TEL AVIV (Feb. 15)
The military phase of the Israeli-Egyptian armistice negotiations on the island of Rhodes has teen completed and a formal agreement may be signed tomorrow, it was understood in United Nations circles in Haifa.
The successful completion of the talks is attributed here to the Egyptians’ Decision to give up the towns of Auja and el Hafir, both in the Negev. Israeli Army operations chief Col. Yigal Yadin, who is now in Israel, is not expected to return to the Rhodes headquarters of acting U.N. Palestine mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche except possibly to sign the military pact.
(Reuters reported from Rhodes today that Brig. Gen. William Riley, chief of staff to Dr. Bunche, would probably be chosen to head an armistice commission and that Auja would become the headquarters of such a body. The British news agency said that two points which remained up in the air just prior to the conclusion of the talks were the disposition of Israeli troops in the Eastern Negev and the fate of Beersheba. the Rhodes dispatch said that the Egyptians were prepared to concede Beersheba to the Israelis if the Jews would guarantee that Israel will not display any “aggressive intentions towards Egypt.”)
The U.N. Conciliation Commission for Palestine announced in Cairo last night that it plans to place Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem under international control. That Cairo announcement added that the Egyptian Premier insists that Jerusalem is an Arab city.
The Beirut radio said last night that the partition of Jerusalem has been agreed upon, with the Arab Legion scheduled to take over the Old City, the Jews the New City, while an international body “would set up its administrative offices for the Holy Land there.” Meanwhile, the Syrian Premier has denied that the five Arab states invited by Dr. Bunche to join the talks on Rhodes had accepted the mediator’s invitation.