PARIS (Nov. 26)
Israel offered to break the United Nations impasse in implementing withdrawal from the Negev and the Security Council’s armistice resolution today by suggesting that the Council set a time at which both would become effective simultaneously.
Aubrey S. Eban, Israeli spokesman at the U.N., told the seven-nation sub-committee of the Security Council that compliance by Israel with the Nov. 4 withdrawal order might be a “suicidal gesture” if it did not first receive an assurance that Egypt was prepared to respect the Security Council’s authority by attending armistice negotiations.
The Egyptian brigade now surrounded at Faluja, Eban said, is no threat or burden to Israel, but if it were permitted to withdraw to link up with the forces at Gaza, it would restore the Egyptian Army’s ability to fight. Israel would regard compliance with the Nov. 16 armistice resolution as a test of Egypt’s respect for the Council’s authority, which, he said, was the only safeguard against a new Arab offensive.
As proof that the Egyptians had not given up war-like intentions, Eban informed the sub-committee that he had received reports of surreptitious movements to reinforce the troops and bring in new supplies. under present circumstances, it was therefore impossible to liberate a hostile army which might strike again, he insisted.
NO REPLY RECEIVED FROM ARAB COUNTRIES ON ARMISTICE RESOLUTION
Eban’s statement followed a declaration by acting mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche reporting that Brig. Gen. William E. Riley, the mediator’s chief of staff, was encountering difficulties in carrying out the demilitarization of Beersheba and in stationing U.N. observers in the Negev. Dr. Bunche also charged that the Egyptians had refused to give up any strategic points until Israel had complied fully with the resolution. The acting mediator declared that Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok had written him fully accepting the armistice resolution, expressing readiness to enter immediate negotiations either directly or indirectly. Israel’s note was transmitted to the Arab states, Dr. Bunche said, but not a single reply has been received to date.
Mahmoud Bey Fawzi, Egyptian delegate to the Security Council, declared that Egan’s speech made it clear that Israel was holding the Faluja garrison as a hostage to compel Egypt to negotiate an armistice. He protested that the Security Council could not stand by without applying sanctions. he said the Council must insist on convoys being permitted to go to Faluja unconditionally, on the withdrawal of the garrison on the withdrawal of Israelis who had not been in the Negev prior to Oct. 14, also their evacuation of Beersheba.
Eban said the Nov. 4 resolution was politically dangerous for Israel. The Negev was part of Israel’s territory and it could not waive sovereignty there. Progress had, however, been made toward implementing the resolution. First, Israel had announced the withdrawal of all troops not in the Negev Oct. 14. Second, the Israelis were prepared to withdraw troops from the coastal area to north of Deir Suneid. Third, they had agreed to permit truce supervisors to put observers in the Negev. Fourth, they had also granted Gen. Riley’s request for a medical convoy to Faluja. These things proved, Eban said, that Israel was cooperating.