Eisenhower Urges Israel to Withdraw from Gaza and Akaba Areas
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Eisenhower Urges Israel to Withdraw from Gaza and Akaba Areas

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President Eisenhower today urged Israel to withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip and the Gulf of Akaba. He told a press conference he personally believes Israel has a decent respect for world opinion and, therefore, feels Israel will withdraw. He pointed out that Israel was established by the United Nations which had now voted with only two dissensions for evacuation by Israel of positions seized last November.

The president did not want to speculate on such possible future actions by the United Nations or the United States as the application of sanctions against Israel to force withdrawal, although he would say the United States would support the United Nations in this connection.

Asked about his view of enforcement of a 1951 UN resolution calling for passage of Israel shipping through the Suez Canal, Mr. Eisenhower said there had been discussion of this issue for some time but that he was not aware of any enactment by the UN to do anything about it.

A reporter asked the President about protection of Israel’s rights if she withdraws. Mr. Eisenhower replied that he hoped no one would believe the United States was not trying to assure the rights of all in every respect. He said the whole gamut of complaints must be looked into and studied.

Mr. Eisenhower said he thought the prospect of a united and peaceful Middle East was advanced by King Saud’s visit. Lauding the King, Iraqi Crown Prince Abdullah, and Lebanese Foreign Minister Charles Malik, Mr. Eisenhower said he was grateful for their “reasonable attitude” toward efforts of the United States to keep peace in the Middle East. He said King Saud has assured America of his friendship and understanding of what this nation is trying to do.


The number of Republican members of the House of Representatives subscribing to a Republican factional request that the United States oppose any further withdrawal of Israeli troops until Egypt begins to negotiate the disputed issues in good faith reached 41 today. The Republican Congressmen also back Israel’s stand on maintaining its troops in the Gaza and Akaba areas until effective disposition of the United Nations Emergency Forces is made.

A similar request was submitted to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles by 75 Democratic members of the House. The group urged that the United States insist on free passage for all shipping through the Suez Canal and the Akaba area “before the area is prematurely abandoned.”

Replying today to the 75 Democratic Congressmen, Secretary Dulles said that “the important thing at the present is to take measures to insure that developments in this area do not lead to the resumption of hostilities. ” Urging prompt withdrawal of Israel forces. Mr. Dulles said it seemed to him ” that the implementation by all parties of the pertinent recommendations in Mr. Hammarskjold’s report of January 25, 1957, would be a means of insuring against a return of the conditions which obtained on October 29, 1956.”

Mr, Dulles conceded that the Strait of Tiran, in the Akaba area, was an important issue. He held that “the problem of whether the straits are international or territorial waters is one which could be determined by the international court of justice. ” He admitted that the positioning of units of the United Nations Emergency Force in this area “would be a constructive step. ” However, he stressed as most important at present the evacuation by Israel of its forces.

On Suez passage, Secretary Dulles said Mr. Hammarskjold was now endeavoring to bring about resumption of negotiations on a Suez Canal regime on the basis of the six principles endorsed last October 13 by the Security Council. He said one of these principles concerns free and open transit without discrimination. The United States, he said, was supporting the United Nations in this area and has made clear to Egypt the importance America attaches to an early settlement consonant with the six principles.

Secretary Dulles’ statement was immediately and severely criticized by chairman Emanuel Celler of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Celler said it was now likely Egypt would resume its blockade of the Tiran Strait if Israel withdraws because Egypt is now provided justification in the form of Mr. Dulles’ “free legal advice” to Egyptian President Nasser that the status of the strait be judged by the International Court of Justice. Mr. Celler stated he was “greatly alarmed” by Mr. Dulles’ position on Tiran, He called it a “new and dangerous concession to Cairo.”

“Mr. Dulles’ hint yesterday that the United States might join in United Nations sanctions against Israel shows that we are exerting the most reprehensible pressure against that country, ” Rep, Celler stated. He termed it “another monumental blunder” and predicted it would encourage “the Soviet and Arab blocs to pressure for economic sanctions against Israel” to force retreat from strategic positions so Egypt can renew its blockade.


William F. Knowland, Senate Republican leader, in a statement last night, declared that it would be “immoral” and “insupportable” for the United States to consider punishing Israel while other countries ignored United Nations resolutions with impunity. He said the United States should not support United Nations sanctions against Israel unless the world body was prepared to take the same action against the Soviet Union.

To apply economic punishment to Israel, which has “at least partially complied” with United Nations orders, would be use of a “double standard, ” Sen. Knowland said. To punish Israel while “sidestepping” the “larger aggression” of the Soviet Union in Hungary would be “most immoral and, in good conscience, insupportable, ” Mr. Knowland added

Sen. Paul H. Douglas, Illinois Democrat, said in a Senate address that a United Nations resolution to force Israel out of Gaza and the Tiran Strait was “dangerous” and might result in “disaster. ” He pointed out that if Israel forces move out, Egypt will resume its blockade and harassing activities. This, he said, would give Egypt complete control of oil routes from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. Not only would Egypt exercise complete control of Suez, Sen. Douglas warned, but it would also dominate the Gulf of Akaba

Rep. Alvin Bentley, Michigan Republican, said today it was an “unfortunate occasion” when the United States, in connection with the United Nations, considers sanctioning a small nation like Israel when the Soviet Union is only lectured to for its flouting of the UN on Hungary.

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