Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said the United Nations has no role to play in investigating the killing of at least 20 Palestinians during riots on the Temple Mount because Jerusalem is not occupied territory.
Also Monday, British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd arrived for a four-day visit.Recently, Hurd has sharply criticized Israeli policy in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In an address to Parliament as it began its winter session, Shamir described the U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel as "a biased decision." The resolution denounced "acts of violence" by Israeli security forces and called for a U.N. mission to investigate the disturbances on the Temple Mount.
Shamir said the United Nations has no business conducting an investigation in Jerusalem because it is occupied territory.
"It is the sovereign capital of the state of Israel," he said. "Therefore, there is no place for any involvement of the United Nations in any issue related to Jerusalem."
The Cabinet voted unanimously Sunday to reject U.N. Resolution 672 and not to cooperate with the three-member U.N. mission, a move likely to strain relations with Israel's main ally, the United States. Israel fears the U.N. mission will undermine its claim to sovereignty over the holy city.
U.S. Secretary of State James Baker wrote to Foreign Minister David Levy, telling him that cooperation with the U.N. delegation would return world attention to the gulf crisis, the Hebrew newspaper Ha'aretz reported.
In Washington, President Bush refused to comment directly on the Israeli rejection of the U.N. resolution.
"We want to see that U.N. resolution fully implemented. We were a part of it and we think it's the right step. So I'll just leave it there," he said.
The State Department said the administration was "disappointed that the Israeli government has decided not to cooperate with the (U.N.) mission."
The U.N. mission, appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, was to examine the circumstances of the Oct. 8 riots on the Temple Mount during which at least 20 Palestinians were killed by Israeli police.