UNITED NATIONS (Feb. 12)
Acting on a request from the Soviet Union, the Security Council is expected to convene this week to discuss the resettlement of Soviet Jews in Israel’s administered territories.
Soviet envoy Alexander Belonogov conveyed the request Monday in a letter to the Security Council’s current president, Ricardo Alarcon de Quesada of Cuba.
Preliminary consultations on the Soviet Jewry issue began Monday with meetings between Alarcon de Quesada and representatives of the United States and Soviet Union, sources here said.
In addition, Alarcon de Quesada met Monday evening with Ephraim Dowek, deputy permanent representative to the Israeli mission to the United Nations.
Yuval Rotem, a spokesman for the Israeli mission here, said the Soviet initiative is the result of pressure from the Arab world.
Rotem contended that the Arab states do not object only to resettling the Soviet Jews in the West Bank. “They want to see aliyah from the Soviet Union stopped,” he said.
The U.N. move appears to be part of a diplomatic initiative launched by Arab states to link the massive wave of Soviet aliyah with the question of continued Israeli administration of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The resolution that will eventually go before the Security Council is not expected to address the general question of the right of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel, according to Israeli sources. Instead, it is expected to focus specifically on their settlement on the West Bank.
It was unclear to observers here whether or not the United States would veto the expected resolution if it was brought to a vote.
On the one hand, the United States repeatedly has stated that the resettlement of Soviet Jews in the West Bank would be an obstacle to peace.
But Secretary of State James Baker, during his visit to Moscow last weekend, rejected a Soviet proposal that the two nations jointly condemn any resettlement of Soviet Jews in the territories.
Baker said it would not be “productive for us to join together in a condemnation of a strong and important ally of the United States.”
A parallel effort to raise the issue of Soviet Jewish emigration is reportedly under way at the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which is currently in session in Geneva.
Sources here said that a draft resolution is being circulated in Geneva that also addresses the issue of Soviet Jewish resettlement in Israel.