PARIS (Dec. 6)
The seven-member sub-committee appointed by the United Nations Security Council to assist acting mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche in the implementation of the Council’s order for a Negev withdrawal met here today at the request of Egypt, which charged that Israel was not complying with the Council order, adopted November 4. After some debate, the body adjourned until Wednesday to give Dr. Bunche sufficient time to arrive here from Israel and report on the current situation, including his negotiations with the Israelis on the Negev.
Meanwhile, an American delegation spokesman today declared that the situation in the Negev, as well as the uncertainty over the General Assembly’s vote on the watered-down Anglo-American resolution setting up a three-nation conciliation commission to settle the Palestine problem was holding up speedy consideration of the Israeli application for membership to the United Nations.
The Egyptian charges which led to today’s meeting stated that the Jews still occupied the town of Beersheba, although they did not enter it before October 14. The Egyptians also stated that they were unable to withdraw their troops from the encircled Faluja pocket. In response to statements by Israeli representative Aubrey Eban, the Egyptian spokesman disclaimed, on behalf of his government, any knowledge or responsibility for contraband found by the Jews December 1 in a U.N. escorted convoy heading for Faluja. He also stated several times that in principle Egypt agrees with the Security Council resolution of November 16 calling for armistice negotiations.
Eban immediately asked the sub-committee to instruct Dr. Bunche to convey the Egyptian representative’s declaration on armistice negotiations to Israel. (The Israelis have for several weeks been proclaiming their eagerness to open such negotiations and have been pressing the Egyptians to agree.) The Egyptian then stated that his remarks constituted neither a formal nor official declaration and that his government’s reply would be forthcoming. In presenting his position on armistice negotiations, he said Egypt agrees to negotiations if first the Jews start by complying with the Negev withdrawal order.
EBAN OUTLINES ISRAELI POSITION ON ARMISTICE
Eban, for his part, said that Israel desires to see a simultaneous implementation of the withdrawal and armistice orders. Pointing to the Egyptian attempts to smuggle arms into Faluja, he said this disproves Egyptian claims to peaceful intentions in the Negev and that as long as Egypt does not comply with the armistice order there are no assurances that the Faluja force, if released by the Jews, would not rejoin the main body of troops in Gaza and be used in a new attack on Israel.
The only member of the sub-committee to speak on the Egyptian position visa-vis Israel was the French delegate who said he would have noted as did the Israeli commander who confiscated the contraband cargo of the Faluja convoy. The Frenchmen called the Egyptians “clumsy” for not having at least removed the kosher label from Israel-bound meats seized by the Egyptians and included in the convoy’s cargo.