UNITED NATIONS, N. Y. (Feb. 5)
Israel may obtain the United Nations assurances it has been seeking insistently on freedom of “innocent shipping” through the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Akaba.
That was the most significant of various possibilities that developed here today, as diplomatic negotiations, behind-the-scenes pressures and efforts at compromise were being employed in an attempt to break the deadlock caused by Israels refusal to budge from the positions it now occupies in the Akaba area and the Gaza Strip.
Heaviest of these pressures, it was understood, were being exerted by West European delegations, some members of the Afro-Asian bloc, and some of the Latin American delegations–all directed against Egypt. Israel is understood to have asked for a declaration of non-belligerence by Egypt to be made at the UN.
Some of these pressures have made themselves felt, it is understood, in the seven nation advisory committee on the United Nations emergency force. This committee met this morning with Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold and heard from the UN chief a detailed report of his two-hour conference yesterday with Abba Eban, Israel’s delegation chief.
A secretarian spokesman stated that Mr. Hammarskjold’s report to the advisory committee concerned not only the first of the two resolutions adopted by the Assembly Saturday night. That measures called for Israel’s unconditional withdrawal of troops from the Akaba and Gaza areas without delay. But Mr. Hammarskjold, it was clearly stated, discussed with the committee also Saturday night’s second resolution–the measure which gives Israel the opportunity to insist that Mr. Hammarskjold can interpret the measure in such a manner as to open the Akaba waterway.
It was ascertained today that thus far Mr.Eban’s discussion with Mr. Hammarskjold concerned only the Akaba area and did not even touch on Gaza. Mr. Eban, who was scheduled to leave for Washington this morning was still here by the afternoon and there was some doubt whether he would leave today–indicating he may be waiting for further talks with Mr. Hammarskjold.
Arab delegates were trying to impress the United States delegation today with the need for American economic sanctions against Israel as a means of forcing Israel to withdraw unconditionally its troops from the Gaza and Akaba areas. However, a spokesman for the U.S.delegation told the press here that the United States will not impose any sanctions on Israel “unilaterally.” although it will have to consider them should the United Nations propose such sanctions.