TEL AVIV (Jul. 8)
The United Nations truce observers in Israel left here today for Haifa from where they will return to various points in Europe. At the same time it was reported that another group of U.N. observers, who have been stationed among the Arab forces, flew to Beirut en route to Europe.
(In Cairo, the Arab League announced that the Arabs will resume fighting in Palestine tomorrow at 2 A.M., New York time, when the truce officially expires.)
Several hours earlier, a statement released by U.N. headquarters in Haifa said that the Jews had agreed to a 30-day extension of the truce, but the Arabs refused. The announcement, issued by mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, said that the entire U.N. mission would be withdrawn from Palestine tomorrow.
“I am disappointed that hostilities are to be resumed in Palestine,” Bernadotte’s statement said. “Since it appears quite impossible to obtain the agreement of the two parties not to resume hostilities, I will now concentrate on obtaining a cease-fire in Jerusalem and its ultimate demilitarization.” The announcement said that although the Israelis had agreed to prolong the truce for a minimum of three days in order to unable U.N. personnel to be evacuated, the Arabs had apparently turned this proposal down.
“As regards the demilitarization of Haifa,” Bernadotte declared, “the replies of the two parties are so divergent as to indicate there is no prospect of agreement.” He said, however, he did not consider his mission as mediator over as a result of “this temporary setback.” He disclosed that he hopes to meet with Arab leaders in Cairo on Saturday to discuss a temporary cease-fire for Jerusalem.
EGYPTIANS OPEN OFFENSIVE SOUTH OF TEL AVIV, ISRAEL SAYS
A U.S. aircraft carrier and three U.S. destroyers were reported to be standing by off Haifa to aid in the evacuation of several hundred United Nations guards, truce observers and other personnel.
An official Israeli communique announced that Egyptian forces “opened an offensive” today–which was reported to be growing in intensity–against the Beer Tuviah settlement, situated some 20 miles south of Tel Aviv. The Egyptians were said to be using planes, artillery and armored cars. The Jewish communique said that the Egyptians were attacking in the Isdud area, where an Egyptian advance column was encircled by Israeli troops before the truce became effective.
At the same time, unconfirmed dispatches from Jerusalem said that scattered firing had broken out in the city’s business area. Air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv this afternoon, but there were no immediate signs of enemy aircraft. A Jewish civilian plane was shot down over Lydda airport yesterday, killing the pilot and a woman passenger.
A car bearing Jacob Etkes, chairman of the Haifa Emergency Committee, and his wife, was stopped by Arabs on the Haifa highway. Mrs. Etkes was wounded in a skirmish and was later released. She is now in a Haifa hospital. Etkes, an engineer, was taken captive by the Arabs and his fate is unknown.