WASHINGTON — Secretary of State George P. Shultz told Israel's opponents today that U.S. support for the Jewish state is "unshakable" despite disagreement over Israel's planned deportation of nine Palestinian Arabs.
Even though the United States voted against Israel on Tuesday in the U.N. Security Council, Shultz said, "it's important for everyone to understand that the United States regards its friendship and the strength of its relationship with Israel as a key and unshakable relationship. No one should misinterpret a vote as meaning anything else."
'Right to Pursue Destiny'
Turning aside a reporter's question as to whether the ties were unshakable whatever Israel did, Shultz spoke warmly of Israel's democratic traditions, its search for stability and a right "to pursue its destiny."
He reminded its enemies that terrorism would not produce peace and said Israel has a right to try to maintain law and order in the predominantly Arab occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
Shultz said that "duty" could be carried out without the use of lethal force.
But, in any event, Shultz stressed, "We support that country."
Jewish Leader Assured
He gave a similar commitment to an American Jewish leader.
Morris Abram, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, met with Shultz at the State Department on Wednesday. Afterward, he said he had conveyed to the secretary the Jewish groups' "disappointment" with the U.S. vote.
Only rarely has the United States voted against Israel in the world body. But on Tuesday, instead of casting a veto, the United States joined 14 other Security Council members in calling on Israel not to deport nine Palestinians as planned.
State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman said the purpose of the vote was to register U.S. concern about the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli-occupied areas where Israeli soldiers attempting to put down violent demonstrations have shot at least 24 Arabs to death.
Redman said the United States cast a similar vote in 1980 when the deportation issue arose.