UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Dec. 6)
The unconditional release by Egypt of the Israel vessel “Bat Galim” was demanded today in a statement made by a spokesman of the Israel delegation here following Egypt’s announcement that it will release the snip’s crew, but not the ship. The statement reads:
“The Egyptian seizure of the Bat Galim was a warlike act against Israel; a violation of the armistice agreements; a breach of the Security Council decision of 1951, of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 and of universally accepted maritime practice. To crown it all it was accompanied by a base libel that the crew of the Bat Galim had shot and killed Egyptian fishermen.
“The Egyptian Government now announces its readiness to release the crew and cargo of the S.S. Bat Galim, thereby recognizing that the seizure of the vessel in the first place, on September 28, was without cause or foundation.
“While we welcome the release of the crew of the S.S. Bat Galim from unlawful detention, it must be emphasized that this does not meet the case: the only solution which Israel can accept is the unconditional release of the ship, together with its crew and cargo, so that it can complete the journey which Egypt had not the slightest right to interrupt in the first place. No other outcome would be compatible with international law and practice.
“There is, moreover, a clear necessity for the Security Council to reassert its general policy in favor of terminating all restrictions on free passage for the ships of all nations, including Israel, through this international waterway.”