UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Jan. 27)
The United Nations General Assembly will reconvene tomorrow to deal with Israel’s refusal to evacuate its troops from the Gaza Strip and from the Sharm el Sheikh area on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, until guarantees are secured for unmolested passage of Israeli ships through the Gulf of Akaba and unless Egyptian raids into Israel territory from the Gaza area are checked.
It is anticipated that the Asian-African bloc will make some effort to have the Assembly adopt a strong resolution asking for economic sanctions against Israel for failing to comply with the UN order to withdraw its troops unconditionally from all parts of Sinai and from the Gaza area. However, it seems unlikely that the bloc could muster the two-thirds majority of votes required for passage of any Assembly resolution.
Some Western delegations may try to put through a resolution giving Israel some promise of future guarantees against continued or renewed Egyptian belligerency after it completes its troop withdrawals. But the Arab bloc was pushing hard today behind the scenes for an Assembly condemnation of Israel and imposition of sanctions. Before the Assembly, bolstering the Arab bloc, is Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s latest report, issued last Friday, in which he rejected every Israeli request for assurances or guarantees against Egyptian belligerency.
First of all, before any other steps are taken, Mr. Hammarskjold insisted in his report, Israel must take its troops back behind the old 1949 armistice lines. He emphasized that “Israel has not fully complied” with the Assembly decision to have all its armed forces withdrawn unconditionally from Egyptian territory, and added that his own views “remain firm” that full withdrawal must precede all other steps.
The United States and Canada were reported today as working on a resolution under which the General Assembly would give effect to Mr. Hammarskjold’s report. The resolution would return the Israel-held areas to Egypt but would ask the General Assembly to consent to any moves that would guarantee that Israel’s withdrawal would not lead to a restoration of the situation that existed before the Sinai campaign.