JERUSALEM (Jun. 7)
Israel is ready to participate in any meeting with Egypt called by the United Nations to consider practical means for the abatement of tension in the Gaza border area and to bring about a full peace. Israel Premier Moshe Sharett told Gen. E.L.M. Burns, UN truce supervisor, today.
Replying to a message from UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold delivered by Gen. Burns last Saturday night, Mr. Sharett not only indicated his willingness, but stressed that Egypt’s refusal to attend such a high level session as suggested by Mr. Hammarskjold laid the Arab state open to a charge of bad faith and responsibility for aggravating the present situation. (Egypt announced last night that she had rejected the UN suggestion for an Israel-Egyptian conference to ease the border tension.)
Mr. Sharett also told the UN truce chief of Israel’s anxiety over continued provocation, such as firing at Israel military patrols moving about inside Israel territory and the mining of Israel roads. He stressed that full responsibility must be laid to the door of the Egyptian Government, which has “evaded” its responsibility of issuing strict orders not to fire at Israelis and not to lay mines in Israel territory.
The Premier and Gen. Burns also discussed proposals by Egyptian Premier Col. Abdel Gamal Nasser that a demilitarized zone be established in the Gaza area. Mr. Sharett pointed out some undesirable aspects of the plan, but noted under any circumstances Egypt must reply to the UN invitation to a meeting.
In a statement released here last night, Mr. Sharett blamed the Egyptian, for the present situation along the Gaza strip border and insisted that the restoration of quiet along the Gaza strip was entirely dependent upon Egyptian troops desisting “from opening fire in systematic and entirely unprovoked manner against Israel patrols moving legitimately and inoffensibly within their own territory, and on the cessation of mine laying outrages from Egyptian controlled territory.” The statement was, in fact, the text of a letter to Mr. Hammarskjold, which also informed the UN Secretary General of Mr. Sharett’s impending meeting today with Gen. Burns.