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Israel Requests Debate in Security Council on Suez Canal Issue

Israel today demanded that the Security Council re-open discussion of the Suez Canal issue “at an early date.” Addressing a letter to the president of the Council, Israel pointed out that last week’s illegal seizure of its merchant vessel Bat Galim by the Egyptians has again underscored the “acute” situation resulting from the Egyptian blockade of the Suez Canal against Israel traffic.

Ambassador Abba Eban, head of the Israel delegation at the UN, will in all probability seek to contact the Soviet delegation to establish the current views of the Soviet Government on freedom of navigation through the Suez Canal. Last March. during an earlier complaint by Israel against Egyptian interference with Israeli shipping, Soviet delegate Andrei Vishinsky vetoed a resolution demanding that Egypt end the blockade.

It is understood that Ambassador Eban has discussed with the delegations of the Western Powers their views on the latest Egyptian action, and that the United States and Britain promised to back Israel’s protests and its demand for passage of a resolution in the Security Council requesting that Egypt call off the blockade.

(In Israel, eight members of the Israel Parliament, all Herut Party deputies, signed today a petition to Speaker of the Knesset Joseph Sprinzak demanding that he call an extraordinary session of Parliament, which is currently on recess, to consider methods for ending the Egyptian blockade of Israel shipping. At least 25 deputies must ask for a special session of Parliament before the Speaker is obligated to call it. The Herut Party, meanwhile, has urged the government to seize an Egyptian vessel on the high seas as a hostage for the safe return of the Bat Galim and its crew.)

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