Menu JTA Search

Israel’s Coast Defenses Alerted; Situation in Lebanon Watched

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Israeli navy and coast defense units have been alerted for action in event of accidental landings or alternative forays by fedayeen commando squads now moving by sea in motor launches and landing craft from the Gaza Strip to Lebanon, it was learned here today.

State Department officials privately made known that the United States is urging Israel to exercise the most careful restraint at this time. Consultations on the situation have been in progress by U.S. diplomats in Israel with the Israeli Foreign Office.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Charles Malik charged today that Palestinian Arab fedayeen raiders were infiltrating into Lebanon. Three motor launches transporting such raiders from Gaza were captured by the Lebanese Navy.

Five U.S. warships steamed hurriedly from Gibraltar for the Eastern Mediterranean today. Naval circles said they were headed for Lebanese waters. Seven other U.S. Navy ships are refueling and expected to sail later tonight.

President Eisenhower told a press conference today that he would not comment on the situation in Lebanon because of its gravity and delicacy. He thought it best to say nothing at the moment. He added that the United States was watching developments closely. A State Department spokesman said today that quantities of U.S. arms and “police equipment” have been sent to Lebanon in the last few days.

The Washington Post said editorially today that “there is altogether too much similarity between the armed infiltration of Lebanon from Syria and the fedayeen raids against Israel–which, as Nasser ought to remember, precipitated the Sinai war–for the current crisis to be dismissed as accidental.”

If the UAR seizes Lebanon, the newspaper warned, Nasser would control all of the Eastern Mediterranean seacoast south of Turkey except for Israel. The newspaper predicted this would give the UAR “added leverage against the rival Iraqi-Jordanian Federation and certainly would intensify the pressures and dangers in Arab-Israeli frictions.”

NEXT STORY