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Egypt:soviet Emigration Ok, Just Not in the Territories

The Egyptian ambassador here asked the two superpowers Tuesday to guarantee that Soviet Jews emigrating to Israel would not be settled in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

Ambassador Amre Moussa, speaking before the Security Council, said his country would not take issue with the overall right of “Soviet Jews or others” to emigrate to Israel.

But he added that settlement by immigrants and other Israelis in the territories was “illegal” and that “certain criteria should be applied to this emigration in order to ensure” that the Soviet emigres do not settle there.

He contended that the United States and the Soviet Union must “ensure that the rights of the Palestinian people shall not be jeopardized by Israel’s increased immigration.”

When condemning the settlement of Jews beyond Israel’s 1967 boarders, Moussa made reference to President Bush’s now-infamous remarks regarding East Jerusalem.

He pointed out that “the United States government, at the highest level, recently once again publicly reaffirmed the inadmissability of establishing settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.”

SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATE

Moussa made his speech during a Security Council debate on Soviet Jewish emigration to Israel, which was resumed Tuesday after being postponed from March 15.

The debate was scheduled to continue Wednesday morning.

According to Yuval Rotem, a spokesman at the Israeli mission here, the various countries on the Security Council have not been able to agree on a resolution to bring to a vote.

He contended that the movement for such a resolution has “lost its whole momentum.”

Drafts written by Europe, the United States, the Soviet Union and the Arab nations have all been circulated, but no single draft was expected to be taken up immediately, Rotem said.

Last Thursday, Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasir Arafat urged U.N. action to prevent the Soviet Jews from settling in the territories.

During Tuesday’s debate, Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and China all sharply criticized Israeli human rights practices, and suggested that Israel harbored plans to replace the Palestinians living on the West Bank with Soviet Jewish immigrants.

Some even implied that the Soviet Jews were going to Israel against their will.

Syrian representative Issa Awad, referring to the tightened U.S. immigration restrictions, asked if U.S. policy was perhaps a deliberate move to “herd Jews like cattle to Israel.”

Ahmet Engin Ansay, who spoke for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, denounced the recent U.S. Senate resolution calling for an undivided Jerusalem, saying that it was an attempt to sabotage the peace process.

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