US warned on shift from Tel Aviv
Two high Saudi Arabian officials have warned that US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would unleash serious Arab counteraction against the United States.
The Saudi minister of industry and electricity, Ghazi-al-Ghosaibi, in a speech to an Arab American conference here, said that Ronald Reagan, who has advocated moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if he were elected president, shoudl realize that "not all the oil in Alaska" would satisfy the US if this happened. (Mr. Reagan once said Alaska possessed more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, but had to correct this.)
Arabs and especially Saudis have tremendously strong feelings about Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem as the heart of the Palestine question, added Dr. Ghosaibi's deputy, Abdel Rahman al-Zamil, in an interview with Monitor correspondent John Cooley.
Even though candidates urge the move, out of "political opportunism" to get Jewish voters, Mr. Zamil said, "It's going to have tremendous repercussions on the Saudi-American relationship in economic and all other fields."
After a promise by former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clarke to move the Canadian Embassy to Jerusalem, Mr. Zamil Recalled, "There was hardly a new [Arab ] contract signed with Canada for eight months" until the commitments was withdrawn.