TEL AVIV (Oct. 22)
Quiet reigned in the Negev today following Israeli acceptance of the U.N. mediator’s 1 P.M. Israel time deadline for a cease-fire. (In Paris the U.N. announced that Egypt had also put into force the cease-fire). Reports from the front said that fighting halted somewhat prior to the deadline.
In their last drive before the battle ended, Israeli troops drove forward to the very gates of Gaza, by now deserted of all its inhabitants except the military garrison. Before the truce went into effect the Jews also overran Bet Hanun, between Majdal and Gaza on a rail line, disrupting another Egyptian communications line. Other towns were reportedly on the verge of surrender when the Jews observed the U.N. order to halt their advance. A number of major Arab bases and concentrations of vehicles were bombed by the Israeli air force last night.
Tel Aviv had two air alerts within seven hours last night and today. Nothing happened the first time, but during the second alert several bombs were dropped with no serious damage. Six teams of two U.S. observers each left here about 30 minutes after the cease-fire deadline passed. They proceeded to the Negev to enforce the terms of the truce.
Premier David Ben Gurion and Army Chief of Staff Jacob Dori sent congratulations to the troops in the Negev on their accomplishments. Dori told his subordinate commanders that “these who conceived and carried out ‘Operation Negeav’ are worthy of eternal glory in the history of our liberation.” An Israeli spokesman, commenting today on a report that Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the Arab League, had threatened that all the Arab armies will attack the Jews if they do not withdraw from their present positions, said: “If they try it, they will get their answer in the field.”
Henry Morgenthau, Jr., general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, today visited the settlement of Negba in the Negev, which was badly damaged in the fighting. He said that nothing he has seen in Israel impressed him more forcibly than the stand of the people of the country against the invaders. He pledged American Jewry’s help in the rebuilding of Negba, suggesting that some American city might adopt it and raise $450,000 for its rebuilding.