JERUSALEM -- Israeli and U.S. officials are searching for a compromise that would open the door to a general United Nations inquiry on the Arab-Israeli conflict without focusing directly on the Oct. 8 killings of Palestinians at Jerusalem's Temple Mount.
After a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Foreign Minister David Levy said that Israel would "warmly" receive a U.N. emissary for general talks but continued to reject any mission to investigate the killings at the al-Aqsa mosque or question the status of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The government is working "to prevent a negative decision being taken against Israel," Levy said, and does not totally reject a U.N. mission.
The U.N. Security Council has condemned Israel for its handling of the demonstrations on Temple Mount, which ended with Israeli police firing live ammunition into crowds of Arabs. At least 20 Palestinians were killed.
The resolution also ordered a U.N. inquiry and referred to Arab East Jerusalem, where the mosque and numerous Jewish and Christian shrines are, as occupied territory. Israel, which captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it, considers the resolution an affront to its sovereignty and refused to receive the U.N. mission.
The government yesterday reassigned two top police officials who were criticized in the report, Jerusalem police Chief Aryeh Bibi and Rachamim Comfort, commander of the southern police district, which includes Jerusalem.