UNITED NATIONS (Mar. 15)
The Soviet Union’s U.N. ambassador Thursday delivered a stinging denunciation of the settlement of Soviet Jews in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
But he stated firmly that his country did not intend to cut off Soviet Jewish emigration.
Ambassador Alexander Belonogov opened a Security Council debate requested last month by his country on the issue of Israel’s settlement of Soviet Jews in the administered territories.
Calling such settlement “extremely serious,” he said that Israel was attempting to battle the intifada by deliberately settling Soviet Jews in the territories.”
An issue singled out for special attention was that of East Jerusalem, whose status has recently become a point of conflict between Israel and the United States.
Belonogov said that recent statements by Israeli leaders encouraging large-scale settlement in East Jerusalem had not gone unnoticed by the Soviet government.
Last week, both Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Housing Minister David Levy called for stepped-up construction of homes in East Jerusalem for the Soviet Jewish immigrants.
Belonogov reminded the Security Council of the Soviet government’s position that East Jerusalem is an essential part of the West Bank, which is under “Israeli occupation.”
But after these harsh condemnations, the Soviet envoy dismissed the notion of cutting off the emigration of Soviet Jews, saying such action would contradict progress toward greater individual freedom of movement in the Soviet Union.
ASKS U.S. TO TAKE MORE EMIGRES
He did, however, ask the United States to “broaden” its immigration guidelines for Soviet Jews, saying that the United States, not Israel, is their preferred choice of destination.
Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Johanan Bein, said in response that there arc “no grounds” for charges that Israel is directing Soviet newcomers to the territories.
“Over 99 percent of the immigrants have settled in Israel’s main urban centers,” Bein said.
He added that “those advancing the allegation that a danger is being posed to the demographic composition of the territories know that there arc no grounds to support it.
“Their only recourse, is, therefore, to cling to words attributed to Israel’s prime minister, who supposedly stated that more territory is needed for immigrants.”
The Israeli ambassador then reiterated Shamir’s denial that he had been referring to the administered territories when he said that a “big Israel” was needed for the Soviet immigrants.
In the Security Council debate Thursday, representatives from Cuba, Jordan, Malaysia, Senegal, the Arab League and the Palestine Liberation Organization joined with Belonogov in condemning the alleged Israeli transgressions.
Farouk Kaddoumi, a high PLO official, called on the United States and the Soviet Union to stop the immigration which he called a “travesty of justice.” No resolution was introduced during the course of the debate, which was postponed indefinitely.