Burns Admits He Cannot Assure Halt of Attacks by Arab Terror Souads
Menu JTA Search

Burns Admits He Cannot Assure Halt of Attacks by Arab Terror Souads

Download PDF for this date

Major General E L M Burns, head of the United Nations truce supervision organization admitted to the Israel Government tonight that he could not assure a complete and immediate cessation of attacks by Egyptian terrorist squads operating on Israel soil

Gen Burns made this admission in a conversation tonight with Arthur Lourie, Deouty Director-General of the Israel Foreign Ministry, 24 hours after Egypt had announce it had ordered its forces to cease fire During all this time an Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman reported tonight raids, minings, sabotage and other acts of violence by Egyptian forces had continued without interruption.

Within the 24 hours, the spokesman said four more Israelis had been round murdered and two wounded deep inside Israel territory as a result Egyptian attacks made despite the “obviously deceitful” Egyptian announcement of compliance with the cease fire order


Gen Burns had asked Egypt and Israel on Tuesday to agree to an immediate cease fire Egypt announced its agreement Israel conditioned its reply on an Egyptian admission of responsibility for the terrorist acts of the last few days The Israelis expressed serious doubts as to the value of any cease fire agreement, pointing out that despite the Egyptian announcement, the acts of terrorism were continuing

Gen Burns visited the Foreign Ministry today in an attempt to get Israel to modify its stand and accept the cease fire on his original terms. In the course of this interview, Mr. Lourie referred to the presence on Israel soil of the Egyptian terrorist squads which he pointed out were charged with the tasks of murder and sabotage He asked the UN truce chief whether, in the event of a cease fire there would be an immediate end to the activities of these squads Gen, Burns indicated that the circumstances were such that he could not give any such assurance

The UN official moved actively yesterday to halt the warfare in the Gaza area after both the United States and Britain through their envoys in Jerusalem and Cairo had called on both governments for restraint in dealing with the Gaza situation. He asked both governments to order their troops in the Gaza and EL Auja areas to cease all firing across the demarcation line to discontinue raids mining of roads and acts of sabotage He asked that a strict cease-fire be observed from 6 P M on Tuesday to prevent “further and possibly more serious clashes”


At 6 P M Gen Burns reported the Egyptian authorities announced they would observe the cease-fire The Israeli authorities informed him that they could not agree unless Egypt accepted responsibility for the acts of terrorism committed The UN truce chief sought to persuade the Israelis to accept the cease-fire but in view of further incidents reported on Tuesday night, the Israelis expressed doubt Their final decision was to have been given this morning.

Among the incidents reported on Tuesday night after the cease-fire was to have gone into effect was the slaying of two occupants of a car ambushed by infiltrators southwest of Kfar Menachem The military spokesman reported further incidents today Infiltrators dynamited a house in the Nachla settlement, he reported, wounding one settler A military vehicle was attacked by infiltrators in the southern district but no casualties were reported

Israel’s first reply to Gen Burns the letter transmitted to him at his Jerusalem headquarters Tuesday night pointed out that Israel attached no importance whatever to Egypt’s agreement to the proposed cease fire unless Egypt “accepts responsibility for the acts of terror and is ready to give guarantees for an immediate complete and definitive cessation of all further hostile acts, in strictest compliance with its obligations under the armistice.” The Foreign Ministry’s letter noted “with regret” that the communication from Gen Burns “proceeds from an assumption of the common responsibility of Israel and Egypt for these events There can however.” it noted, ” be no question that the responsibility for these acts is attributable directly and solely to the Egyptian authorities


“The deep penetrations into Israel made by Egyptian terrorist units from the Egyptian armed forces the way-laying and killing of civilians, the planting of mines and the seeking to terrorize our population, these outrages are not merely sanctioned and indeed, initiated by the Egyptian authorities but are glorified by its official spokesman as well as by the government-controlled press and propaganda “the not charged.

“Under these circumstances ” it added, ” the Israel Government is in the first place compelled to invite you to obtain assurance from the Egyptian Government that it accepts responsibility for those acts.”

An Israeli spokesman, commenting on this letter, complained that the Burns proposal drew no distinction between Israel, which was being attacked by terrorist bands, and Egypt which was responsible for the attacks.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund