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New Crisis in U.N. Armistice Body; Syria Emulates Jordan’s Non-cooperation

A new crisis involving the United Nations machinery in Palestine flared today following a four-hour meeting of the Israel-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission The session dealt with an Israeli complaint against Syrian killing of an Israeli two weeks ago.

While the background of the situation is not known, the Syrians announced after the meeting that they would not cooperate with Col. Christian Moe, UN chairman of the MAC. This follows Jordan’s non-cooperation move which necessitated the flying of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold last week to Jordan and Israel.

The Israelis, for their part, said little. Their communique was vaguer than usual, noting that there were both official and unofficial talks during the meeting. The communique mentioned no decisions taken at the meeting and even failed to mention Syrian announcement in reference to Col. Moe.

It was learned here last night, after a meeting of the Israeli Cabinet, that UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold is expected to visit Egypt between Christmas and New Year’s unless some urgent problems–such as Egyptian detention of an Israeli fishing trawler and her crew of six–are settled beforehand in New York.

According to reports current here, Mr. Hammarskjold admitted to Premier Ben Gurion the UN’s impotence in relation to implementing its resolutions guaranteeing Israel freedom of passage through the Suez Canal. If one of the great-power opposes it, implementation is impossible, Mr. Hammarskjold is said to have conceded.

The Premier is understood to have warned the Secretary General that withdrawal of the UN Emergency Force from the Strait of Tiran might cause a major incident since Israel will not tolerate Egyptian attempts to interfere with Israeli shipping from Elath.

(At the United Nations today it was confirmed that after a visit to Stockholm on December 20, Mr. Hammarskjold will fly to the Gaza Strip. While in the area he is also expected to confer with Egyptian authorities.)

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