The U.N. Security Council viewed a videotape Friday of the Temple Mount incident in Jerusalem, which a Palestine Liberation Organization official said contradicted the Israeli assertion that Islamic religious leaders incited the violence that left 19 Palestinians dead.
Intensifying efforts to gain U.N. protection for Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories, the videotape was used to challenge Israel's claim that rock-throwing demonstrators caused the confrontation with security forces."Of course the point that was being made was that the (religious leaders) were not calling for more rioting and so on," said British U.N. Ambassador David Hannay, a permanent member of the Security Council.
"I think that point was very clearly demonstrated," Hannay said.
Jerusalem security forces fired on Palestinian demonstrators Oct. 8, leaving at least 19 dead and more than 150 wounded. Israel refused to allow a U.N. team to investigate the incident.
The videotape was unveiled Friday as non-aligned countries sought Security Council support for a resolution calling for a U.N. observer force to be sent to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
"We officially accuse the permanent representative of Israel of having in a premeditated manner and with prior knowledge of providing false information to the Security Council," said Nasser Al-Kidwa, the PLO's deputy ambassador to the United Nations. "This is an unprecedented moral and political low point."
The 15-minute amateur videotape was obtained by the PLO mission from a "non-Palestinian Westerner" who was in Jerusalem at the time of the Temple Mount incident. Al-Kidwa refused to say how the tape, taken from a hotel on the east side of Jerusalem, was obtained.
Al-Kidwa acknowledged that the tape had been edited, but he said a complete copy was provided to the Security Council president, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering. Pickering declined to comment on the tape after the meeting.
The most damaging part of the tape appeared to be the audio track that seemed to contradict Israeli assertions that Islamic religious leaders called for a "holy war" and implored the crowd to "slaughter the Jews."
According to the translation read to the Security Council, the religious leaders, broadcasting over loudspeakers, urged the Israeli authorities to stop firing and allow the ambulances to enter the courtyard to take care of the wounded. They also told the Palestinians to go inside the mosque.