UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Sep. 7)
Acting on a joint American-British-French request, the United Nations Security Council will meet tomorrow morning to discuss cessation of hostilities on the Egyptian-Israel Gaza frontier.
The request for the meeting was made formally today by the Big Three who also made public the text of a resolution they intend to propose at tomorrow’s session. The draft resolution would put the full powers of the Council behind the proposals made by Gen E.L.M. Burns, United Nations truce chief in his latest report, to erect, “physical barriers” along the Israel-Egyptian demarcation line along the Gaza strip and for the creation of a 1,000-mere wide demilitarized zone. It also declares that “freedom of movement must be afforded to United Nations observers in the area to enable them to fulfill their functions.”
Meanwhile the UN Secretariat here made public today a report on the Israel-Egyptian clashes in the Gaza area sent by Gen. Burns to the Security Council. It is assumed that this report will form the basis for the Council’s consideration of the entire issue. The report blames Israel for initiating the series of attacks and counterattacks in the Gaza strip, and provoked a protest on the part of the Israel delegation at the United Nations.
ISRAEL CONSIDERS PART OF GEN. BURNS’ REPORT A DISTORTION
Immediately upon publication of Gen, Burns’ report, Israel notified UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold that it takes exception to parts of the Burns report and considers a distortion Gen. Burns contention in the report that Israel was responsible for the latest series of Gaza incidents by having initiated the first of the battles which occurred on August 22.
It was expected here that some correction to the Burns report would be issued by the UN, Unofficially, UN circles expressed the opinion that Gen. Burns probably wrote today’s report before yesterday’s Mixed Armistice Commission resolutions came through pointing out that Egypt, not Israel, had commenced the firing on August 22.
It was considered likely here that Israel’s delegation head, Abba S. Eban, might voice his objection to Gen. Burns interpretation of the Gaza events if no official correction is made before tomorrow’s meeting. On the other hand, some UN circles were of the opinion that tomorrow’s meeting will be very short and that an effort is being made in advance by the sponsors of the resolution to get pledges from both sides that they would not rake up “old sores,” and would let the Security Council put the resolution through amicably.
The Burns report suggests that a “physical barrier” be erected along the Gaza demarcation line and proposes also a demilitarized zone 500 meters wide on each side of that line. “If by adopting these measures,” Gen. Burns informed the Security Council “it is possible to maintain tranquility along the demarcation line for some months, the other proposals under negotiation up to August 24 might again be brought forward for discussion” The proposals to which Gen. Burns refers are those under consideration by Israel and Egypt in the Gaza pacification talks under UN auspices which Egypt broke off on August 24.
TRUCE CHIEF TELLS OF ATTEMPTS TO SECURE CEASE-FIRE AT GAZA
The UN truce chief reports of his several attempts to obtain cease-fire pledges from the Egyptians and the Israelis since August 22 He reveals that on August 31, just prior to Israel’s attack on the Egyptian command post at Khan Yunis, Israel “detained” six UN military observers and three other members of the UN truce team. He informs the Council that he protested immediately to the Israel Foreign Ministry “against this interference, “that some conflicting statements were given to him by the Israel side and that after several hours the UN observers were permitted by the Israelis to go to Jerusalem or Gaza “with escorts”
“It is to be regretted,” Gen, Burns continues, “that in the negotiations carried on from June 28 until broken off on August 24, it was impossible to secure the final agreement of both parties to any of the measures suggested in my report on March 17, 1955, in regard to which the Security Council resolution of March 30 called upon the parties for cooperation.” Thus, Gen Burns is seen as asking the Council for action to bolster the March 30 resolution which is the basis for the Gaza talks broken off by Egypt.