JERUSALEM -- Israel's government defied the United Nations yesterday by denouncing as "one-sided" a Security Council resolution condemning Israel and defied the United States by announcing plans to settle more Jews in East Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir led what amounted to a counterattack on the country's critics by rejecting international condemnation of Israel's role in last week's riots on the Temple Mount and reasserting Israel's right to act on its own in the Gulf crisis.
Mr. Shamir, addressing the opening of the winter session of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, warned that the stability of Jordan was "especially important" and that Israel would not tolerate interference by Iraq.
"We have no aggressive intention of any kind, not toward Iraq, not toward Jordan, and not toward any country in the area," Mr. Shamir said. "But if anyone tries to hurt us, we will not hesitate to react in any way we see fit to protect the country and its inhabitants."
He said that interference in Jordan or other countries "might raise the tension and dangers to such a scale that we will not be able to tolerate." His mention of other countries was widely interpreted as a reference to Lebanon, where Syria increased its influence by forcing the surrender last weekend of Christian forces led by Gen. Michel Aoun.
Mr. Shamir gave no hint of having second thoughts about criticizing the resolution approved Friday by the Security Council condemning Israel for the police shootings that killed 21 Palestinians on the Temple Mount.
On Sunday, the Cabinet voted unanimously against cooperating with a U.N. delegation created to investigate the violence, despite an appeal by Secretary of State James A. Baker III that Israel receive the three-member team.
According to reports in the Israeli press, Mr. Baker sent a message through U.S. Ambassador William Brown warning that a decision not to cooperate would undermine the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq.
"I wish to emphasize that if Israel rejects the Security Council decision, there will be some who will compare you, even though it is not justified, to Saddam Hussein and his rejection of Security Council decisions," Mr. Baker was quoted as saying.
Mr. Shamir said the Security Council failed to acknowledge that Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall had been the target of stone-throwers on the Temple Mount. He also denounced the U.N. inquiry into events in Jerusalem as a challenge to Israel's sovereignty over the city.
3' As if to reassert Israel's claims,
Ariel Sharon, the hawkish minister of housing, announced that the government would build as many as 15,000 apartments in Jerusalem, most of them in East Jerusalem, despite the government's written pledge to the United States that it would not do so.
Earlier this month the Bush administration agreed to guarantee a $400 million loan to Israel, money the government could use to build housing for tens of thousands of Soviet immigrants. But the money was provided on the condition that none of it be spent in the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War, including East Jerusalem.
To pressure Israel into keeping its promise, the State Department released last week the text of the commitment signed by Foreign Minister David Levy. He signed a letter stating that the government's policy "is not to direct or settle Soviet Jews beyond the Green Line," the border between Israel proper and the territories seized in 1967.
Mr. Sharon insisted yesterday that the pledge did not apply to East Jerusalem. "We never took on ourselves a commitment not to build in Jerusalem, never," Mr. Sharon said on Army radio. Government policy was "to strengthen the Jewish settlement in Jerusalem."
Labor Party leader Shimon Peres warned that the government was courting disaster in its relations with the United Nations and the Bush administration. "You succeeded, Yitzhak Shamir, not only in lowering the status of the government but also of Israel, not only before the world but also the United States," he told the Knesset.