NEW YORK (Jul. 16)
Leading newspapers here today published editorials condemning Egypt’s blockade of the Suez Canal against ships bound for Israel. They point out that in refusing to allow free passage for such ships Egypt is violating the Suez Canal convention of 1888 and they urge the U.N. Security Council to discuss the issue.
Emphasizing that the Egyptian practice of stopping and searching ships passing through the Canal for materials destined for Israel has been “a subject of increased general annoyance” for the last two-and-a-half years, the New York Herald Tribune says:
“No vital Egyptian interest is at stake in this quasi-blockade of Israel. It has not seriously weakened the new state nor contributed to Egyptian security. But it has been a costly nuisance to world trade, a violation of the principle of free passage through the Suez Canal and an increasingly damaging interference with oil supplies in the whole Mediterranean region. To create so much disturbance for so little gain is neither legally sound nor practically wise on Egypt’s part. Since repeated diplomatic protests have been unavailing, the Security Council must take action–unless Egypt takes counsel of common sense and calls off the belligerent customs men.”
The New York Times points out that the Western nations “will condemn rigid, violent, xenophobic actions and policies” and that “they must be expected to insist that issues of such grave moment as the Suez Canal be settled with some feeling for the realities of the world struggle.” The editorial stresses the fact that “the Near East is a crucial area for the democratic West and hence for the United States.”