JERUSALEM (Sep. 30)
Egypt’s charges that Israel troops had occupied an area in the demilitarized zone near El Auja on the Egyptian frontier, was castigated here today as “malicious propaganda devoid of any substance,”
Israel spokesmen pointed out that there have been no Israel troop movements in the demilitarized zone. With the complete knowledge of UN truce supervisors and of the Egyptians, Israelis have been cultivating lands on the Israel side of the demilitarized zone for some months past. This is entirely in accordance with the Israel-Egypt armistice agreement, and the legality of this work has, in fact, been completely unchallenged.
Observers here see a great significance in the fact that Syrian threats against Israel’s development work in the north have so soon been followed by the Egyptian outbreak, and point out that both sets of accusations are equally unfounded. In both cases, Israel is working on its own side of the frontier, conducting normal economic development work in full accord with the armistice agreements.
In both cases, the UN authorities concerned were kept fully apprised at all times of the Israel plans. In the case of the canal from the Jordan in the North, discussions have been maintained between the Israel Foreign Ministry and General Vagn Bennike, chief of the UN truce supervision organization, and it is understood that these discussions are to continue in the near future.
The immediate recourse both of Syria and Egypt to sabre rattling is itself described by Israel authorities as a direct contradiction of the spirit and letter of the armistice agreements which call for the cessation of all hostile activities. Correspondents who had visited the area in question during the past two days, saw nothing of military movements. The border areas in question are entirely quiet, and there is nothing remotely resembling “border friction.” There have been no troop movements. The current fall maneuvers of the Israel armed forces were scheduled months ago, and they are not, in fact, taking place anywhere near the areas affected.