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U.N. Insists on Israel’s Immediate Withdrawal to Armistice Lines

The United Nations General Assembly voted last night to call upon Britain. France and Israel to withdraw their forces “forth-with” from Egypt and Egyptian-held territory. The resolution, which was adopted by a vote of 63 to 5, with 10 abstentions, noted with “regret” that “no Israeli forces have been withdrawn behind the armistice lines despite earlier requests by the General Assembly, and that two-thirds of the French forces and all the British forces still remain in Egypt.

A spokesman for the Israeli delegation at the UN later commented that the resolution adopted by the General Assembly ignored two letters from the delegation announcing withdrawals of contingents from the Sinai Peninsula to Israel and specifying that these contingents comprised the equivalent of two bridges, between 7,000 and 8,000 men. The Assembly resolution also ignored the fact that a British battalion was being sent from Egypt to Cyprus last night. The resolution was sponsored by 20 Asian and African nations.

Prior to the adoption of the resolution, Israel Ambassador Abba Eban told the Assembly that the 20-power resolution contained “an error of fact.” He said that it was not true that no Israel forces had been withdrawn behind the armistice lines, as the resolution claimed. He emphasized that there had been “a significant withdrawal” of Israeli forces. “Thousands” had not only been removed from Sinai but many had actually gone back to their homes, their farms, their factories. The equivalent of two brigades, in fact, had been withdrawn.

Mr. Eban denied that Israel was making withdrawal of its forces contingent on the settlement of long-term political issues. He recalled his earlier statement to the effect that long-term political issues could not be solved with the withdrawal, but that there could be “practical undertakings and arrangements, in cooperation with the United Nations,” to preclude belligerency by land by sea. Israel was ready to enter into such discussions at any time, he said.

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