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April 17, 1970 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-04-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Church Council Repudiates Documeit Accusing
Israel of Maltreatment of Arab Prisoners

NEW YORK (JTA)—A document
submitted by an official of the
Syrian Red Crescent Red Cross to
the United Nations special commit-
tee investigating human rights in
Israeli-occupied territories, which
purports to provide evidence by the
World Council of Churches of mal-
treatment of Arab prisoners, was

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repudiated Tuesday by the church
group.
During the committee hearings
in Damascus, Shawkat Shatti, the
Red Crescent official, said the doc-
ument was signed by citizens of
the United States and Great Britain
who "must be regarded as impar-
tial."
He told the committee that the
Church Council had not sent an
investigation team into the area
but had sent relief workers who
had witnessed many of the "facts"
contained in the document. Shatti
added that the "president" of the
WCC had himself visited the area,
had seen the results "of Israeli
aggression" and "can testify tc
it." A digest of the committee
hearings was released by the UN's
information officer accompanying
the committee and distributed
to the news media at UN head-
quarters in New York.
A spokesman for the World
Council of Churches in New York
denied Tuesday the authenticity of
i the document submitted in its
name by Shatti. The spokesman
told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency
WCC never issues documents
signed by individuals in any coun-
try and the one in Damascus
could not possibly have come from
it.
The spokesman suggested that it
might have been signed by mem-
' hers of a particular church affili-
ated with the council and that
sometimes in such instances the
WCC's name is "tossed about."
The spokesman said there was no
president of the World Council of
Churches but six co - presidents,
none of whom has visited the
Middle East. She suggested that

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Shatti might have been referring
to Dr. Eugene Carson Blake, gen-
eral secretary of the WCC, whose
headquarters is in Geneva. Dr.
Blake visited the Middle East in
March 1969. But he made no state
ments whatever on the alleged
maltreatment of Arab prisoners
by Israel and in fact leveled no
charges against either side, the
spokesman said.

Rabbi Marc H. Tannenbaum,
national interreligious affairs
director of the American Jewish
committee, one of a 14-man dele-
gation to the World Council of
churches meeting in Geneva last
February, told the JTA that the
conference dealt extensively with
the Middle East situation but
that "at no time did anyone
make any assertions of such
Israel maltreatment of Arab
prisoners) a character." Rabbi
Tannenbaum said that among
those participating in the dis-
cussion on the Middle East
were WCC specialists in that
area and several who are in
charge of Arab refugee camps.

Rabbi Tannenbaum recalled that
the last document issued by the
WCC on the Middle East was in
December 1969 at a meeting in
Nicosia, Cyprus, of representa-
tives of Arab and Christian
churches in the Middle__ East and
other countries.
"That conference was dominated
by representatives Of the El Fa-
tah," said Rabbi Tannenbaum,
"who sought support from the
World Council of Churches."
Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah
has protested to the UN O'fice of
Public Information for publishing
"the anti-Israel diatribes" submit-
ted in London to the special com-
mittee to investigite human rights
by Michael AdamS and John Red-
daway.
Tekoah said Adams is "a well-
known Arab propagandist in the
employ of Arab information ser-
vices in London" and "receives
regular remuneration from them."
The Israeli ambassador said that
Reddaway, former deputy com-
missioner of UNRWA, had "al-
ready gained notoriety by his
hostility to Israel and that his ac-
tivities were the subject of an offi-
cial complaint by Israel to UNRWA
it was shortly thereafter that he
left the agency."
The fact that the special com -

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committee, its spokesman added,

placed paid notices in the news
papers of all the countries which
it is visiting and in two Israeli
newspapers, the Jerusalem Post
and Ha'aretz, requesting persons
with evidence to testify.

Statements submitted to the
committee by Reddaway and
Adams denied the charges.
A Palestinian guerrilla who spent
two years in an Israeli jail, told
the special committee in Beirut
that he was mistreated and was
personally aware of other prison-
ers being subjected to cruel tor-
ture. The testimony was presented
by Ahmad Khalifa, a 33-year-old
former English' literature student
at Cairo University, who served
(Continued on Page 21)

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ings in London and has since
then continued them in Beirut
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tinue them in Cairo, Amman and
Geneva.

The special committee hit back
against Tekoah's charge that the
committee's first two witnesses
were well known for their anti-
Israel bias. The committee's ans-
wer was released by the United
Nation's information officer ac-
companying the group.
The committee's spokesman as-
serted that "The permanent mis-
sion of Israel (to the UN) has
acted in such a manner without
attempting to ascertain the
facts . . ." He added that the
three-member group took precau-
tions to ensure a full and objec-
tive investigation by contacting
"persons with first-hand know-
ledge of the conditions in the oc-
cupied territories and persons with
information gained from visits to
the area."
Those contacted were "not only
persons whom the permanent mis-
sion of Israel chooses to describe
as 'pro-Arab,' but persons who
may be described as pro-Israel,

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these two persons is "not sur-
prising in view of the openly bi-
ased attitudes of its three mem-

bers— Somalia, Yugoslavia and
Ceylon," Tekoah declared." It
is regrettable, however, that the
OPI should lend its services to
Arab propaganda."
this type
The committee began its hear-

20—Friday, April 17, 1470
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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