TEL AVIV (Apr. 15)
Col. Bennet de Ridder, acting United Nations chief of staff, left Israel for Syria with Israel’s conditions for the resumption of meetings of the Israeli-Syrian armistice commission. Meanwhile, Syrians today renewed firing at Israeli policeman, wounding one who was guarding a bridge on the Israeli-Syrian border.
It is understood that Israel agreed that all military and para-military forces were to be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone; that there be no further fighting within the zone or across demarcation lines; that U.N. observers be given every facility for carrying out their duties; and that the responsibility of the chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission to implement the article of the armistice on resumption of normal civil life in the demilitarized zone be reaffirmed.
But Israel authorities were reported to be strongly opposed to further proposals made by Col. de Ridder requiring Israel to return to the demilitarized zone the 980 Arabs evacuated by them and resettled in Galilee, and also objected to the U.N. officer’s demand that Israel should prevent high-ranking police from entering the zone. These demands, in the Israeli view, violate Israel sovereignty. The Israelis also take the view that the question of continued reclamation work in draining the Huleh swamps does not lie within the province of the U.N. truce organization and is a question solely for Israel.
Lieut. Col. Shaul Ramati, head of the Israel delegation on the Mixed Armistice Commission denied today charges made by Col. de Ridder that he had attempted to give orders to U.N. observers. He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he “simply asked them to assist in carrying out the wounded men but they refused, saying it was not their duty.”
In the course of the meeting at the Israel capital between Col. de Ridder and Israel representatives, it is understood that the Israelis voiced strong criticism of Col. Bossavy, French chairman of the armistice commission. A release here stated that Col. Bossavy would continue to preside over the commission but that Col. de Ridder would preside at the first meeting when the commission resumes.
Five Arab infiltrees were killed and 15 wounded in a clash yesterday in the Beit Jebrin area on the Jordan-Israeli frontier, when a large Arab band entered Israel territory, United Nations sources disclosed today. One Jew was killed and three wounded when an Israel border patrol engaged the invaders. A meeting of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice commission was scheduled for Monday to consider the situation.