Palestinian leaders Wednesday boycotted a planned meeting with British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd and denounced Israel's refusal to accept a U.N. investigation of last week's Temple Mount killings.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has appealed to President Bush to "put the Temple Mount incident behind us" but again rejected a United Nations probe of the killings at the sacred site, a spokesman said Wednesday.The Security Council voted unanimously on Friday to condemn the fatal police shootings of 19 Palestinians on Oct. 8 on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The resolution ordered a three-member investigation team to be sent to Jerusalem.
In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar told reporters Wednesday he was unable to dispatch a U.N. mission to Israel because he had not obtained the necessary cooperation from Israeli officials. He said he was not willing to send his emissaries in an unofficial capacity.
The police assault in Jerusalem's Old City began after Palestinians began hurling stones from the Temple Mount down on Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site.
The appeal to Bush to repair torn U.S.-Israeli ties came in a letter sent after Shamir's Cabinet turned down the U.N. probe, said Shamir spokesman Avi Pazner.
The Palestinian leaders' boycott of their planned meeting with the British foreign secretary came after statements attributed to Hurd in Israeli news reports that Britain opposed a Palestinian state.
The British Consulate in Arab east Jerusalem issued a statement saying Hurd's remarks had been misreported.