BAGHDAD, IRAQ, MAY 30 -- Arab leaders declared today that the United States shares major responsibility for Israeli policies that threaten "an explosion" in the Middle East.
Ending a three-day summit meeting here, the Arab heads of state also accused the U.S. Congress of bias in favor of the Jewish state and said that their primary concern about the immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel is the settling of the new migrants in Israeli-occupied Arab territories, not in Israel itself.
This distinction, stated for the first time, stemmed largely from the Arab states' need to adopt a position likely to win support in the international community, since they can do little to stop the influx to Israel itself, Arab officials said. It is also a distinction the Bush administration had urged Arab governments to make.
Some Arab leaders have charged that Israel intends to settle the bulk of the tens of thousands of new Soviet-Jewish migrants in the territories, but Israel has denied this, saying that only a few hundred of the new arrivals live there, and by their own choice.
Today's final summit communique, drawn up in long and sometimes disputatious closed sessions, was less confrontational toward the United States than first proposed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two of Washington's closest Arab allies, lobbied for softer wording, sources said.
The Arab leaders expressed support in the communique for the PLO "peace strategy," which calls for a "two-state solution" to the conflict with Israel, and they declared their continuing commitment to past Arab summit resolutions that implicitly recognize Israel's existence.
Although five Arab leaders, including those of Syria, Algeria and Morocco, boycotted the summit, it offered Saddam Hussein the political boost he had sought for his newly cultivated roles as statesman and defender of Arab rights.
In their communique, Arab leaders gave Iraq support against what officials here have called a "Western campaign" to deny it access to advanced technology in an effort to make it more vulnerable to an Israeli military attack.
They also stated that the Arab countries have a "legitimate right" to defend themselves from aggression "by any means which they see fit to secure their national security." This was seen as an endorsement, although in measured words, of Saddam Hussein's recent threat to attack Israel with chemical weapons if it attacks Iraq with nuclear arms.
The summit also warned against policies inhibiting technology transfers to Arab countries, calling these "acts of aggression." Iraq has charged that the United States and other Western nations are trying to block its technological advancement by confiscating scientific equipment it has bought. Western officials allege that the seized items are illegally obtained components for nuclear and other advanced weapons Iraq wants.
Arab leaders called Soviet Jewish immigration "a new aggression against the rights of Palestinian people and . . . a dangerous threat to Arab national security."
They urged the creation of a U.N. monitoring unit to stop new settlements in "Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem," called for the removal of existing settlements and demanded that countries not provide aid or loans to the Israeli government that might facilitate settlement of new immigrants outside Israel proper.
The leaders charged that the Middle East's "escalating tension, which threatens an explosion, is due to the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestine and other Arab territories" and Israel's "policy of aggression, terrorism and expansionism."
"The United States bears a major responsibiility for this as the country which provides Israel" with the military, financial and political support that allows it to "defy, with such intransigence, the international community's will," they said.
The communique did not threaten to use oil as a weapon to force a change in U.S. policy, as Saddam Hussein had suggested in his opening keynote speech Monday.
The Arab leaders declared "deep resentment" at "the positions of bias, political protection and major support to Israel, militarily and economically, which mark the positions and resolutions of the U.S. Congress." They cited a recent congressional resolution calling for recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and U.S. funding that assists Jewish settlement of occupied territories.
Saying they regard Jerusalem as "an inseparable part of Palestine and the capital of its independent state," the Arab leaders rejected "any alteration of its religious and legal status." They threatened to take "political and economic measures" against any country that recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
U.S. policy does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital but considers it an international city whose final status must be negotiated.
Special correspondent Lamis Andoni contributed to this report.