TEL AVIV (Jun. 10)
Israel Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Moshe Dayan and United Nations Emergency Force commander Maj. Gen. E. L. M. Burns met today to consider means of strengthening UNEF defenses against infiltration from the Gaza Strip and land mining of Israeli vehicles. A number of Israeli civilians and soldiers have been wounded in a recent series of landmining incidents along the Gaza demarcation line.
A communique issued after the meeting, the first between the two commanders in three months, noted that among the means discussed for checking the movement of infiltrators across the border was a mined, barbed wire security fence. No decision was reached, however, The meeting took place in a heavily guarded hotel in Ascalon, Both commanders were accompanied by aides.
After the 75-minute conference, Gen. Burns held a press conference where he revealed the nature of the discussion and said that UNEF was “very concerned” over the mining of Israeli roads. He revealed that a number of UNEF vehicles and personnel had fallen victim to such ambushes, particularly in the Rafah area. The discussion of the security fence, he labelled “inconclusive,” and noted that although the proposal for a buffer zone to be created on both Israel and Egyptian territory was not raised today it had not been abandoned.
UNEF patrols are active all along the demarcation line, day and night, Gen. Burns insisted. He refused, however, to state whether UN troops were under orders to fire on infiltrators. Although he said UNEF was cooperating with Egyptian police in its campaign against infiltration, he did not specify the nature of the cooperation.
U.N. FORCES WILL ATTEMPT TO PREVENT ARAB INFILTRATION
The major point under discussion at today’s meeting, it was learned, was a decision by UNEF to divert the majority of its forces to night patrols. This would require coordination with Israeli Army units near the demarcation line, in order to head off accidental collision of patrols. It was also learned that UNEF was getting additional equipment, including mobile searchlights, in an attempt to cut down infiltration.
Israel Foreign Ministry circles declined comment today on reports that Gen. Burns had been told that Israel would refuse to permit the security zone to extend to Israel territory–a position Israel is known to hold. These circles claimed that Israel was under the impression that the security area, about 2,000 feet wide, would be all inside the Gaza Strip, with UNEF being given increased authority to prevent infiltration.
An attempt by infiltrators from the Gaza Strip to break into the Beeri settlement, near the border, was foiled last night, a military spokesman announced here today. Settlement watchmen spotted the raiders and opened fire on them before they even reached Beeri’s perimeter. The Arabs fled.