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International Symposium Explores Israel’s Role in Occupied Territories

July 7, 1971
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A grim picture of the situation of the Jews in Arab countries was presented today by Israeli Chief Justice Chaim Cohn. addressing the international Symposium on Human Rights and Minorities’ Rights in Times of War and in Occupied Territories, Dr. Binyamin Eliav, deputy editor at the Encyclopedia Judaica, spoke of the repression of Soviet Jewry. Mrs. Rita E. Hauser, the United States representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. said that since World War II the right of self-determination has not been “limited to people rising against colonial rule.” Rather, she said, “it is frequently an issue between compatriots, which, if unresolved, contains the seed of civil and international conflict.” Dr. Natan Lerner of the World Jewish Congress’ Israeli Executive lectured on the plight of minorities during World War II. The participants in the symposium toured cities and refugee camps in the West Bank on Saturday after two days of discussions at Tel Aviv University.

The host on the tour, Gen. Shlomo Gazit, coordinator of occupied-territory activities, charged that “the good record of the Israeli administration in the territories occupied since the Six-Day War weighed less in the eyes of the UN, the U.S.A. and Dr. (Gunnar V.) Jarring than the allegations of Egypt and the Fatah spokesman.” Ridiculing the allegations of Israeli “concentration camps” in the administered areas, Gazit declared there was more freedom of speech in those areas than in any Arab state except Lebanon. He noted that tens of thousands of Arabs seek admittance into Israel during their summer vacations. “Who ever heard of so many people voluntarily entering into concentration camps?,” he asked. Gazit rejected Mrs. Hauser’s comparison of the behavior of American Soldiers in Vietnam with that of Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories. He pointed out that 40,000 Arabs of those territories pass into Israel daily to work, and that the stationing of 30-to-40-year-old reserve soldiers there, an hour’s ride from their families, has a sobering and pacifying influence.

A number of Jordanian Bedouin entertains recently visited the West Bank briefly after their trip was approved by the Jordanian authorities. Three of them were of the influential Adwan tribe, which controls considerable stretches of land in the Jordan Valley. Other recent Jordanian visitors included a former Interior Minister who for several years held high administrative posts in the West Bank during the Jordanian occupation and an official of a Jordanian Embassy in a major Western capital.

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