Israel Circles Indignant at U.N. Truce Chief Riley’s Report on Negev Situation

Official quarters here have expressed surprise and indignation over the report by Maj. Gen. William Riley, U.N. armistice chief, to the United Nations on Egyptian complaints alleging that Israel forces had driven 4,000 Arab Bedouins into Egypt from the demilitarized zone around El Auja in the Negev.

They pointed out that all matters dealt with in the report are now sub judice in the mixed armistice commission. It is felt here that the Riley report, published under U.N. authority at Lake Success, is bound to detract from the armistice commission’s ability to settle this and other disputes peaceably and generally undermines the authority of the commission.

It was stressed that under the armistice agreement, only the Mixed Armistice Commission has the right and duty to establish the facts of any incident and fix responsibility. There is no provision enabling Gen. Riley or any other authority to bypass the commission and reach a separate, arbitrary conclusion. In fact, it is stated here, these allegations have not yet been investigated by the Mixed Armistice Commission.

It was recalled here that the Negev area where the combing out operations took place recently has been rendered unsafe by depredations and armed attacks mostly by Bedouin tribes from Egypt or Egyptian-held territory. This situation was decribed as providing the true background to the recent events in the Negev and it was stated that it was conpletely ignored in the Riley report except in the form of “Israel allegations.”

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