JERUSALEM (Jul. 19)
Israel will not object to European Community plans to set up an office in East Jerusalem to monitor E.C. aid programs in the administered territories, Foreign Ministry officials said this week.
Israel’s position toward the E.C. decision was clarified in what was seen as a conciliatory gesture in advance of the visit here Monday by an E.C. delegation. It will be led by the current president of the E.C Council of Ministers, Gianni de Michelis of Italy, and also will include the foreign ministers of Ireland and Luxembourg.
The three are to meet with President Chaim Herzog and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, as well as to hold working meetings with Foreign Minister David Levy and his aides.
The Israeli clarification regarding E.C. representation in the territories followed earlier indications that Israel would balk at the idea because of its political implications.
Foreign Ministry officials now say there will be no objections, provided the proposed office confines itself to humanitarian matters.
Levy himself, in a television appearance Wednesday, sought to assuage a common belief that he would take a tough position toward the Palestinian uprising and criteria for choosing a Palestinian delegation to negotiate with Israel.
Pronouncing himself “a pragmatist and a moderate,” Levy said his purpose was to defend Israeli vital interests while at the same time seeking common ground both with the United States and with Israel’s friends in Europe.