JERUSALEM (Mar. 31)
Israel will “definitely” and “soon” exercise her right to passage of shipping through the Suez Canal, Foreign Ministry officials declared here today in comment on President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s statement in Cairo that Egypt would continue to bar Israel passage through the canal and the Gulf of Akaba until the Arab refugee issue is settled. He insisted that both matters were part of the same problem.
The Israeli officials, however, stressed that there was no connection between Suez Canal passage, an international right of all nations, and the refugee issue which is part of an Arab-Israel settlement.
Israeli newspapers warned the West today that Col. Nasser’s linking of the issues of right of passage with a solution of the refugee problem was a form of blackmail which boded ill for other nations, too. They pointed out that Nasser could just as logically close the canal to French vessels until Algeria were evacuated and to British shipping until the British quit Aden.