UNITED NATIONS, N.Y (Sep. 29)
Ambassador Abba Eban, head of the Israel delegation to the United Nations, today submitted a communication to the Security Council protesting against the seizure by Egypt of an Israeli merchant vessel in the Suez Canal.
The ship, Bat Galim, a vessel of 500 tons flying the Israel flag, was manned by a crew of ten, all Israelis, and carried a mixed cargo consisting of meat, plywood and hides. It was on its way from Eritrea to Haifa. The Egyptians claim that the ship had fired on fishermen at a village near the canal, but Mr. Eban pointed out in his complaint to the Security Council that “no fire-arms of any description, except the captain’s pistol, were on the ship.”
“The seizure of the SS Bat Galim is but the latest expression of the Egyptian Government’s scorn for the Security Council and its resolutions,” the Israel protest stated. “It must be viewed against the background of the mounting number of murderous Egyptian attacks against Israel territory in recent weeks.
“This illegal interference with commercial shipping bound to or from Israel has proceeded unchecked for over six years. The Government of Israel wishes to express the strongest protest against this high-handed and aggressive conduct and demands that the ship, its crew and its cargo be released forthwith in order that they may proceed to Haifa without further delay.
“The Government of Israel reserves its right to pursue this matter further in the Security Council in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and the resolutions of the Security Council,” Mr. Eban pointed out. In the meantime, he requested that his letter of protest be circulated to all members of the Security Council.