JERUSALEM (Jul. 24)
Government spokesmen today continued to remain silent on the assassination of King Abdullah of Jordan and its possible consequences for Israel. However, Premier David Ben Gurion indicated that Israel must be prepared for any eventuality. He warned the people of Israel against deceiving themselves by “illusions” that the country enjoys complete security.
The Premier lashed out especially against Egypt. He said that Egypt devotes its entire military budget to arming itself exclusively against Israel and that it accumulates armaments for fighting the Jewish state. The Premier spoke at a conference of craftsmen and light industry manufacturers sponsored by the Israel Labor Party.
“Despite the value of our great victory of three years ago,” he said, “we must remember that we have still not won the final battle. We shall do the utmost to continue the present cease-fire indefinitely because we want peace. But events around us are disquieting. Our enemies have not yet accepted our existence and are planning a second round. If that happens, they will be given the lesson they deserve.”
Foreign diplomats and members of the United Nations staff returning today to Israel from Amman where they attended the funeral ceremony for King Abdullah yesterday, revealed that the situation in Amman and in the Old City of Jerusalem, where Abdullah was assassinated, is still tense. It was also reported here today that the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, who is considered the man behind the plot to assassinate Abdullah, left Cairo for Gaza, Egyptian-held Palestine city close to the Jordan frontier.
The work of the Israeli-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission has been paralyzed by the assassination of King Abdullah. No meeting of the commission is scheduled for the near future. Meanwhile, some 70 Catholic pilgrims from Italy and South America have been stranded in the New City by the refusal of the Arabs to grant them permission to cross the lines and visit shrines in the Old City. The Israel authorities have come to the assistance of the pilgrims, many of whom are without funds, and will provide them with normal food rations until they are able to leave the country.