JERUSALEM (Jan. 27)
After 48 hours of silence, the Israel Government tonight severely criticized the report submitted by United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold last Friday on Israel’s request for assurances in connection with the UN demand that Israel troops be withdrawn from the Gaza Strip and the tip of Sinai guarding the entrance to the Gulf of Akaba.
A Foreign Office spokesman termed the Hammarskjold report “negative, unconstructive” and described some of its sections as “a masterpiece of obscurity.” He charged the Secretary General with seeking to restore the regime which already ended in disaster” and drew attention to the fact that Egypt’s Foreign Minister “warmly welcomed” Mr. Hammarskjold’s report.
Mr. Hammarskjold’s report was also the subject of discussion today at a Cabinet meeting here. Indicative of the mood of the Cabinet was the fact that the meeting approved in principle six projects designed to improve living conditions, expand agriculture in the Gaza Strip and otherwise strengthen the link between the Gaza area and Israel. Premier David Ben Gurion, who left his sick bed to attend an emergency Cabinet session last Wednesday, was not at today’s meeting.
The projects approved by the Cabinet today in principle were sent to a special Ministerial Committee for approval in detail. They are: 1. The dispatch of agricultural experts into all parts of the territory: 2. The expansion of the weaving industry and harbor facilities in Gaza itself and the establishment there of a children’s hospital and a clinic for the treatment of eye diseases; 3. The introduction of electricity to the town of Khan Yunis; 4. Bringing water for irrigation from Israel’s network to Dir el Ballah; 5. Drilling new wells and planting trees in Raffah, and 6. Increasing the water supply of Djebeliah and planting trees on the sand dunes around it.
SAYS HAMMARSKJOLD IGNORES EGYPTIAN BELLIGERENCY; LISTS ACTS
In blasting the Hammarskjold report, the Foreign Office spokesman said that “the report of the UN Secretary General is remarkable no less for what it ignores as for some theories it propounds,” He noted that while Mr. Hammarskjold emphasized that it is the duty of the United Nations to respect the right of any member state under the UN Charter, he at the same time “did not condemn, or even mention at any point that for eight years Egypt only defied the principle– that UN member states should abstain from the use of force or threat of force–by insisting that a state of war exists between Israel and Egypt.”
Listing the Egyptian blockade against Israel and other belligerent acts, as well as statements made by Egypt of its intention to destroy Israel by force of arms, the Israeli spokesman stated: “Mr. Hammarskjold’s answer to this unprecedented belligerency is merely to press for the restoration of the armistice agreement that is a return to the very state of affairs which brought the present crisis.”
The armistice agreement, the Foreign Office spokesman pointed out, has been voided of its content by Egyptian aggression in the past, and Egypt has now given every indication that she intends to renew at the first opportunity the anti-Israel blockade, the fedayeen activities an all other belligerent acts. “There is no indication that the UN Secretary General has taken this situation into proper account. He did not even inquire of Egypt whether she is prepared to abandon the state of war and make peace, “the Israeli official stressed.
The spokesman charged Mr. Hammarskjold with attempting “for the first time to give color to the Egyptian claim to a belligerence status and her right to maintain the blockade.” He accused him of making no determined effort to seek Egypt’s compliance with the UN resolution of September, 1951 providing for freedom of passage for Israeli ships through the Suez Canal. He also pointed out that while Mr. Hammraskjold recalled the 1951 resolution in his report, he “seems, weaken its validity.” The Israel spokesman also stressed the existence of “clear provisions” against the Egyptian blockade of Israeli shipping in another UN resolution adopted on November 2, 1956.