Israeli Cabinet and State Council Meet to Discuss Bunche Order to Withdraw from Negev

The Israeli Cabinet began meeting late today to consider the order from Dr. Ralph Bunche, acting United Nations mediator for Palestine, to withdraw its forces in the Negev to the positions they occupied on October 14. A special State Council session will follow, with a government decision on the question expected. It is generally believed that a big majority of both the Cabinet and the State Council will vote against accepting the mediator’s order.

An official Israeli spokesman told a press conference early today that “the whole plan is completely unrealistic and we shall not take over-kindly to it. The suggestion of evacuating Beersheba and the introduction of an Egyptian administration for the town after the Egyptians were kicked out of Beersheba makes Dr. Bunche’s and the United Nations’ order most astounding, ” he said, adding: “Beersheba is part of Israeli territory allocated under the U.N, partition plan. The Egyptians got there thanks to aggression, and new the U.N. is being used to help the Egyptians keep the fruits of their aggression.”

Meanwhile, the U.N. headquarters at Haifa announced today that acting chief-of-staff Colonel G.V. Millet had advised U.N. observers in Gaza and Tel Aviv to make arrangements for the passage of non-military supply convoys to the surrounded Falujja area. An Israeli spokesman commented that it was “highly surprising that the United Nations should try to help aggressors and invaders, who having invaded Israeli territory by violating the United Nations partition decision, now find themselves in difficulties inside Israel’s territory. We see no reason to let the convoys through,” he concluded.

An Israeli communique announced that all was quiet in the Faluja area of the Negev today, but reported an exchange of small arms and artillery fire yesterday. An Israeli spokesman announced that the Red Cross had asked for and received permission to send medical supplies to the Egyptians cut off in the Faluja pocket.

Haifa and Tel Aviv had air alerts this week-end with anti-aircraft batteries going into action. One Mosquito bomber flew over the Israeli capital, but dropped no bombs. The possibility of the plans having been shot down is being checked. Jerusalem had a half-hour alert yesterday when two unidentified planes flew overhead, but no bombs were dropped. Shell fire and the crackle of rifles and machineguns were heard in almost all sectors of the city last night.

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