Israel refuses assistance to U.N. investigating 3-member panel being sent to probe Temple Mount riots

October 15, 1990|By Robert Ruby | Robert Ruby,Jerusalem Bureau of The Sun

JERUSALEM -- Israel's rightist government decided yesterday not to cooperate with a United Nations delegation created to investigate last week's Temple Mount riots, causing an open split with the United States.

Foreign Minister David Levy said that the Cabinet voted unanimously against formally receiving the three-member U.N. panel being dispatched by Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and that ministers found the Security Council's condemnation of Israel "totally unacceptable."

The United States supported sending the team as part of a compromise with Arab states to prevent the Security Council from demanding even tougher action in response to the violence here last Monday.

Police shot to death at least 19 Palestinians and wounded more than 140 others, blaming the violence on Palestinians who threw stones onto Jewish worshipers at the Temple Mount's Western Wall.

"Israel does not accept the Security Council resolution," the foreign minister said.

"Israel regretfully determines that the Security Council completely ignored the fact that caused everything on the Temple Mount, which is the wild attack of Arab inciters on peaceful Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall," he said.

The Security Council resolution condemning Israel's handling of events managed to touch every exposed national nerve.

Israeli officials denounced it as an unacceptable challenge to Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem, as unwarranted interference in Israeli affairs and as an unfair singling out of Israel for international scrutiny.

"Israel will not accept the delegation that was to come to determine a verdict that actually has been decided upon in advance," said Mr. Levy.

"Jerusalem is not in any part occupied territory; it is the sovereign capital of the state of Israel," a Cabinet communique said. "Therefore, there is no room for any involvement on the part of the United Nations in any matter relating to Jerusalem, just as the United Nations does not intervene in events, some even more severe, that occur in other countries."

The communique said the Security Council's failure to condemn Palestinians who stoned Jewish worshipers made its resolution "a political decision with no connection to reality."

Housing Minister Ariel Sharon, one of the government's most hawkish members, proposed that Israel prevent the U.N. delegation from entering Israel, but the Cabinet rejected the motion.

Some left-wing members of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, advised the government to cooperate with the U.N. team investigating the Temple Mount incident.

"It is impossible to escape this," said Shulamit Aloni, a leader of the Citizens Rights party.

"We should cooperate, explain things," she said. "The Israeli government must take advantage of the fact they are coming here and show them if we are correct."

The government is particularly sensitive about the shootings because they occurred in Jerusalem at the city's holiest sites for Moslems and Jews.

Israel seized East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and within days "irrevocably" annexed it. Since then, the unity of Jerusalem and Israel's control over the entire city have been the only issues on which all major political parties here agree.

But Israel's annexation has not been recognized by the United States or any other major power. They maintain that the city's final status is to be determined as part of a peace settlement that also would decide the future of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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