

Goulding is expected to visit the West Bank and Gaza Strip and have working meetings with Palestinian leaders, including Fayz Abu-Rahamal of Gaza; Hanna Seniora, an East Jerusalem newspaper editor; and Mayor Elias Freij of Bethlehem, Yediot Achronot reported.

The paper said he would report back to Perez de Cuellar and may propose the appointment of a special U.N. supervisor for the administered territories.

According to Yediot Achronot, however, the secretary general did not release a statement at the United Nations on Goulding’s trip, indicating he preferred not to give it too much public attention.

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